The Centurion’s Choice, by Sandra Schwab
Series: An Eagle’s Honor Novella
Release Date: December 7, 2016
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
It’s AD 178, and barbarian tribes once again threaten the borders of the Roman Empire. To make matters worse, Lucius’ promotion in his auxiliary cohort has been denied, and instead the governor has appointed a moody, mean-tempered Roman to become the new centurion of the Septem Gallorum — and, incidentally, to trample all over Lucius’ ambitions.
Tall and burly, Centurion Caius Florius Corvus might be way too good-looking for Lucius’ peace of mind, but the man has also made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t trust Lucius as his second in command. Yet as they are swept into war and each has to shoulder his responsibilities, a reluctant respect begins to grow between them, which soon grows into friendship — and, perhaps, more?
Enemies to Lovers
This book was super boring. I wish it had been a book about Romans just murdering people and then getting it on afterwards instead of the ongoing internal dialogue of Lucius (who was boring). It basically amounted to reading about some Roman guy camping with his bros, with too much detail for half the book, and then sudden down and dirty for the last half. There should have been more show and less tell for sure.
The romance itself was weird, because in Roman times homosexual relationships were done in specific ways. I’ll give the author a pass on trying to make it more romantic and less older men creeping on young boys, because reading that at this day and age would lead to jail time. However, if you are going to do a non-traditional romance in a historically based book, just commit to it. It was like half the book was Lucius being like oh no what will people think, and then at the end he was suddenly okay with it.
Which brings me to the lack of character development. If you have a character (in any era/genre/whatever) who was reluctant to do something major, who then does that thing, we as readers want to see the transition written out for us. Going from A to Z without the rest of the alphabet makes the book boring, and to be honest we can get the same information from the summary. We know they are going to get it on, but you need to show us why.
All around this book was just filled with lazy writing. They kept saying “By Mithras’ cock” or “By Jupiter’s arse” like, are you ok? It is like “Merlin’s beard” in Harry Potter but weirder, because Mithras/Jupiter was a thing but the Romans were waaay more creative with swearing than this. Up your game if you are going to go Roman with your books, because the Romans were super interesting weirdos (IMO) with a lot going on.
Let’s ignore me being picky about history/Roman language usage because it probably would not bother a lot of readers. Throughout the entire book Lucius’ internal dialogue, conversations, and the general narration of the book were awkward and stilted. This made the book drag a lot and in turn made me start avoiding reading it even though I needed to review it.
At the end of the day this book seemed to be an excuse for the author to use Centurion setting to write a forbidden love book. Which would have been fine if it was executed better, but this was a big disappointment for me. I was really looking forward to it.
Award-winning author Sandra Schwab started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion. In order to fulfill her dream to become a published author, she even switched languages and started to write in English to be able to submit to U.S. publishing houses. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances.
While working in academia, she became an expert on Victorian periodicals, in particular on the satirical magazine Punch, and she now uses this research for her Allan’s Miscellany series. She appeared on the BBC documentary series Great Continental Railway Journeys and, while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest, chatted with Michael Portillo about the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.
Sandra holds a PhD in English literature and lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.
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I received a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.