So this is a crazy week when it comes to my favorite authors releasing new books! Believe it or not, I have the privilege of being part of another launch of a new book today – The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass Lima.
My eldest daughter and I fell in love with Annie Douglass Lima’s Annals of Alasia series for middle grade readers, and so when she began The Krillonion Chronicles, a series for young adults, last year, I was excited to read them. I reviewed the first book, The Collar and the Cavvarach, here on Mommynificent. The Gladiator and the Guard is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles.
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About the Book
Title: The Gladiator and the Guard
Author: Annie Douglass Lima
Series: The Krillonian Chronicles, Book 2
Publication Date: April 20, 2016
Publisher: Annie Douglass Lima
Print Length: 465 pages
Summary from the author: Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
The story, like the first book in the series, is set in a world very much like our own, with a few major differences. One is that slavery is legal there. Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone. Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover). Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil. It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with “have a rack”), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge. Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades. You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.
Mommynificent’s Review of The Gladiator and the Guard
This was a really hard book for me to read, and I’m finding it just as hard to write the review. I love Annie Douglass Lima’s writing style! She creates exciting, tension-filled plots that I find really engaging, and I find her characters complex and very believable. I grew very attached to Bensin in The Collar and the Cavvarach and really want him to have a happy life.
There is very little happiness to be found in this book. In just the first few chapters, Bensin is betrayed, lied about, tortured, and forced to endure a lot of horrific things, and it only gets worse from there. With regards to violence and cruelty, this book was past my personal tolerance level. I found myself gritting my teeth to get through a lot of it, hoping against hope for something good to happen, and in that, I was only partially rewarded.
Despite all that, this is a memorable story with a very powerful message that even though we can’t control our circumstances and often don’t have a say in what happens to us, we can decide how we will respond and what kind of person we will be.
I have agonized over how many stars to give this book because, although I can’t say that I enjoyed it, I do recognize that it is a really good book. For that reason, I’m going to give it four stars. I think readers who enjoy stories of gladiators and people who endure through unjust persecution will appreciate this book and especially that it has no sexual references or foul language (in English). I do agree with the author that this book is for young adults and older and not middle graders.
I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest review which is what I’ve given. I was not required to write a positive review. I actually wrote to Mrs. Lima when I finished the book to make sure this was true as I knew that my review would not be all positive. She confirmed that she really wanted me to post what I actually thought about the book. So the opinions I’ve expressed are completely my own.
My Favorite Quotes from The Gladiator and the Guard
There are several quotes from this book that I found very powerful and applicable to situations those of us in this world might face! There is a lot of hate in the political world right now, and I know a lot of people’s experiences in high school and college are filled with bullying and peer pressure. These quotes might help.
“My hatred can’t hurt them. But choosing not to hate might.”
“I can be stubborn by refusing to let them make me what I don’t want to be. At the very least, I can choose not to be angry, proud, and hateful.”
“We don’t have a lot of choices here, but I’m choosing who I want to be, and if I decide I want to be nice to people, I’m not going to let anyone stop me.”
“I’d rather die knowing that I chose to be who I wanted to be.”
About the Author: Annie Douglass Lima
Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel.
Connect with the Author Online:
Email: [email protected]
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon
Google Plus: http://bit.ly/ADLimaOnGooglePlus
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