I am a former stay-at-home mom who has given up her hopes and dreams of becoming a professional reader. I now spend my days showing small children how to play games on computers. Right now I'm living vicariously through my 9 year-old who is reading everything she can get her hands on.
It takes a talented writer to write a book in which you find yourself both laughing hysterically and crying rivers. With Empress of the Seven Hills, Kate Quinn has put her talent on full display. For now I will say Empress of the Seven Hills is my favorite of the women of Rome series.
I adored Vix and Sabina right from the beginning. Their early trysts had me laughing until it hurt. I loved their banter.
"I wonder why we don't eat dog," she mused. "We eat geese and pigs, and they're just as domesticated. We eat eels and lampreys, and they're too vile-looking to even contemplate in their natural form. But we don't eat dog, not unless we're really desperate."
"You want to try?"
"No, I confess I don't. But I wonder why?"
"You wonder a lot of things."
Those were the kinds of back and forth between Vix and Sabina that I loved. There are so many examples I can list. The part where Sabina hits a man with a rock "That makes quite a thunk, doesn't it?" Last example I promise. I had a terrible fit of giggles when Sabina demonstrates to Vix what she learned from watching a whore with a flute.
I have said it many times before and I will say it again, it takes a special author to make you care about historical characters who's fate you already know. I found myself crying rivers over the death of Trajan. I knew it was coming. There was a small part of me hoping that one of the liberties taken with history was Trajan's death. Alas, it was not to be.
"Emperors might forgive you if you cross them, but never empresses." This quote applies to Plotina perfectly. Has there even been a woman with a more perfect name? Kate Quinn has this ability to write characters I absolutely hate and wish painful deaths on like no author I have ever read. First it was Cesare Borgia (Just the literary version and the Assassin's Creed version. I adore oogling the Cesare from the Showtime series), then Lepida, then Marcella (although, Marcella redeemed herself in Mistress of Rome), and now there's Plotina. Here is a woman who has the audacity to question the actions and motives of Juno herself. "If I were Juno, I'd never put up with any whorish little goddess of love and her antics." "Mortal women and bastard children-really, my dear, I would not put up with it for a moment." I didn't realize mere mortals were allowed to question the gods. I am on pins and needles waiting to see what happens (even though I already know) to Plotina and Dear Publius.
The most disappointing part of this novel, the fact that I have to wait until March to read the next one. I missed the day when they were passing out the patience virtue. Until then I will just have to settle for re-reading the existing three women of Rome novels. I would like to read them in chronological order versus order of publication. I feel I might gain a little more insight to some of the characters if I do.