Review: Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn
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 . . .
Kate Quinn's writing is always beautiful and her characterization is great. Characters in her novels are constnatly evolving, but it's subtle and gradual, ever shifting until at the end where something momumental happens and you realize how far the characters have come since you first met them. Yet somehow, they are always fundamentally unchanged. Such growth and consistency in character development is true artistry and I applaud Quinn for it.
On to the characters I loved in Empress of the Seven Hills. Vix is the barbarian solider. We first met him in Mistress of Rome and I was dying for his story. I love it too, Vix is rough and tough but ambitious. Stubborn and a tad insensitive at times, he is solid and reliable and a good man at heart. He doesn't let down those in need, and he has a heart. I can't get enough of his story. I'm so glad it's going to continue.
Sabina: I'm not exactly sure I like her. I was expecting more from her. Intelligent, independent, she surprises me at times because she's not really loyal. She makes a stupid choice in marrying Hadrain and it's for a selfish reason. She talks about duty, but she shriks her duty to others to please herself, so she comes across as hypocritical. She says she loves Vix but I don't believe her and Vix surely doesn't. Yet she's not a bad person. She goes her own way and I admire that about her. I guess I just didn't like the way she did it sometimes.But Sabina's got nerve and a lot of it, and that makes her an interesting character. But I'm glad she didn't marry Titus though, he deserved better.
And on to Titus...I love these quiet intelligent male characters. Always underestimated, never quite in the lime light but in the end, the strongest, the one that catches you off guard and you realize you loved all along. Titus is like that.
Overall, this story is about unexpected destinties. We all expect life to be different than it turns out for us, and this is what all the characters in this novel are confronted with. Sabina expected to be able to have adventures, and while she does, in the end her freedom is pulled out from under her feet. Vix had his dream come true for about three seconds. He had his own legion, his Tenth, and it was yanked away from him before he could even begin his command, Hadrian takes it away and makes him a Preatorian guard, a job Vix certanily does not want. Titus thought to be a dull paper pusher but he'll end up Emperor after Hadrian. His destiny is greater than he thinks. I like that the novel reminds us that life takes us on unexpected journeys, and I can't wait to see where these characters are going in the journeys to come.
FIVE glittering stars
I'm a thirty something girl who loves to read, write and dream. Because I'm so addicted to the written word in all its forms, I created this blog to share the books that devastate me with you.