Author: Kayla Jameth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 324 Pages
At a Glance: Brilliant sequel with great characters and an immersive story.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Lured by seductive promises, Andreas risked his life to be with Theron, only to find himself betrayed. Abandoned and alone, Andreas resigns all hope of seeing his fierce warrior again and resumes his life as a helot.
All too aware of the harsh punishment Sparta demands of men who love other men, Theron reluctantly surrenders Andreas in hopes of keeping him safe. The warrior returns to Sparta to embrace his destiny in place of the helot he has grown to see as a man, not just a slave. Cold but honorable duty will be his new lover.
Duty proves to be a jealous lover when Sparta demands the final test of Theron’s loyalty. Sent to kill Andreas, Theron must find a way to come to terms with his burning desire for his handsome helot before their forbidden love destroys them both.
Review: First of all, if you haven’t read the first book in this series, A Spartan Love, you absolutely must. The events of this book are set a few months after the events of the first book, and while the author does give some background information, it really isn’t enough for new readers. For those already familiar with the storyline, it will be enough to remind you of previous events without taking you out of the story.
At the start of the book, Andreas and Theron have been separated. Both men are hurting from the absence of the other, but they are convinced that it is the only way they can live. Andreas knows what he had shouldn’t have been possible as a helot, and so he goes about trying to return his life to normal. Theron, on the other hand, is returning to Sparta to participate in the Krypteia as one of the kryptes who will kill the helots that must die to prevent war in Sparta. When Theron receives his list, he is horrified to find Andreas’ name on the list. What is he to do? As a kryptes, it is his duty to do as he is ordered, but after the death of Lysander and Coridan’s exile, how can he follow through with it?
I absolutely loved this book, and if I ever get to meet the author in person, I will very likely ask if I can hug her. This series is meticulously researched. Kayla Jameth opens the book with information on Sparta, giving readers a historical context for her story, and she ends with a glossary of characters and terminology used liberally throughout the novel. I think that’s what honestly makes the book so good. The words are used in context, making it feel so authentic. Jameth also includes chapters with gods and goddesses as actual figures that intervene in the lives of humans, just as the ancient Greeks would have believed them to be. Rather than feeling like fantasy, again, it just felt authentic. I enjoyed watching Apollo orchestrate his moves while Theron and Andreas went about their lives, just trying to get by without much notice.
The angst in this book is high, but understandably so, and Theron’s once cocksure attitude has dimmed a bit because he’s grown as a man. He no longer is the young kryptes who believes every helot can be killed whenever he feels like it. Instead, helots are people with names and families and dreams of their own. This realization causes him to lose his footing at times and hesitate in his duties, which I felt showed true growth in his character.
Along with the main characters and the gods, the shield-brothers of Theron add more interest to the story. They have their own mission to find out who betrayed Lysander and Coridan, and they will do anything to avenge their fallen brother and save the one in exile from being hunted down by other Spartans.
There will clearly be a third book in this series, and I honestly cannot wait to read it. I will also say that I will be adding this book to my shelves as soon as it is available in paperback, just as I did with the first in the series, A Spartan Love. And while I wait for book three to come out, I guess I’ll just have to content myself with rereading the first books.
You can buy A Tested Love here:
About the Author: Kayla Jameth grew up on the family farm in Ohio. An unrepentant tomboy, she baled hay, raised cattle, and her father taught her to weld before she graduated from high school.
She attended Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University and later, Texas A&M University in her pursuit of veterinary medicine, taking her far away from her rural roots.
But it wasn’t all hard work for her, her sojourn as the princess of the Celestial Kingdom left her with the title “Sir” and a costume closet the envy of many knights, lords, and ladies.
After declaring for years that she was not an author, Kayla now finds herself writing m/m erotic romance outside of Houston, Texas. While you can take the girl out of the country, you can’t turn her into a city slicker. Kayla would still rather be outside getting down and dirty with the boys.
She shares a full house with her favorite animals: a cat, two guinea pigs, a gerbil, three guppies, as well as her husband, son, and daughter.
My stories range from a Samurai Champloo slash fanfic to contemporaries to a Cinderfella and even a series set in ancient Greece.
I can be reached at KaylaJameth@hotmail.com.
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