3/5, Fiction

[Review] Empress of Rome by Kate Quinn

Book Summary:

Powerful, prosperous, and expanding ever farther into the untamed world, the Roman Empire has reached its zenith under the rule of the beloved Emperor Trajan. But neither Trajan nor his reign can last forever…

Brash and headstrong, Vix is a celebrated ex-gladiator returned to Rome to make his fortune. The sinuous, elusive Sabina is a senator’s daughter who craves adventure. Sometimes lovers, sometimes enemies, Vix and Sabina are united by their devotion to Trajan. But others are already maneuvering in the shadows. Trajan’s ambitious Empress has her own plans for Sabina. And the aristocratic Hadrian-the Empress’s ruthless protégé and Vix’s mortal enemy-has ambitions he confesses to no one, ambitions rooted in a secret prophecy.

When Trajan falls, the hardened soldier, the enigmatic empress, the adventurous girl, and the scheming politician will all be caught in a deadly whirlwind of desire and death that may seal their fates, and that of the entire Roman Empire…

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Have you ever read a book that seemed boring until some sort of trouble started? This is mostly how I felt about the Empress of Rome. The books started off with everything going so well, and this tone of the story continued for a little bit. I have to say, those initial chapters were a little bit disappointing. It felt as if the characters could make any sort of stupid or cheeky choices and never meet any consequences, while at the same time the reader is constantly reminded that the consequences might take place. I didn’t really like any of the characters at the beginning of the book either – some seemed too arrogant, some to plain. Fortunately, quite a lot changed as the story progressed.

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I liked the character development in Empress of Rome. The story runs over many years and at times it’s a bit odd, but it is easy to follow the story and there are no unexplained gaps. Of course, the characters also change and evolve over time. I have to say – most of the main characters gained with time. The plain became more interesting, the arrogant became a little bit more sensible, but each in their own way and for their own reasons.

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Overall, I think that the Empress of Rome is a nice read and I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It is of course down to my own preference – I felt that there were a bit too many years and too many people crammed in this book. We get to know the characters and only some of them are in the front row, but I didn’t really manage to choose a favorite to follow through the whole book.

I imagine my rating would be higher if I started reading the series from the beginning!

Rating:  3 / 5

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