Monday, November 11, 2013

ARC Review: Poisoned Web

Title: Poisoned Web
Series: The Deizian Empire, #2
Author: Crista McHugh
Self-PublishedRelease Date: November 11, 2013
Pages: 278
Buy LinkAmazon


The fate of the empire hangs on one slave breaking her silence…

As the Deizian Empire prepares for the upcoming wedding of Emperor Titus Sergius Flavus and Azruha, one mystery remains unsolved—the sudden and unexplained death of the former emperor. And as her wedding gift to Titus, Azurha wants to give him answers. She suspects an unknown poison was involved, and her search for the truth enlists two unlikely allies.

Modius Varro’s thirst for knowledge caused an uproar in Emona three years ago and exiled him to the border town of Madrena. But when Titus falls victim to the same poison, his expertise in medicine becomes essential in solving both the riddle of the former emperor’s death and finding a cure to save the current one. His search leads him to far reaches of the Alpirion realm, to an ancient culture shrouded in secrets, and into the arms of one slave who must break her silence to save the empire.


Out of this world greatness!

Crista McHugh strikes again with another masterpiece! I enjoyed this book very much - it was sexy and intriguing!

I loved that Izana was brave and courageous, even when there were times her life was put in danger. She was a very loyal slave to her mistress and she would do anything to do her duty regardless of the consequences.

I also liked Modius's strong presence. He affected Izana by inspiring her to pursue him based simply on natural attraction. This time, Izana wasn't forced to keep him company. I also enjoyed reading the exchange between him and his father. The awkwardness in the beginning gave way to camaraderie, trust, and pride. Scenes between him and his father put tears in my eyes!

Modius: "I won't let you down, Father."
Varro: "You never have."

Just as in the first book, Marcus was once again the comic relief of this book. I just could not wait for his own story! Alas, some things are worth the wait, and I also have no choice. Hopefully, his own story will create itself soon.

Modius: "By the way, I noticed some of the glances your men were giving her."
Marcus: "I've already spoken to them about it. They're to keep their hands off of her or answer to Lady Azurha. It's amazing how just mentioning punishment from the Rabbit will keep a crew in line."
Modius: "The Rabbit? Is she really the Rabbit?"
Marcus: "Want to piss her off and find out?"
Modius: "Not really."

"You two lovebirds are almost as nauseatingly cute as Titus and Azurha. It makes me want to drink until I'm numb."

Speaking of the Rabbit, I absolutely enjoyed the power the name possessed. Knowing that the Rabbit was a woman was even better. I just love badass women ;)

Another thing I loved about this book was the real emotions it evoked. Being a slave did not produce happy memories. There were times when Izana would talk about herself and my heart would just break into pieces. I couldn't imagine how Modius must have felt. (Yes, I'm acting like they're real people!)

"I'm nothing more than a stupid slave whose only talent lies in making men come. And when I was faced with a life or death situation, I fell back on what I do best."

I also enjoyed the medical knowledge that Modius possessed. The way he attacked the enemy and the way he saved a life were both so inspiring. He was incredibly smart and was not afraid to take a risk, if it meant saving a life.

Modius: "I need a drill."
Varro: "What are you talking about?"
Modius: "I need to drill a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure."
Varro: "Are you mad?"
Modius: "No, I'm a healer, Father, and I know what I need to do. Now get me that drill."

Finally, the honorableness of Azurha and Titus put tears in my eyes, too. They were such just leaders, they did what they thought was best for their people, without overstepping their bounds. I especially enjoyed the part when Azurha said she could not give her slave to Modius as compensation. I couldn't help myself; I choked. It was such a beautiful scene!

Want to find out more? Check out my interview with the author below!


1. Where did you get the idea for the Deizian Empire series?

I came up with the idea while changing the channel from Stargate to a documentary on Caligula. It made be wonder if I could create an alien world based on Ancient Rome (rather than Ancient Egypt). I loved the intrigue of the period, and it was an environment ripe for a fantasy world.

2. What kind of research did you do to write the book?

I did lots of research into Ancient Rome to write Tangled Web, but as I expanded the empire, I also included some research into Roman Egypt. The great thing about writing fantasy (as opposed to historicals) is that I didn't have to get all the details perfect, but I still wanted to include enough to create an general atmosphere.

3. Did you make up the word "Deizian", "Alpirion", and "Elymanian", or were they based on something from history?

I created the word Deizian from the word deity, since that race was seen as godlike in their ability to use magic. I created the names of the other two races from small Roman cities I'd stumbled across in my research. I wanted to capture some of the environment without it being so well known that people would come into the world with preconceived notions. 

4. How did you choose the names for your characters?

For the Deizian and Elymanian characters, I prowled Nova Roma's website for Roman names. The Alpirion names were derived from Arabic and Egyptian words

5. Do you have a specific way of choosing your book titles?

For this series, I wanted all the books to have one word in common, so I stuck with Web. Thankfully, I was able to come up with titles that reflected the plot, too. Usually, though, I stress over titles - sometimes choosing a title is harder than writing the book.

6. Anything else you want to ask our readers? Any other news we should know about?

The next book in the series, Deception's Web, comes out in December. Then, in 2014, I'm launching a sexy contemporary romance series that's my twist on Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Adam's book, The Sweetest Seduction, comes out in January and will be followed by Ben's book in February and Caleb's book in March. I'm also going to be releasing the next installment of my fantasy series, The Elgean Chronicles, this summer. 

Make sure to check out this series! You won't be disappointed!

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