Fangirl Review: Axios: A Spartan Tale by Jaclyn Osborn

I am Axios of Sparta, and I was born to kill. At age seven, I left home to train with other boys where we were taught obedience, solidarity, military strategy, and how to withstand pain. My harsh upbringing stripped me of my weaknesses and forced me to become strong. Ruthless.

But, I craved something greater—a life I could never have. Against all odds, and the toughest training a warrior could endure, I found an unexpected love in the arms of a fellow Spartan. He was the very air I breathed and the water that sustained me. Fighting side by side with him, we were invincible. Where he went, I followed.

However, there was no place for love in Sparta. Feelings were for the weak. The only life for a Spartan was one of battle and brutality with no guarantee of tomorrow. In times of war, all men were put to the test, but the greatest challenge for us was not one of swords and spears, but of the heart.

"Loyalty. Brotherhood. And love."

There's been buzz over on GR about this book with good reason, so I wanted to share my feels to the non-GRers among you, because this book is stunning, unforgettable and deserving of hype. What I want people to know if you read nothing else of this review is that this is not a sad book! The ending is bittersweet but the book as a whole is gripping, wonderfully entertaining, masterfully written, poignantly insightful and above all else a resplendent love story.

Jaclyn Osborn is a new to me author but she has my attention now. As a history buff I appreciate the research and attention to detail that is evident on every page, in every nuance and her usage of these historical events to weave a timeless love story is what made Axios special to me.

Axios and Eryx forge a bond through trials and tribulations that stands the test of time. But this story is more than the telling of their romance. It's about forming a brotherhood, finding a family and a home amongst them and fighting for each other. They may not believe in the war but they believe in each other and that is why they fight. Trust me when I say the secondary characters are just as well crafted as Axios and Eryx and just as crucial to their story, even the ones that flash through their lives like shooting stars.

Axios is the narrator of this story and we meet him at the tender age of seven after he's been sent to the agoge. Eryx is in his group and they become best friends. I admit I was skeptical when I realized how young they were at the onset but by starting the story while they were but babes Osborn was able to build these characters and their relationship from the ground up. She brings us along to witness their evolution from boys to warriors to men firsthand. It was exhilarating to read.

Both are complex characters that I could go on and on about but what I found most touching was the way they compliment one another. In a different time, in a different place I think Eryx would've been a teacher with his inherent leadership skills and gift for storytelling and Axios an artist of some sort. Axios is a beautiful person, so tenderhearted and kind. Watching him become the warrior he has to be, through no choice of his own, and lose some of his dreamer essence made me doleful. It's not fair but it's his reality, a reality that he must face in order to survive.

However, were circumstances different perhaps he would never have met Eryx and that would've been the real tragedy, because he and Eryx are two sides of the same coin. Jaclyn Osborn made me believe their love defies time and space. If reincarnation exists they will find each other again and again.

If you know nothing of Sparta, know that they were a warrior nation. Their entire society subsisted upon building warriors, a process that begins with conscription at age seven. There is blood and violence. War and all that that entails. It's brutal and heinous and changes them. Friends are lost. Bonds are strengthened. Enemies are felled. But there is always another war looming thus their reprieves are short-lived.

Both are aware every battle they survive could be their last. They know every moment is precious and make the most of them. They live and love to the fullest. They are playful with each other and their friends. Never is there any doubt where their loyalties lie, though. They may fight for Sparta but their first priority is each other.

Osborn was very conscientious of using foreshadowing if you are not a history buff. The tension builds. The handwriting is on the proverbial wall. If you subscribe to the notion that a romance isn't a romance without a traditional HEA, this may not be the book for you. I find myself most affected by these romances. They are the ones that stay with me-The Age of Innocence, The Wings of the Dove, Romeo and Juliet and more recently Amberlough. They speak to me and Axios spoke to me so I'm recommending it to you through this fangirl review.

My thanks to Jaclyn Osborn for writing this sophisticated and memorable story that became, for me, an instant classic. It's the best $4 I've spent in quite some time.

My warrior. My lover. My heart.


  1. You know I went to download this after reading your review right? I HAVE NO TIME TO READ SINCE I HAVE DEADLINES, BUT I *WILL* FIND THE TIME TO GET THIS BOOK INTO MY BRAIN!

    1. LOL! That was my intent! *rubs hands w glee*

      Seriously though, it's so good. I savored every minute of it. It one of those that you can only read for the first time once reads. If that makes any sense at all.

    2. It does! I'm 15% in and I'm loving it. I really like Osborn's writing style too! Great rec OKW. :D

    3. I thought so too! I found it very engaging & sunk right into the period & their story.

      This pleases me greatly.