on July 20th 2017
Genres: Historical, M/M
I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.
But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have.
Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.
However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.
*M/M Historical Romance set in Ancient Sparta*
I had been experiencing the worst reading slump, when one of my friends recommended this book to me. I love MM and historical, and the blurb sounded good. Bonus, it was on KU, so even though it was a new to me author, I figured I would give it a chance. I was so not expecting what I got. This is one of the most moving and touching love stories I have EVER read. It was absolutely riveting and I was glued to the pages. Wow…just wow! The writing, the story, the characters, all make for a compelling story that left me breathless.
Right from the beginning I was sucked into the setting of ancient Sparta. Axios, the storyteller, has the heart of a poet, and does not conform to the soldiers life like his peers. He longs for a different life. My heart broke reading about what these soldiers have to endure and learn at a VERY young age. Axios is so tender hearted, I kept wondering if he would be able to remain that way or if he would be hardened as time went on.
“I searched for the words to truly express the internal struggle I’d faced at throwing away such a big part of myself, followed by the euphoria at having released the burdens holding me prisoner and finally surrendering to my Spartan blood.”
Eryx is a different beast all together. He has the heart of a warrior and longs to prove his worth. His duty to Sparta does not waver. The only thing that conflicts with his responsibility to his country is his love for Axios. I loved his strength and his stoicism. He was so different with Axios, and that just made me love him more. He knew how precious Ax was, and was drawn to him because of it.
“I was his. I had been since the very first day I laid eyes on him. The golden-haired boy who had watched me with concerned, green eyes and beckoned me to stand and fight had come to mean more to me than my own life.”
These two are such an unlikely match. Brought together when they are young boys, Eryx helps strengthen Axios. He is his protector, and most trusted friend. This story spans thirty plus years throughout their training and beyond. Loyalty, love, and brotherhood are themes woven throughout. The secondary characters are just as intriguing and multi-layered as our heroes.
“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you,” he whispered, pressing his forehead to mine. “I would kill any man, go any distance, and burn the whole world down if it meant keeping you safe.”
I felt so many emotions while reading this book; horror, empathy, love, sadness, heartbreak. By the end, I was a sobbing mess. This book is a testament to what it means to be soul mates, and stories like this are why I read romance. The writing is so rich, I could feel everything within its pages. This story is definitely in my top reads this year, and this is one of my top MM reads EVER.
“Maybe there were only a set amount of close companions a person could have in their lifetime. Other people may come and go, but only those rare few truly stayed by your side, through the good and the bad. Life and death.”