Dag’s life is an endless series of battles, as he fights Challenge after Challenge for the amusement of others, his interest in life lost when he killed his own lover. But then, in the middle of his latest Challenge, he encounters a familiar face…
Publisher note: This story was previously published in the Bad Moon Rising anthology by Less Than Three Press.
I don’t really know how to begin with this book. It’s one that I’m not solidly on a rating for, as it kinda swigs two different ways for me. First off, the concept was intriguing to me. Gladiatorial fighting, indentured servitude, and a drive to free yourself is fantastic, it’s why Gladiator did so well. I loved the male on male love, Dag and Myka are lovable characters. However, that’s where my love ended.
Bain-Vrba seemed to be packing much more than she had room for into 59 measly pages. I’m assuming that it was originally published as a short story, however I feel that so much more could have been expanded on it order to make it into a stronger novel. This book fell short in more ways than one for me. The relationship between Dag and Myka remains mostly unexplored, which is disappointing. The action is choppy, and the arena battles are woefully under utilized. I also found the flashbacks to be confusing, as they never seemed to seamlessly fit with the rest of the story.
A lot of my displeasure with this book came from the lack of description and reasoning. There didn’t seem to be a driving force for a lot of the actions and reactions, and I was left without a clear image of what was occurring. Also, you can use other identifiers besides the character’s name repeatedly for sentence after sentence my friend. Just saying.
All in all, the concept behind this book deserved a better execution, and more development. This read to me like an extended outline for a more in-depth story. Also, I could have done without the sex, girls tend to not write accurate male on male sex. Sorry babe.