Axios: A Spartan Tale by Jaclyn Osborn
Axios: A Spartan Tale by Jaclyn Osborn – 5 stars
It has taken me a little while to gather my thoughts after finishing ‘Axios’ in order to write a review that I think is worthy of this epic book. I finished it yesterday afternoon and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s one of those books you never want to end.
I love the MM genre. I am a diverse reader enjoying the light and fluffy, and devouring the dark and taboo. However, Axios was none of those. To be honest I think it deserves a category of its own!
I happened to see Riley Hart (an author I absolutely love and admire whose books are also excellent) raving about it which caught my interest, and the subject matter and era is one that I am totally obsessed with so I couldn’t believe my good fortune to find a book that encompassed both. The fact that it is superbly constructed and very well written was an absolute treasure. I relished every word and found myself absorbed from page one.
Axios was born in Sparta at a time when young boys are plucked from their homes at the tender age of 7 to enter a harsh and unforgiving regime of training to become a soldier for the rest of their days. Spartans live for the glory of fighting and dying for their home, yet Axios had a hard time getting his head around that. He is tender hearted and a bit of a dreamer; two things that do not go hand in hand to being a killer warrior. I wondered how he was ever going to survive the cruel world he was born into until he meets Eryx. Eryx is a blonde haired natural born soldier who even at the age of 7, captivates Axios. Their friendship blossoms and over the years they begin to fall in love with each other.
The book is told from Axios’s point of view and is very much a chronicle of his love and worship of Eryx. However, it is not soppy but beautifully scribed and I was utterly mesmerised by the story from beginning to end. Their lives were so hard and transient and routine yet their love overcame everything that challenged them and proved stronger than anything that could break them.
Axios is a delight. Even though he becomes a true Spartan warrior his boyhood character traits never leave him and it is this dichotomy that makes him such an interesting and intriguing personality. Eryx is everything he is not yet we do see the occasional tender side to him and this just warmed my heart. There is no angst to the story as such, yet the underlying fear of battle and death is prevalent throughout. It thrums along beside Axios’s words; a silent threat to their very existence and of any possible future.
It is clear the author has done extensive research and she has succeeded in creating a vivid and authentic backdrop to Ax and Ery’s love story. The supporting cast were also very strong and contributed immensely to this epic saga. I practically inhaled this book and am savouring the moment when I get to re-read it. This book was an intensely emotional read but nothing short of breath taking…