August 28, 2021

#BookReview: Divine (Divine, #1) by M.J. Woodman

Synopsis: The captivating debut novel by M.J. Woodman.

What if Rome never fell?

In an alternative reality, the Roman Empire never fell, and the world was never the same. Present-day Appia, real-world North America, fractured by a mythical war in recent history has been divided into five Imperial fortress states. These states, shielded by an invisible forcefield and known as Havens, are designed to protect inhabitants from the world beyond. What lies beyond? Electa Steel wants to know.

Electa, on the cusp of womanhood, faces an uncertain future in Latia, the capital state in Appia. While sun-drenched Latia may be a paradise for some, it is a prison for others. Feeling suppressed by her society’s rules, expectations, and religion, she rebels quietly in the only ways she knows how – drinking, smoking, fighting, and partying. Her youthful but futile resistance cannot last for long. Her seventeenth birthday looms and with it, the Choosing. This rite of passage promises wealth and happiness for a chosen few but Electa, as a plebeian faces an almost certain fate – expulsion from her Haven and homeland.

Electa’s fate takes an unexpected turn when, against all the odds, she is Chosen to remain in her society for the rest of her life and to compete in Imperial Panore, a once in a generation event to find a wife for the future Emperor. A mysterious terror organization, Spartaca, from outside her Haven, recruits her, to bring down the Empire from the inside. Spartaca uses Electa as a pawn, and in the process, she must learn to adapt to the politics and power her new life brings. To win the competition, she must first seduce the Prince, and future Emperor, Asher Ovicula. Then she must defeat the other competitors in a series of brutal gladiatorial games. Why did Spartaca choose her? The truth will change Electa’s world forever.

For fans of Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen series, the Hunger Games, and The Man in the High Castle.


Rating: 1 Star
My Review: I want to tell you I loved this one and that this alternative history was awesome. But sadly that just didn't work out.  The tag line grabbed me and I followed the author on BookTok so I reached out to get her on my show and to read this book.  What If Rome Never Fell?  That tag line drew me in!! I love retellings but sadly this one fell on all accounts.  

For me it felt like the map at the start of the book was worthless since we never leave the core part of the city.  I felt like it was wasted.  I do understand that this is a series so maybe the cast of characters will reach new areas in later books. The next issue is why are in North America?  It just doesn't make any sense.  I wish she would have stuck closer to the actual history to the Fall of Rome but with this updated twist of it never actually falling.   As for the characters I just hated everyone.  No one felt well rounded and the cast of characters were just ugh.  

Overall I felt like this wasn't very well fleshed out and that it felt more like a draft of a book vs. something ready for publication.  

If you are looking for an outstanding alternative history to Rome and mythological time check out Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson!! It was outstanding and you won't be able to put it down!!! 

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FTC Guidelines: In accordance with FTC guidelines regarding endorsements and testimonials for bloggers, I would like my readers to know that many of the books I review are provided to me for free by the publisher or author of the book in exchange for an honest review. If am compensated for any reviews on this site I will state that post has been sponsored. 


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