From the first few pages this books screamed “SPARTACUS!!!!!” to me. I’m not talking Kirk Douglas in a 1960’s loin cloth. I’m talking the mcRaunch fest that is Starz Network’s Spartacus, the show that started out being campy and laughingly awful and somehow evolved into a gory and pornographic masterpiece. RIP Andy Whitfield. Though Spartacus himself doesn’t make an appearance, his activities in overthrowing his Dominus is mentioned and plays a part in Ms. Hawkeye’s book.
Alba is the wife of an upper class Roman Dominus, Lucius. Â When Lucius is presented with a business opportunity he can’t refuse, he approaches Alba with an arrangement to help make it happen. Â She has to get pregnant. Â Lucius is sterile, so he tells her that he will pick one of his gladiators to do the deed. She’s horrified. Â At first. Â You see, Alba has had a thing for their star gladiator, Marcus. Â When he returns her interest in the minimal way he can, she begins to obsess. Â She has no idea who her husband has chosen, as he comes to her wearing a mask. Â When her relationship with her husband begins to thaw (and really it had been for awhile), Alba fantasizes about a life with her gladiator, or at this point gladiators, plural. Â She’s figured out her stud-for-hire is either Marcus or their second best, Caius. Â When Alba realizes that Marcus & Caius are actually an item, she’s confused and fascinated. Â When word of a gladiator revolt reaches her estate, her husband forces her to their sea side home, and sends both Marcus and Caius with her for protection. Â I’m sure you can imagine where this is going.
To anyone that isn’t familiar with Spartacus, the blatant sexuality and gore of My Wicked GladiatorsÂ would have shocked you at first. Â The rest of us would have just shrugged and continued on, popcorn in hand. Â This is a super raunchy book. If you’re looking for vanilla, go elsewhere. Â This is some serious Rocky Road Â crazytrain. The only thing lacking here was BDSM, and given time it probably would have gone there eventually.
I enjoyed this book the way one enjoys a super sweet dessert wine – sparingly and slowly. Â Ms. Hawkeye takes the time to use the correct latin names for just about everything, and the historical aspect is a lot of fun. Â The raunch aspect can be a bit overwhelming if you let it, which is why I had to wade through slowly. Â The only thing that didn’t really work as well for me was the first person narrative. Â The story is told from Alba’s perspective, and though it works, I feel like we could’ve perhaps gotten more out of a a third person narrator.
If you’re looking for a guilty pleasure read that will sweep you to another time, this is the one for you.
My Wicked Gladiators by Lauren Hawkeye
Romance: 2/5 Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Raunch: 5/5