Bayla's Reviews > Curses and Smoke

Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter
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it was ok
bookshelves: historical-fiction

*Review of ARC*

Buzzwords: Pompeii, Slavery, Romance (forbidden love), Gladiators, ROle of Women

In Pompeii, not long before the volcano, Lucia is being married off by her father to a man she hates so he can have money to run his business, when all she wants is freedom to learn and expound her theories on the earth tremors. Tag, a slave and childhood friend of Lucia's, wants to train as a gladiator to fight for his freedom, so that he no longer is subject to the whims and brutality of his master, Lucia's father. When Tag and Lucia meet again, for the first time since their childhood, they recognize something in each other - but can their romance survive the rules of their society, the cruelty of her father,and the coming volcanic eruption?

Well this was depressing. So much to go wrong - not that I shouldn't have known that before I started the book, but even more than I thought would go wrong, did. Also, the characterizations felt somewhat flat to me, not fully developed - which, in turn, made me question Tag and Lucia's romance, her father's motivations, her friendship with Cornelia, Quintus's feelings towards Tag, etc. And the volcanic eruption, despite being led up to the entire book, felt abrupt - although I guess that's maybe a good thing, since it would have abruptly ended many of the plotlines in real people's lives.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 10, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 11, 2014 – Shelved
February 11, 2014 – Shelved as: historical-fiction

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell I agree. I felt like the dual POV was very forced. A first person narration might have infused it with more soul.


Bayla Could be. I'm not sure if that would have saved it for me, though. I would still have needed to understand each of them a bit better.


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