Monday, August 15, 2011

Eromenos by Melanie McDonald

Eromenos is the story of Antinous. Antinous hails from a small providence in Rome, who meets Hadrian. Soon, Antinous is called to Rome to be Hadrian's next Eromenos, or beloved youth. Life in Rome is full of challenges for the nature loving youth. He learns the hard burden that comes with ruling, as well as the burden of loving the ruler. For seven years, Antinous stays by Hadrian's side as his devoted lover. But the life of power takes it toll on Antinous, who is shaped and molded by the scupltor Emperor Hadrian. Antinous, ever the romantic continues to love the ruler of his heart, life and empire. Antinous knows that his status as Hadrian's eromenos is fast fleeting as he approaches his nineteenth birthday. Antinous must decide who rules his fate, himself or Hadrian.

Melanie McDonald gives the melancholic Antinous a voice that will resonate soundly. Though he was just a boy when he was chosen by Hadrian as a lover, he quickly grew into a man in this story. Navigating the Roman court was no easy task, but Antinous does it with such grace and loyalty that he shines among his brethren. His gentle and loving nature is refreshing. As his wisdom grows, so does his anger and resentment. I was surprised by his anger. Not because it was astounding, but because I felt it and was surprised at how deep it flowed. Even in me. While I knew how Antinous story ended, I loved hearing his voice and seeing the Roman World through his eyes. He has many wise and notable quotes in this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
While this is a rather short book, it is not a fluffy, light read. It is an intense, moralistic book that will leave you thinking. I would like to share some my favorite quotes.
"For how dismaying is it to find oneself buffeted at all times by others' never-ending quests for power, to be forced to witness man's cruelty to man, even prevailed upon to participate in it--when after all, one wanted only to seek out love, truth, beauty, the hidden perfection of Forms."
"Men always believe their own love to be eternal, unchanging, unending, as so men are fools."
"He has defined me to suit himself within the dyad of our relationship; by ascribing to me certain characteristics and virtues, he also has denied me myriad others."
I am participating in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour for this amazing book. I will have a guest post with author Melanie McDonald on August 18th! Check back in for that!!!


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