Sol…of the Coliseum… Sol should never have lived but the guard that came to take him away to die, 2 minutes after Sol was born, had a heart. Sol grew up within the Coliseum walls, knowing nothing about the outside world apart from tales brought in by guards or slaves. He grows up into a man, a fighting gladiator.
If you’re looking for a dirty, bloody gladiator story- this book is for you. If you’re looking to read about fighting in the arena- yup, that’s your book.
Deep in the bowels of the Coliseum of the mighty Astrolian Empire, the orphan, Sol, is raised by a makeshift family of guards and fellow slaves to become the most famed Gladiator in all the land. Alongside K’nal, his giant Frorian fighting partner, Sol must battle cunning warriors and fantastic beasts to delight the crowd and stay alive. But when an oppressed populace transforms Sol into a revolutionary folk hero, the Empire sends its most ruthless assassin to put an end to the uprising. Sol’s only chance is to do what no slave has ever done: escape from the Coliseum and the only home he’s ever known.
The blurb gives a perfect overview of the book. Besides Sol, K’nal and the ruthless assassin (who is quite psychotic indeed) there are other characters that I took a great liking to- Slink for example, my heart went out for him. And Korra, a Lady who was captured and ended up as a Spoil.
For me, not having read a billion of fantasy books, this one was quite unique yet easy to draw parallels with real life with. The oppression, the truths and lies, the conspiracies. I don’t know why I always do that- I always compare the fantasy worlds to real life, always try to find a similarity in between two. I guess my imagination just isn’t great enough to let go of what’s real and completely lose myself in a world that doesn’t exist. Because- some things in fantasy always exist in reality. I’m not talking about your sparkly vamps, hot as hell werewolves and women who chase after men that turn into bears! That’s just gross! What I mean is the politics, the religions, the betrayals, the philosophies. Meh, getting sidetracked here…
In short- this book is full of extremities! Extreme fights, extreme characters, extreme situatons and deep dilemmas… In a way, it portrays the fragile human mind, or the strength of it. From one extreme to another- either never know of and have hope at all, or never give it up.
Sol of the Coliseum is a book full of fighting. Fighting for life, fighting for hope, fighting for freedom. Also fighting other people and creatures and fighting for love. I found the book to be quite philosophical as well- characters’ thoughts about their situations, about their pasts, and their futures. The dialogue was great, Sol’s musings even greater. I love going in the deep end of thoughts full of existentialism, survival and morbid fears. *bonkers*
I loved the creatures Adam Gaylord had created- the fluffy beings that ate anything that moved until there was naught left but bonedust and blood spatters. I loved K’nal- I wish I could see a picture of what he looks like in the author’s mind. I simply picture him looking like a bigfoot.
And what’s a book without women. The Spoils- slave women handed over to fighters after walking away from a fight alive to do with as the fighter wishes. Bluntly- Spoils are sex-slaves. Disgusting. Yet this whole book, without going into an overwhelming amount of detail, makes me shiver at how clearly I can see the fights, the wrong-doings play out.
I was slightly worried that there was going to be this Hollywood-like attempt at having the hero of the story get down and dirty with Korra, the only female character that had spotlight. I was glad that didn’t happen and stayed more true to the way things would actually happen if this book was real life. I was bracing myself for one of those “Oh shit, here we go again, the damsel in distress, in close vicinity of a young gladiator, pants will fly”- what a cliché… Thankfully the ending of the book was exactly perfect! I liked the ending so very very much it gave me warm feels for right reasons.
And… I wonder- will there be a second book?
Thanking you Adam for providing me with a copy! I thoroughly and utterly enjoyed this book full of fantastic creatures, and characters not so fantastic.
Click on the book cover to visit book’s Goodreads page.
Happy reading! 🙂