book reviews by Althea

Colosseum: Arena of Blood – Simone Sarasso **

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You know the most frustrating thing about traveling? It’s passing by a bookstore and seeing all the books you’ve never heard of, in a foreign language, and going, “Argh! I wish I could read that! Why don’t more novels get translated?!?!?”

This is one of those books that I would’ve ogled in Italy. It looks so good! Gladiators! By an Italian! Yay! And it’s been translated… well, sort of.

As I don’t speak Italian, I’m not sure who to blame: the author or the translator. However, I stopped at 50% complete on my e-reader. There are a lot of problems here: odd word choices, poor grammar, awkward phrasing… but the thing that literally gave me a headache was the tense. This book is primarily in present tense, which is often tedious and strained to read in a novel. It’s particularly clunky here, with past tense, present perfect, and past perfect occasionally dropped in. Maybe the author did do this, I couldn’t say, but it just should not have been done.

The story? A gladiator will end up facing his best friend in the arena (we learn in the first chapter). After that, there’s an extended flashback to find out how this young man ended up where he is. It seems influenced by the ‘Starz’ TV version of Spartacus, but lacks the dramatic tension.

Usually a did-not-finish equals one star, but there wasn’t anything actually wrong with the story – I just couldn’t slog through any more to find out how things transpired. On to the next book!

Copy provided by NetGalley. I am going to provide them with this feedback, so hopefully they’ll give this an extra edit and render my complaints invalid… If anyone notices that they’ve fixed it, please let me know and I will update. I normally wouldn’t complain about typos in an ARC, but this gets released tomorrow, and the issues aren’t just typos. As it stands, it requires a *lot* of fixing.


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