When I was a kid, barely even a teenager, I loved to read about ancient Greece and Rome. All those gods and goddesses, all those myths, they fascinated me. This book was like going back in time, but to an ancient time when those myths also had magic added into the blend.
I loved the world-building, the way the magics of the people merged quite well with what I know about the history of ancient Rome. It all felt quite familiar, yet not.
The characters were engaging, many of them not wet behind the ears youngsters coming into their own, but established, mature folks - something I'm always on the lookout for. The heroine, Latona, is the middle of three sisters, and has been repressing her natural magic talents as well as her smarts. Married to what I'd term a Barney Businessman type in contemporary terms, she had been forced to serve as the now-deceased dictator of Aven's mistress. She feels almost freed by his death and begins to experience a growing of her powers.
The hero of the tale is Sempronius, a man who has been hiding his own powers, powers having been for the most part proscribed by the aforementioned dictator, and living in a sort of exile. He has returned to the city and wants to dedicate his life to making Aven the greatest it can be and then he meets Latona and there's instant chemistry.
Anyway, the politics are interesting and written in such a way that they never become boring. There is some military action happening out in the 'provinces' where a general of the people for the barbarians has arisen. There's that romance I mentioned and there's character growth on both sides.
I liked it. I enjoyed my read, it was meaty and juicy, filled with all sorts of things. There wasn't a huge ending to the book though. There was definitely what could be termed an ending of this part of the tale and I was satisfied by it, instead of being frustrated with a huge cliffhanger. I'm looking forward to the next book. :)