Reviewed for The Novel Approach Reviews.
If you decide to read this book, I must tell you right off the bat: DON’T PANIC. I did some stalking, found the author’s page, and found out this is just the first in a trilogy. So while you might reach the end, turn the page and say, “Wait, what?” like I did, never fear. The adventures of Andreas and Theron are not over.
If I love historical romances, I love ancient historical romances even more. There’s something so alluring about men in love fighting to be together against all odds. What makes this book interesting is the amount of research that clearly went into this book. Kayla Jameth took great care to create a tale about two men from very different social classes who just happen to meet and, despite the odds, fall in love.
First of all, the book includes an author’s note with information detailing the sources the author used to make sure the book was accurate. While it is common knowledge that pederasty was encourage in Ancient Greece, this was not the case with Sparta. The Spartan society—according to ancient sources—shunned this practice while the rest of the city-states embraced it. The author makes this clear, which ups the stakes for the characters. Second, at the end the author has included not only a cast of characters but a glossary and mythology section. That was awesome. While some of the terms I was familiar with already, and all of the myths, it will be helpful for other readers who are not well versed.
That said, all of the characters were fun to read. I liked Andreas and Ictis, his ferret. On more than one occasion I laughed at the ferret’s antics. Any pet owner will relate to Andreas because he constantly talks to him as the ferret is his only companion. Given the nature of Theron’s position in society, he rarely speaks to anyone, so when he is alone there is a lot of reflection and very little dialogue.
There are moments when the pacing is off. Andreas angsts often and his thoughts are repetitive, especially concerning Theron. While it’s one thing to have circular thoughts and to fixate, he kept going back to his thoughts in the same scene and would start over again. This was only when the men were separated, though. When they were together, the pacing was perfect.
There were two different aspects of the book that I thought really added to the story. The first was the inclusion of the gods in some of the scenes and chapters. I don’t mean a mere mention of them, either. Even though he’s present in a few short scenes, Apollo is an important character. He hears Andreas’s pleas for help and even interacts with him at one point. I wish there had been more scenes with him, such as his reaction to discovering Theron and Andreas. The other aspect was the story of Lysander and Coridan, Theron’s shield-brothers. Clearly Coridan will play a larger role in the next book, but hearing of his relationship with Lysander and seeing how Theron accepted it despite the rule against lying with other men in Sparta was heartwarming.
I look forward to reading the next books in this series. I don’t know when they come out, but I hope it’s soon because the book ends on such a cliffhanger!