Series: Badari Gladiators #1
on November 1, 2021
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
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Kyden is the top ranked gladiator in the Five Systems but he’s hardly there by choice. Unscrupulous guards faked his death in the lab where he was created and sold him into slavery in the galaxy’s hinterlands. He has no idea where his home is or how many years have passed since he was condemned to a life of endless combat. Kill or be killed is the rule and a Badari never gives up. He’ll fight to stay alive until the Badari goddess sees fit to decree his death.
Elara Vasclavian is the daughter of a senator, as far removed from the life of a gladiator as a noblewoman can be until through the machinations of a political enemy, she ends up in terrible jeopardy. Abducted and given to a group of drunken gladiators for their amusement the night before the games, Elara vows to put up a fight but there’s no real hope of saving herself.
Until Kyden steps in, responding to the goddess’s commandment to protect those who are smaller and weaker.
And discovers she’s his fated mate.
Rescued, Elara returns to her life of privilege but she can’t forget the man who saved her life. The gulf between their places in the Five Systems is unbridgeable, no matter how much Kyden longs for even a glimpse of her in the arena audience. No matter how much she feels the pull to be by his side. As matters stand, they cannot be together…
After enjoying my start with the Badari Warriors series, also called Sectors New Allies, I spotted this side series and I let myself be pulled into the interesting juxtaposition of Roman gladiator games set in a futuristic sci fi world. I’ve enjoyed so many of Veronica Scott’s sci-fi romantic adventures that I was excited for this new venture and I wasn’t disappointed.
In the author’s note, Ms Scott explains how the Badari Gladiators fits into the earlier and ongoing Badari Warriors series. Gladiators takes place three generations before and a great distance from the Warriors’ setting yet there is a connection that allows existing fans and new readers alike to enjoy both series together or separately.
Kyden is the first in the series and swiftly introduces a noble yet enslaved Badari who, true to his genetic purpose, is the top fighter for his gladiator House and of all the gladiator Houses. This gives him some prestige as a slave, but at the end of the day, he has no freedom and is forced to do what he does to entertain others. His hopeless life takes a drastic change when he steps in to save a Senator’s two daughters when they mistakenly get sent to the gladiators along with a group of prostitutes. There is intrigue behind this incident, but Kyden is more occupied with the discovery that Elara, the oldest daughter is his true mate.
I enjoyed the action that stays on the sanitized side of gladiator fighting, the growing class difference romance, and the emerging political intrigue that adds to the conflict of how this pair will find a way to be together since he’s slave and she’s not just free, but high up in the Five System’s class structure.
I feel a smidge guilty admitting that I transferred my allegiance from Badari Warriors series to the Gladiators with this one book. I blame Kyden. He’s so heroic and noble, self-taught by a growing library he purchased with his wins, and he stands up for the other slaves when and where he can.
Now, I look forward to getting the story of the next Badari who found himself taken far from his homeworld and sold into this brutal, exciting environment of the gladiator games to find his adventure and romance. Those who enjoy action and romance in a sci-fi setting should definitely give Kyden a chance.
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