A lot has changed in the seven years since we first met the very unlucky Karen Brown.
She has now completely embraced her true identity of Carina Mitela and she is now living as a Roma Novan.
Carina has married Conradus (AKA Conrad) and since the last novel, they have advanced in their careers within the PGSF (Praetorian Guard Special Forces).
Conrad has just been made Legate which is basically the Chief within the PGSF and Carina is also a Captain in the Strategy Section.
Their marriage is solid but their careers are complicated. They also have their children to protect and provide for….but that is a fact easier said than done. Carina must prevent a conspiracy that not only threatens her country, but also her marriage and children!
Over the summer, I had the pleasure of reading the first book in this series and I really enjoyed it. You really get the feeling that you are reading something fresh and new but yet familiar enough that you won’t get lost.
It’s alternative history…so based on the Roman empire but with social norms etc being completely reversed. I don’t recommend this book as a standalone read though.
Though the Roma Nova world is ‘familiar’ it is still complex and complicated if you are picking up this second book as a standalone. The previous book sets us up nicely for this one and reading it out of sequence isn’t something I would recommend. Though everything was wrapped up in the first book, there is still the complexity of the world and society that would make reading this book as a standalone difficult in my opinion.
If you like thrillers and politics, this novel is for you. It is heavy on the covert ops, spying, and intrigue….light on the romance part which is kind of refreshing since I have just come off of a bodice ripper romance binge! But there is enough romance and love for readers who are looking for that….but it isn’t the focus.
In the first book, Carina (or Karen), had the absolute worst luck ever. As this book begins it’s nice to see such a change in her. She is no longer the woman she was….her growth and change is evident and exciting. She is feisty, secure, and sure of herself now. She makes appropriate decisions for her character so everything fit well for me.
The only issue that I had was her family seemed like casual observers. Carina seems to lead this exciting life and her family kind of just seems to stand by and watch rather than being active participants.
There was something that bothered me about that….I can’t quite explain it but it just bothered me and didn’t fit. Maybe it was too conventional for such an unconventional story? I am not sure but something about the interaction with her family didn’t fit for me.
The plot is fast paced, similar to the first book. I was glad the author kept up with the pace she set in the first book….sometimes the second book in a series can lose momentum but that was not the case for this book. Well done!
The quality of writing was also sustained….I never felt like there was a low in the plot or writing style. The plot was suspenseful and well constructed and the characters were developed, demonstrated growth and change.
All in all, this is a great installment to an exciting series. I love that it has a strong feminist perspective and that the world is unique. I haven’t read a lot of alternative history, but if you love history and thrillers with a twist….then this is a great series to dabble in.
ebook, 319 pagesPublished October 17th 2013 by SilverWood BooksReview copy provided by: Author in exchange for an honest review
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Alternative history, historic fiction, speculative fiction, thriller
Memorable lines/quotes: NA