Book Review: Mistress of Rome (The Empress of Rome #1) by: Kate Quinn
If you want a book with some teeth in it’s fight scenes, depth in its characters, and a rollercoaster ride of plot development so intense you forget to make dinner-this is your book. I give this book five out of five stars for living up to its well deserved acclaim, taking me back to ancient Rome, making me girl crush on some amazing strong female characters, and throw up my hands and cheer like my team just won the super bowl at a surprise plot twist.
What I loved:
1) The fight scenes, it takes talent to write scenes this good and Quinn dishes out combat of both the physical and verbal variety. There were several gladiator scenes, each unique, and served to push the story forward and sometimes pull out unique details about different characters. I really liked the banquet/orgy/catfight between Thea and Lady Lepida, It was a rare sequence I found fiercely intense. I loved hating bad girl Lepida, she added all kinds of fun crazy.
2) The relationships, wound the books plot together and breathed life into a fantastic cast of characters. The tension and connection displayed between families, friends, and lovers was marvelous. The romance between Thea and Arius was built in a few simple scenes, but it was true to life and unique. It was wonderful to see how their connection carried through the rest of the book.
3) The environment was drawn well. The beauty as well as the ugly underbelly of ancient Rome was portrayed masterfully. The details of this historical place and culture are used in the right amounts and never became gratuitous or irrelevant to the action in the story.
*Content disclaimers for squeamish or under age readers: The violence is graphic but appropriate for the era and theme of the book. The sexual content is discussed more than it is portrayed, and what is shown is mild and tastefully done.