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  • Skaia
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars10
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on July 22, 2011
Skaia is the story of a young Gaul abducted from his homeland to serve in Rome as a slave. Sold to a wealthy Roman family, his red hair and good looks attract the attention of family's patriarch. Thaddeus is a proud man, mindful of his place in society. Intrigued by Skaia's looks and spirit, he gives the young slave to his son, Glaucus. The two boys grow up together, developing a deep bond of affection - too deep for Thaddeus' comfort. The bond is severed when Glaucus reaches adolescence and embarks on an important rite of manhood for noble young Roman males, a lengthy tour of the Empire. Thaddeus assumes ownership of Skaia in his son's absence, determined to mold Skaia into his vision of the perfect slave.

This clash of wills gives Skaia much of its emotional impact. As a slave, Skaia has no power to defy his autocratic master. In spite of slavery's crushing oppression, he nonetheless retains a core of strength which, all too often, puts him in conflict with a man who will tolerate none. Yet Thaddeus is not a monster, merely a product of his time and culture, and he slowly, reluctantly, begins to change. With the change, a new bond develops, one that may prove deeper and more challenging for Skaia than the one he treasures with Glaucus.

Ayden and I share a publisher and a friendship, so this review is not completely without bias. That said, I find her writing to be tight and her characters three-dimensional and believable. The supporting cast is equally well-rounded. I'm not an expert on ancient Rome - far from it - but Ayden's settings and the politics swirling around the main action felt realistic to me.

Ayden writes in third-person omniscient (or third-person multiple). It's a style I'm not terribly fond of, to be honest, but she transitions from one viewpoint to another sparingly so I didn't find it as disconcerting as I usually do. Certain parts of Skaia may be difficult for some people to read, e.g., scenes of rape, violence or dubious consent. Those who take offense at the idea of a slave loving a master should probably steer clear. For the rest of us, Skaia is immersive and satisfying. If you're looking for a way to escape the tedium of reality for awhile, this is a damned good one.
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on February 16, 2012
It's a long book (which I LOVE) and you get the chance to really get involved in all the characters' lives. The main character is called Skaia. He was bought, at age 9, by a Roman named Thaddeus to give to his 7 year old son, Glaucus. Glaucus is supposed to use Skaia as a friend but, primarily, as a slave. And, as he grows, he is allowed to use Skaia in any which way he chooses including as a sexual object. They grow up together and love each other and Glaucus insists on educating Skaia (which is unusual in slaves). Sadly for Skaia Thaddeus (and his father, Paulinus) realize that Glaucus is becoming too attached to Skaia and that he's treating him more like an equal than a slave.

When Glaucus reaches 17 he is supposed to leave to go and learn his way in the world and had been hoping to take Skaia with him (and had made Skaia think that this could actually happen so Skaia was excited). Unfortunately for Glaucus and Skaia this was not possible. Although using male slaves as sexual objects is acceptable in Roman society they aren't supposed to be friends with Roman nobility. Glaucus gave too much thought to Skaia's feelings and paid him too much attention and Thaddeus had to put a stop to this. So Glaucus leaves with his two friends and Skaia stays behind and is tortured. Thaddeus wants to break Skaia. He's exceptionally cruel to Skaia.

I really got immersed in the story and I laughed and cried (several times now) throughout the book. So many cruel moments and a few truly sad and emotional scenes. It's a lovely book and I feel so bad for the role that slaves played in society back in that time. I wish this book would never end. I know the author has not had anything else published and that's odd because she's a good writer and this book was published years ago.
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on January 18, 2012
Becca Abbott's summary is spot on, so I won't belabor by re-summarization. Sadari has a deft hand with point-of-view that allows the reader to see multiple perspectives easily; it is a difficult style in which to write and can be quite difficult to read when written by a lesser author. Skaia is quite easy to read; I read the work in one sitting despite its 500 plus pages. These multiple viewpoints are necessary in Skaia because of the intricate themes below the surface of the plot: definitions of love, the responsibilities of being part of the ruling class, the responsibilities of being part of a conquered people, the varied perceptions and realities of slave/master relationships, etc. Any one of these might be a reason to read and enjoy the book. However, I believe that the concept about definitions of love is probably the most enriching aspect of Skaia. As a character, Skaia is very young when he is taken into Thaddeus's home, so his viewpoint adapts as his perceptions of his situations adapts. In addition, Thaddeus and his family also are forced to confront aspects of the treatment of slaves, the varied ways one might feel toward a slave, the perception of society when one appears to care "too deeply" for a slave, etc. However, one should not go into the book thinking that Skaia creates a sea-change within the family that causes the entire system of slavery to revolt. On one hand, many modern books might develop into that, and elements of this work connect to that theme, but the book also stays close to the reality of the situation: Skaia belongs to the family. His existence and that of others do have the opportunities to alter perceptions and actions within that family greatly, and the microcosmic view taken in the book is more realistic and more effective than if the work suddenly became magical reality. The emotions are so rich and intriguing: Skaia's different reactions and experiences with Glaucus and with Thaddeus, his continued hope of a reconnection with Glaucus, Thaddeus's history with the perception of being too fond of a slave, his father's own long-term relationship with a slave, Thaddeus and Skaia's mingled and opposing emotions about the return of Glaucus, and Skaia's constantly developing self-perception about the way he is viewed and his role in the world all wrap together to create a rich story. This is an excellent and enriching tale. The reason for four stars rather than five is because some readers will find Skaia's injuries more brutal than they might wish for the title character. However, the trials Skaia goes through make the journey and the end all the more powerful and beautiful.
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on April 3, 2013
Warning: this story contains explicit nonconsensual sex, whippings, and other punishments as one would associate with slavery. It is a story about the life of a slave, and protrays the master-slave relationship with sensitivity and acuity. The book is over 11,000 kindle locations, and covers several decades of the lives of its characters, although of course focusing on particular interactions. I found it very well written - and emotional reading - it made me cry more than once. And while at times very dark, the narrative was always intensely gripping, and I lost almost a whole night of sleep because I couldn't put it down. Wish there were more books like this.
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on July 25, 2012
I must admit I was wary of buy this novel with some of the comments, but I absolutely loved it. I think this book has a sort of realism that some books lack. Skaia did not always have a happy life and never an easy one and his love did not alwaysreturn the sentiment or as kind to him, but these characters were realistic with depth and as you read on you can 't help but love the family and become completely engrossed in the story. This book is by far worth the money.
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on August 24, 2011
Guess I should add a caveat. It's excellent IF you enjoy realistic portrayals of Roman society.

Romans could be cruel and downright malicious to slaves. Skaia embraces this aspect - as well as the kindness some masters showed.

The only thing that is possibly inaccurate (spoiler alert) is Skaia's more-or-less happy ending. Must admit I had become very fond of Skaia by the end and was very glad that his dreams were not all squashed

I found the writing style and the rich charaterization especially appealing.
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on June 29, 2012
I must be missing something because after reading this book I'm left feeling sick and sadden....how can this be romance (forget the spoiler alerts!!!) some of the things Skaia is made to do by these two men is sick.....and I find it really hard to believe that after being made to eat your own vomit not once but three times Skaia end's up having this great love for his tormentor. I understand the author's theme but she went too far and it's not only the dubious sex and full out rape(which when done right is dare I say enjoyable) but also having Skaia treated like I wouldn't even treat a rabid dog. If romance is what your looking for this isn't it.
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on October 6, 2014
I have never written a book review before, but this book impressed me so much I felt I had to write this review. While Skaia was difficult to read at the beginning because of the cruelty he was shown, I kept reading and I am so glad I did. The characters were so believable and (spoiler alert) the transition Thadeus underwent from cruelty to love was so gradual it made the story so believable. I was sorry the book ended as I became so fond of both Skaia and Thadeus. I wish Ayden would write another similar book, because he/she is a very talented author. I highly recommend this sensitive, wonderful novel.
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on July 10, 2014
Very entertaining read, sexy, realistic (for the time period) and a total must read for m/m bdsm or romance genre book lovers.

I may read it again!
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on September 5, 2015
This novel was a very difficult read. It makes you through some serious feels, but in the end, it's all worth it. Seriously, I cried reading it. I love poor Skaia so much and wish he was never ever considered a slave in the first place. He's just such a precious child. <3
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