Customer Reviews for

Mistress of Rome (Empress of Rome Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 147 )
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(90)

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(12)

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(4)

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(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Escape To Ancient Rome

A friend recommended I read this book, so I picked it up and was immediately thrilled to see it was about a gladiator. It's an impressive debut novel with a sweeping story of the lives of the scheming Lepida Pollia, the beautiful slave girl, Thea, and the super-gladiato...
A friend recommended I read this book, so I picked it up and was immediately thrilled to see it was about a gladiator. It's an impressive debut novel with a sweeping story of the lives of the scheming Lepida Pollia, the beautiful slave girl, Thea, and the super-gladiator, Arius. I stayed up into the wee hours finishing the book because I couldn't put it down.

Thea is a slave girl to Lepida, who wants the gladiator for herself. When she learns Thea has beaten her to him, she sells her off to a brothel. Thea, though, remakes herself into the singer Athena, bears Arius's son, and lives a quiet life with her kind master. But Lepida's scheming and trouble-making is far from over. Now determined to become the Emperor's mistress, she will do anything and everything possible to get to him. Until she realizes Thea has once again beaten her to it.

The characters are wonderfully drawn, the story is engrossing and the details of the setting and the history are woven so masterfully, you forget you're reading. This is definitely going on my keeper shelf. I look forward to reading more from this author.

posted by M-Miles on June 11, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

5 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Sadomasochistic

If you like blood dripping from 2/3 of a book's pages, you'll like this. Quinn describes constant swords ripping people's bodies in the most ugly detail throughout the book. While Rome was cruel, so is Quinn. She seems to get some personal satisfaction from gratuitous g...
If you like blood dripping from 2/3 of a book's pages, you'll like this. Quinn describes constant swords ripping people's bodies in the most ugly detail throughout the book. While Rome was cruel, so is Quinn. She seems to get some personal satisfaction from gratuitous gore when much less would have served the plot better. Cliched characters abound, she attempts to make an utterly unredeemable main male character sympathetic--impossible given his behavior and lack of conscience, and a heroine who doesn't quite jell. Whether or not her research is accurate, she has mishandled it badly. While I like reading about history, this book plays to the lowest common denominator. Its plot isn't much, depending solely on cruelty; and overall isn't worth the price or a read.

posted by 3635085 on May 23, 2010

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  • Posted May 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    WOW!

    I love this book! I was trying to find more books by this writer and was very shocked to learn that this was her first one... Bravo!

    The way she told this story was like watching a movie. I couldn't put it down. The fighting scenes are gory but that was very accurate to the time period. Can't wait for another great read by this writer.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Amazing!

    It was intruiging and filled with suspense!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    Truly has it all.

    Before I begin, I want to start by saying I'm a picky reader regarding what I like. Mistress of Rome is the perfect book, depending on where your interests lie---which for me was dead on! Part romance, part action thriller, part history, MOR has something for everyone. The romance was beautifully developed and challenging. The action refused to let me put the book down. And the history was detailed, yet light enough that I was never bored.

    Now, I will say: I am not a history buff. I don't care how accurate the book is as long as it is good. Quinn always puts a section in at the end explaining where fact ends and fiction begins. Honestly, I usualluly tend to prefer the fiction aspects anyways. Those like mr, I STRONGLY recommend you read Susan Carroll's The Dark Queen series next rather than taking B&Ns recommendations. Flat, historical reads tend to be put in the same category as MOR despite the huge differences!

    MOR is fictional story set in a real time. It tends to fill in gaps of history with made up characters. It does not retell boring stories we've all heard before like most historical novels. READ IT!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    Mistress of Rome

    I absolutely love this book! I will always continue to read this book, as for Kate Quinn brings this book alive so vividly described as if you're in the story---feeling what they are feeling, ---thinking what they are thinking---and acting what they are acting---only they can't see you. You will absolutely love this book and read it forever!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2012

    Okay I bought this book 4 days ago ( mind you I only can read wh

    Okay I bought this book 4 days ago ( mind you I only can read while working out) and I finished it last night. FANTASTIC book, I will be buying the other in the series. I usually read Virginia Henley, Catherine Coulter and Ms. Lowell so this was the first read by this author and I was NOT disapointed, actually I was alittle when it ended!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic book set in Ancient Rome

    It's been a while since I've read a very good historical fiction This is one of the best I've read so far. There is lots of fighting action (gladiator fights), romance, and lots of drama. Just the way I like it in historical fiction. However, what I love about this book is, that it moved me in many ways. The emotions in this book was like a roller coaster. You were happy one minute, the next you were sad, and then you were boiling in rage (usually because Lepida is such a ...witch..to say the least). The plot was well done and well written. It's been broken into several point of views of different characters so you get to see the story in different angles which is certainly nice to see and adds more to the book.

    The characters in this novel were excellent. The chemistry between potential pairings were really well done and well written. Of all the characters, I liked Thea and Vix. Marcus also held a soft spot for me too. I was glad Thea wasn't written out as a damsel in distress type of heroine. I noticed as the story progressed, she became stronger and I admired her even more for standing up to Domitian and to not to give in to what he wants. What I also enjoyed reading was, every female in this book had their strengths (and of course weaknesses) but their strengths were much more prominent and focused in the book.

    Vix made me laugh, because although he was a brat, he had the best insults and comebacks I have ever read. I liked how he wasn't afraid of Lepida, even though she had the means to get back at him and potentially kill him.

    I hated Lepida. Oh wow did I ever hate her. I've hated some characters in the past but Lepida wins all the medals for being villain of the year. She's scheming, cruel, nasty, evil, vile, all the names you can think of that are negative. In fact, Calpurnia sums it up by saying that she's "the most criminal wife in Rome". Calpurnia actually calls her several colorful names which I enjoyed reading and laughing at. (Lepida gets what's due to her in time so reading the book and seeing her fall is quite a treat).

    The only criticism I find in this book is it shifts from first person to third person quickly and I'm not sure why it's been done this way. It's a little strange but it's not enough to distract the reader from reading and enjoying the story. Some readers might find that a little irksome - however it didn't bother me.

    So far, I think this is one of the best historical fiction novels I have read in 2010. It'll be hard to top this one off. Fans of Ancient Rome will love this novel and will become attached to this story as I am. I think this book is definitely a keeper. From the historical note at the end, there maybe another story coming featuring some characters from Mistress of Rome. I can hardly wait to see the next one if it does come out!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2013

    Love it !

    Love this book & the rest of the series. Kate Quinn is an amazing writer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    I will never forget this book. It is an amazing story that I kno

    I will never forget this book. It is an amazing story that I know I will want to reread again and again. This book should be made into a movie!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What a Great Book!

    Mistress of Rome is one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever read. It was teeming with historical detail and events of huge impact, but Kate Quinn gave the story accesible characters to make the reader emotionally involved. I loved the writing style; it was very unique with alternating first person narrators and portions of the book written in the third person. I couldn't put this book down and if you read it you won't be able to either.

    The novel is centered around a Jewish slave girl, Thea. When the story begins Thea is owned by a spiteful Roman heiress Lepida Pollia. When a handsome gladiator, Arius the Barbarian, catches Lepida's eye it's Thea's duty to deliver her mistress's love letters. But instead of Arius responding to Lepida's affections he falls for Thea and their romance is the only spark of happiness in their otherwise brutal lives of slavery. When Lepida learns of their love she puts an end to it and seperates them. The rest of the novel follows Thea's journey from slave to singer to Emperor Domitian's mistress and follows the stories of a varied cast of characters that include a powerful senator's family and the gladiators of the arena. Kate Quinn weaves all the different threads of the story seamlessly and juggles the differing perspectives with ease.

    When I was reading Mistress of Rome I felt like I was there in ancient Rome, alongside all of the action. Quinn's writing really brought the time period and setting to life. The reader can see Rome in all its depraved, brutal, extravagent glory and witness a time in history like they are tourists of that time. The characters were wonderful and I loved or loved to hate them all. I can't recommend Mistress of Rome enough. Read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    Something for everyone

    If you're a Roman history buff, you'll love the attention to detail Quinn gives every scene, whether it's the atmosphere in a gladiator practice ring or the dishes that might be served to the Emperor. If you love action and adventure, the gladiatorial scenes will make you incredibly happy. If you like political thrillers, you'll be fascinated by the skullduggery going on during the reign of Domitian. If you like romances, the central love story will captivate you. I appreciated this on every level and can't wait for the sequel! (And don't worry -- though the door is open for a sequel, this plot wraps up in very final, very meaningful fashion. You will be satisfied!)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2014

    Engaging Read

    This novel is engaging from page one. The characters are thoroughly likable and dislikable. A great start to a series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    VicMars bio

    Name: Victor Mars. Age: 14. Godly parent: Apollo. Weapons: Bow&Arrows and dagger. Powers: none. Just really good at aim and poetry. Looks: black spiky hair tanned skin brown eyes almost perfect teeth(got tooth chipped in battle) 5'3 and 88.6 lb black shirt that says Battle of the Books and jeans with a pocket on the leg where my dagger goes white DC shoes and high tech glasses for aiming my friend Andy Cave son of Vulcan made for me. Personality: nice kind and wants friends. Girlfriend: none. ----------- anything else just ask. ;)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2014

    Rosa's Bio.

    Name: Rosa Shadow. Age: 13. Goldy Parent: Saturno . Looks: Long black hair. black eyes that turn silver sometimes. Short agile. Almost pale skin. Always wears her long black cloak with the hood shadowing her face. Has a golden pocket watch as a gift from her father but doesnt knpw what it does yet. Wepons: A silver charm braselet that can turn into a bow and/or a black sword. Is currently single for now. Others: just ask. Dont be scared to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2014

    Jack

    Res all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2013

    Top 5

    I almost never read a book more than once, but this book is so engrossing that every time I pick it up it's like I'm reading it for the 1st time. All of the characters are like old friends and it's nice to see how they develop in the other books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Thea & Arius

    The beginning remainds me of Hadasa from " A voice in the Wind" ( Jewish slave, Briton gladiator) but that's were the similarities stop. As much as I loved Hadasa and Marcus, Thea and Arius were amazing also. Their story was touching and kept me up most of the night... who wants to go to bed when you have a crazy emperor, a brava slave and cunning empress?

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    Perfect

    Stunning and beautiful, can't wait to read the next book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Transports you back into time

    This book made me feel like I was living in Ancient Rome. Great book!

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  • Posted May 23, 2011

    If you love Roman history...you must read this

    I loved this book for many reasons but the main two reasons were for its wonderful writing by the author and the characters, the fictional ones and the historical ones. I found myself thinking about this story and wanting to get back to it as soon as I could! This book was well worth my time curled up on the couch.

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  • Posted April 21, 2011

    Beautiful

    I could not put this book down. It was so rich...the words that KAte Quinn filled the pages just overtake you. You go into this world of the Romans and it is so hard to leave because you dont want to tear away from the book. It was so beautifully written and I would recommend it to anyone who loves historical ficition.

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