Echoes of Germania by H. B. Ashman

Echoes of Germania by H. B. Ashman; book cover

I requested a free copy of Echoes of Germania on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to both Netgalley and the author.

Rating and reviewing Echoes of Germania is incredibly hard for me. I really, really wanted to like it, but I didn’t. I’ve got so many thoughts about it, and sadly few are positive.

A young woman from Germany is sent back to ancient Roman times. She’s captured and enslaved by a Roman legion, that is trying to put down a revolt of Germanic tribes. One of the main players turns out to be Arminius, the hero of the Teutoburg Forest.

My Opinion of Echoes of Germania:

While I did like the premise of the story, some things ruined it completely for me. One of them was historical accuracy: I’m certainly not an expert in Roman military history, but I had to raise an eyebrow at several points. Maybe I’m nitpicking, but I read historical fiction because I enjoy reading about history. Nobody is perfect, but obvious inaccuracies ruin the whole story for me.

I grew to hate the main character, Amalia. For a young woman from the 21st century, it is amazingly easy for her to adapt to ancient Roman life, especially during a military campaign! I’d expected her to be scared, even terrified (I would be), confused and desperate to get back. It gets mentioned a couple of time that she’s scared and misses her family, but the way she acts made me feel, like she doesn’t really care.

Her ability to speak (or learn how to speak) Latin is amazing. When she first encounters Roman soldiers she confuses basic verbs, but only a couple of pages later, she’s completely fluent. On the one hand, she knows more about Latin than some modern scholars, but on the other hand, she’s never heard of Germanic mythology. It doesn’t make sense to me. She manages to help the Romans with building, and even trains some of them in Judo. Again, it was just too much for me and hard to believe.

I was quite interested in the storylines that weren’t about Amalia. But if I’ve got such huge problems with the main character, I can’t really enjoy the story. It’s a shame because I liked some of the authors, I liked their scheming, their personalities. Had Amalia been more convincing, I might have enjoyed reading Echoes of Germania.

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