Book Reviews

#BookReview Circus Maximus: Race to the Death: 1 By Annelise Gray

Thank You very much to the publisher – Zephyr for the review copy.
ISBN13: 9781800240575
Genre: Historical Children’s Fiction (9+ Years)
Release date: 04 03 2021
Price*: Kindle £5.59 (GBP)/  Hardback £9.09 (GBP)
Kindle $N/A (USD)/ Hardback $26.07 (USD)
Pages: ~ 368
My rating: It was awesome!
You can get this book here:
Amazon UK
Bookshop.org
What I learned from this book: Hard work brings great results.

Description of the book: Twelve-year-old Dido dreams of becoming the first female charioteer at the great Circus Maximus. She’s lost her heart to Porcellus, a wild, tempestuous horse she longs to train and race. But such ambitions are forbidden to girls and she must be content with helping her father Antonius the trainer of Rome’s most popular racing team, The Greens and teaching the rules of racing to Justus, the handsome young nephew of the Greens’ wealthy owner. When her father is brutally murdered, she is forced to seek refuge with an unlikely ally. But what of her dream of Circus triumphs and being reunited with the beloved horse she left behind in Rome? And the threat to her life isn’t over as she faces a powerful and terrifying new enemy… the emperor Caligula.

How this book made me feel: To be fear, it was my first attempt at reading a historical children’s book, and I was incredibly impressed. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. 

The protagonist in this book is Dido, a twelve-year-old girl in ancient Rome, and this story is told from her perspective. Dido was raised with horses and chariot racers, and her dream was to become a racer herself. After her father gets murdered, she has to flee Rome to survive. But she left a lot behind, and she will need to return to claim what was hers. I really liked Dido, she is so stubborn and not scared of hard work. I also really admired her self confidence and bravery in a very male-dominated environment. I had a love-hate relationship with some of the characters, I loved the ones that supported Dido, and hated all of those who were cruel to the horses. I really liked the sheer amount of horses in this book, their different personalities and their ability to work so well as a team. They are truly impressive animals. 🙂

The narrative of this book was very fast-paced and very intriguing. There were plenty of turns and unexpected surprises, that I thoroughly enjoyed. This book talks about four factions/teams: Green (everyone’s favourite), Blue (biggest Green’s competitor), White and Red (these teams were the least mentioned in this book). I have to say, that I am a supporter of the Blue faction. 🙂 There are plenty of reasons but if I will tell, it will spoil the reading experience. The topics discussed in this book are chariot racing, cheating in sports, gender power playing, mental health issues, very slight romance, animal cruelty and many more.

I was a little scared to read this book because when I saw the character listing at the beginning of the book, I thought that there will be a very wide variety of characters and I will have difficulty knowing who is who. But I was very wrong indeed. This book is beautifully written and very easy to read. The chapters have medium length, but they just flew by for me, I was very absorbed with this story. I have to throw in a warning, that this book contains animal cruelty, so if anyone is like me, tears and anger will be happening while reading. The ending of this novel rounded this story very nicely, and I can not wait for the next book in this series. 

So, to conclude, the protagonist of this story is very likeable, and I was cheering her all the way till the end. All the characters in this book are very well crafted and delivered, and the plot of this book is fast-paced and absorbing. If you liked “The Black Beauty” or you like horses in general, I think you would enjoy this book as well. So do give it a go, and I hope you will like it as much as I did. 🙂

Thank You for Your time!<3

About the author: Debut children’s author Annelise Gray was born in Bermuda and moved to the UK as a child. She grew up riding horses and dreaming of becoming a writer. After gaining a PhD in Classics from Cambridge, she worked as a researcher for authors and TV companies on topics as varied as Helen of Troy, Russian princesses and the history of labradors. She’s previously published a history of the women of the Roman Empire and a crime novel set in the Roman Republic. Annelise lives with her husband in Dorset where she teaches Latin.

Website: https://www.annelisegray.co.uk / Twitter: @AnneliseGray

*-the price was taken from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com on the current date. The price might change at the time of your purchase. The links used in this post for book purchases are affiliates.

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