The Gladiator and the Guard
by Annie Douglass Lima
My rating: 5 stars
Series: The Krillonian Chronicles - Book 2
Publisher: Annie Douglass Lima (April 20, 2016)
Publication Date: April 20, 2016
Genre: Children's Books - 9+ Action & Adventure
Print Length: 465 pages
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass Lima (Krillonian Chronicles Book 2)
He was one win away from his promised freedom with the skills of his martial arts training. Bensin could almost smell it, but he is framed for a murder by free teens. The word of a slave is nothing, and the trial and court he faced was nothing more than a charade, a puppet show. His punishment, death or become a Gladiator for the citizens’ entertainment. None of this would have happened if his master would have freed and adopted him, as he did with Bensin’s little sister.
Alone now, never to see his sister again, forced to fight and bleed for the crowds day after brutal day, scorned by the other gladiators, alone, afraid but determined to gain his freedom, either through escape of death. When he discovers he is losing his own humanity in the battles on the bloody sand-filled arena, his actions take him from the favored gladiator to the target of even more brutality and pain.
Meanwhile, the owner he thought betrayed him struggles with his own guilt. Will they ever meet again? Is he to blame for the living death that stalks Bensin?
In a world filled with hate and fear, Annie Douglass Lima creates a tale of raw human emotions, unlikely allies and deadly enemies. The lines of good versus evil are clearly marked and the slavery of the Krillonian Empire mirror those of historical Earth. Action and adventure come alive, as well as deceit and the fragile bonds of trust in a world where the desire to stay alive only hones more fear and resentment of death and the monsters who devalue life to the level of entertainment. Watch as one young man’s quest for honor and integrity raises the fear of his oppressors and his life expectancy is severely shortened.
The Gladiator and the Guard is magnetic, with never a lull in the action, fantasy or emotion. Give a child a series that opens their minds to another world, show them how honor among men is vital and let them fall into a tale that will make a reader out of anyone who picks up this series. I hate to label this as a middle grade read on up, Annie Douglass Lima’s writing is ageless. Her characters breathe and feel, their plight is almost overwhelming! Heart pounding, heartbreaking, and heartwarming in equal measures, this fantasy is a must read, as you ask yourself, what would I do?
I received an ARC edition from Annie Douglass Lima in exchange for my honest review.