Marc reviews ‘Blood Before Wine’ (Dominus #3) by JP Kenwood. This book was released by the author on January 31st, 2019 and is 467 pages long.
RGR received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book:
I LOVED ‘Games of Rome’, the second book in this series and couldn’t wait to find out how this story would continue. It took a bit for this sequel to come out, but it was SO worth it! ❤ 🙂
Conquer. Own. Sacrifice everything.
Gaius Fabius knows a healthy son will secure his claim to the throne of Rome, but his devotion to his illegal Dacian pleasure slave, Allerix, could destroy his dreams of supreme power. Determined to solve the mysterious murder of a dear friend, Gaius searches for clues hidden deep in the palace that threaten his future and his family.But while he and Allerix share passions in and out of the bedchamber, another assassination sends Gaius and his captured prince back to the vanquished kingdom of Dacia. In order to protect his beloved concubine, can Gaius find the courage to sacrifice his own heart?
Lose. Submit. Betray everyone.
Allerix knows vengeance for the vicious destruction of his homeland is within tantalizing reach, but only if he can convince his Roman master to trust him. When an unexpected ally interrupts his plans, Alle sets aside his lust for revenge to embrace the ecstasy of Gaius’s unbridled devotion.But a surprise reunion with a childhood friend and an unforeseen return trip to Dacia remind Allerix of all he has lost while revealing the honor and glory that remain to be won. To earn the respect of his surviving kinsmen, can Alle betray the only man he has ever loved?
Dominus is a plot-packed m/m historical fantasy set in ancient Rome during the reign of Trajan (AD 98-117). Blood Before Wine is the third book in this four-book alternative history saga–a tumultuous adventure of forbidden love, humor, friendship, political intrigue, deception, and murder.
I have always been fascinated by ancient civilizations like Rome and Egypt and their rich history and mythology. Thus, it never really surprised me that the Dominus series was able to hook me. The author JP Kenwood is an expert when it comes to ancient Rome and combines her extensive knowledge about the setting, which gives the books in this series a lot of authenticity, with her ability as storyteller.
JP Kenwood has found a way to tell authentic stories about the ancient past in a fresh, modern way, which makes these books accessible, even to readers who might not usually choose to pick up a historical romance. Those who love historicals, though, will still get a well-researched and authentic setting from an expert and complex, engaging characters. It’s a bit like the Hamilton musical in that respect.
The previous book, number two in the Dominus series, ended in a cliffhanger and readers needed to wait for quite a bit to read the resolution, but I had no problem at all diving back into this world – though I might not have remembered every detail from the previous book. I never felt lost and after LOVING the previous book, found that this one was even better. This is my favorite of the three main novels so far and I am looking forward to the next and last main novel in this series.
This book to me seemed to actually be two books with very different settings (and it is long enough for two books as well 😉 ). The first part picks up after the cliffhanger and has a mystery/ thriller feeling to it, with political games and intrigue. The second part of this book has a fantasy/romance feeling to it. Previously, there have already been mystical aspects to this series, but now the fantasy part takes a much bigger and more important role and reminded me of fantasy books like the Song of the Fallen Duology by Rachel Haimowitz or The Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat. As someone who loves fantasy, I very much appreciated this development, but I loved the character development even more.
One problem in this series for me has always been how unequal the relationship between the MCs was, but I didn’t think there was anything that could really be done about it, given the historical realities. However, surprisingly, this book found a way to level the playing field between the characters and thus make their romance much more equal and beautiful to me. It feels more real and strong to me now.
There is generally a lot of wonderful character development in this book, even for the secondary character, which are still brilliantly written and often steal the show. *Bows to Marcia*. A lot has happened to these characters through these 3 books and it is really interesting to follow their journeys.
I can highly recommend this historical romance and fantasy book. It is grounded in authentic, historical accuracy by an expert, presented in a fresh and modern way that makes it more accessable to readers. Especially in this third book, there are also very important fantasy elements that take the events of this book in a new, exciting direction and I can’t wait to find out what the final book will bring for the characters that have stolen my heart! The author promises a wonderful HEA, though, so I am looking forward to that! If you have read the previous books, you will already know this sequel is a must-read. If you are new to this series, please start with book one (link to my review of Dominus above), because you really need to know what happened in the previous books, to understand and fully appreciate the events in ‘Blood Before Wine’.
Rating: 10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars.
Sarcastic, sassy and over-educated writer of deliciously smutty, plot-packed stories that celebrate men loving men, often. My stories, often dark and always sexy, focus on master/slave power dynamics, the vicissitudes of fate, and the fragility of historical memory. My passions are ancient Rome, laughter, and wine.
My current project is the FIVE novel saga, Dominus, set in imperial Rome. Book 1 (Dominus; 2014) and Book 2 (Games of Rome; 2015) are currently available. I also write a series of short, two-story novellas featuring many of the main and secondary characters in the Dominus saga called “Dominus Calendar Series.” The first volume of the Dominus saga (Dominus) and the first novella of the Calendar Series (February and December) are available for a limited time through Amazon KU.