Sunday, April 26, 2009

New This Month: Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield

In their review, Publishers Weekly came up with an elevator pitch for Gladiatrix (St. Martin’s Press) that eclipses almost anything else that might be said about the book. “Think: girls gone wild -- with swords.” Really, what more need be said?

Nineteen-year-old Lyssandra is a Spartan priestess with martial training. Oh, and she’s super hot. As Gladiatrix opens, she’s in the arena performing as a female gladiator. Her life as an arena slave is short-lived, however. She is scouted by the successful and beautiful gladiatrix, Eiranwen, who takes the young slave into her school and -- ultimately -- her bed.

Gladiartix is occasionally so overwritten, I had to avert my eyes. Take these two lines from the very first page:
The roar of the crowd was a living thing as it assaulted her and she staggered beneath its violent intensity. Row upon row of the screaming mob surrounded her, the ampitheatre stuffed full, as if it were a massive god gorging upon base humanity.
You don’t have to go far to find lines like that, either. These are from the first page, but I could have just opened the book at random.

But then, this is not high fiction. No one is going to be rushing in with any literary awards for debut novelist Russell Whitfield on this one. But if you like this sort of stuff at all, you’ll probably enjoy Gladiatrix. Intense action, gore, sex, Gladiatrix has it all. Could a movie be far behind?

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