Breaker of Horses by Sineala (PG-13)

  • Sep. 11th, 2015 at 3:45 PM
Title: Breaker of Horses
Fandom: Marvel comics (616, main continuity)
Pairing: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Categories: slave fic, AU, drama, romance, angst
Length: Epic [47943 words]
Warnings: interspecies romance between human and centaur

Author on LJ: [livejournal.com profile] sineala
Author Website: Sineala's AO3

Review:
Author’s Summary: What do you do when the Roman Empire you were raised to love consigns you to the sands of the arena? Antonius is a prince of the Dacians, captured in war and sold as a gladiator. He yearns for his freedom. Stephanos -- the last living centaur -- is his fellow slave and trainer. Centuries old, disillusioned by a Rome that has become a shadow of itself, Stephanos has all but given up on life... until he meets Antonius, and both of their lives are forever changed.


This is an amazing story that was written for this year’s Reverse Bang over at the [livejournal.com profile] cap_ironman community and was inspired by some amazing artwork of gladiator!Tony and centaur!Steve. I might preface this with the fact that I’m not usually good with AU’s that radically change the setting like this, but this fic totally won me over and intrigued me from the get go. It’s hard to write a setting like this convincingly and at the same time keep this characters who they are and [livejournal.com profile] sineala does justice to both. She puts so many awesome details about Roman culture in there and then manages to sneak in the comic references right in on top of that. I think my favorite thing how Stephanos’ story parallels Steve’s super soldier history.

It’s a wonderful adventure story with some nice action and fight scenes (and it’s obvious how much research about gladiators went into those), but even more than this it’s the story of “Antonius”, who very much still is Tony at the heart of it, from privileged childhood to the pit of the arena and his fight against having his freedom and dignity taken from him, making friends (which involves meeting "Avengers" in gladiator guise) and who doesn't give in to circumstances. The romance is a delicious and wonderful cherry on top. The emotional scenes are vibrant and hit me right where it hurt sometimes and the character arcs that unfold in the story alone are making this a worthy read. The angsty themes are running high with this one, which with the themes of slavery and fights to the death in the arena isn’t surprising. But there are also quieter scenes of friendship and blossoming, uncertain romance to balance that out.

And above all it’s just so well written.

As the author points out the fic contains no centaur/human sex, so this doesn’t need a right out bestiality warning. There is the interspecies romance and kissing, though, that not everyone might enjoy. Those who are here for the xenoromance though might be glad to know that the relationship is consummated in a NC-17 sequel fic.

Breaker of Horses


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