Aug 18, 2011: The premise of the story is very straightforward: the hero defies an evil emperor, is caught, and is forced to fight in gladiatorial games for the amusement of the citizens of the empire. The gladiatorial games, however, has a twist—the gladiators are given magic powers to spice up the fights. Unfortunately for the prisoners-turned-gladiators, the powers can only be used in the arena, which makes them largely useless when trying to escape . . . maybe.
The story isn’t complicated. The problem is set up very early, and you follow the hero’s attempts to free himself from imprisonment while his fellow prisoners appear to have lost all hope. Most of the people in the story tend to lean toward stock characters, and it feels like an old Flash Gordon serial, if Flash Gordon had been fantasy instead of science fiction. It moves along at a brisk pace and while the writing is a little unsophisticated I found the author’s obvious enthusiasm for the story engaging and overall I thought the story was fun.
Don’t expect complex characters, or intricately clever wordplay, or deep, thought-provoking themes. There are spelling errors, a few missing words, and the exclamation point is used liberally throughout. That said, it’s cheerful, it moves along quickly, and it made me curious to discover what happens next.
This might be a fun story as long as you’re in the right mood.
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