Because I need an Excuse Review Number 1: Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn

Hello and welcome to my first ever “Because I need an Excuse” review! This awesome book is called, “Empress of the Seven Hills” (well, duh) and it’s basically about four main characters: Vix (short for Vercingetorix the Red), who’s the basic and stereotypical Roman barbarian, Plotina, the Empress that rules her home and the Empire with equal amounts of attention and ruthlessness, Vibia Sabina, an adventurous young woman whose catchphrase is “Intresting”, and Titus (shortened from Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus-what a fucking mouthful!) whose most original moments come from quoting classic poets, orators and the like. *cue trailer voice* TOGETHER THEY LIVE THROUGH THE LAST YEARS OF EMPEROR’S TRAJAN’S BATTLES IN BOTH THE BATTLE FIELD AND AT PARTIES. Ok, that was pretty funny. But seriously, that’s the basic plot.
In the beginning, the characters are all introduced with their basic personality traits that I’ve outlined above, so much in fact, that they are really really bland characters and narratives, which is not bad, but very…safe. As you go on though, things get pretty complicated, but yeah, everything goes back to the basic character traits. Frankly, it’s not as good as I thought it would be, because the beginnings slow and kinda sounds like we’re in the twenty first century, with all of the narrative choices. Also, the beginning will reek and reek of sex, which if you don’t mind, is tolerable. In the middle, things get pretty interesting, which I don’t mind and the biggest thing I liked in this novel is that it shows life in Rome beyond “rich guys pimped out their daughters who then died in labor, and fucked their slaves”. So if you want a fresh taste of Rome, pick it up; you won’t be sorry. In the end, the action war scenes are so much more….how shall I say this? brief and hurried over, and there’s a final conspiracy that we, as the audience, get a unique look at through the eyes of Empress Plotina. The only spoiler I will reveal to you is this:
Vix and Sabina have sex and then………well it kinda tapers off and then the book just ends. Because well, leave a fucking cliff hanger so you buy the fucking sequel. Yes, apparently, there’s a fucking sequel.

Overall impression?
Pretty good, not like AMAZING, even though I was hooked, until like the last quarter of the book when I’m like, “Dude, just….get to it already!!!!” would I recommend it? Only if you like “conspiracy” novels, those who have a clear “good” and “bad” characters, and those novels who have a really strong flavor of romance novels. Otherwise, while it may show some more of Roman times (and I know I might have over done it with it being the best thing I like d about this novel), it still shows the traditional side of things, with maybe a tiny bit less emphasis of patricians and their families. Also, thank the Gods that it wasn’t another novel about Cleopatra Selene and Emperor Augustus.
Rating: I’ll be…generous (or cheap, however you look at it) and give it a 3.4 rating. So basically, 68%. Not bad, but not awesome.


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