Gladiator, Joshua Chou
PJ Review Score: 3.5/5
Gladiator is an action, fantasy novel written by Joshua Chou. Chou is a NYU graduate, who intends to make a career out of writing. He loves super-heroes, which is evident in this work. Gladiator, published in 2018, is his first novel.
As you might glean from the book’s title, the book focuses on gladiators – several in particular. The story line is quite entertaining but mostly linear, which means that there aren’t any significant multilateral power struggles. The protagonists and antagonists are mostly clearly defined.
Conan is the main protagonist, who seems to be an ordinary high school kid. It turns out he actually might not be so ordinary after he passes out from falling down a flight of stairs. Conan remains a mysterious character throughout the novel. Even at the end of the novel, the reader can’t really be sure that they know Conan. This could be due to the fact that Conan’s character is never really fleshed out enough. His character lacks some development in some areas. On the other hand, it could be because Gladiator is a part of a series in which Conan’s character develops over time.
Gladiator takes place some time in the future. This is just my best guess, as the actual time period remains undefined throughout the novel. The presence of hover cars and superior weaponry is evidence of the future.
In the beginning and toward the end of the book, the reader learns about the city of Colossus. The story opens with the city being plagued by ‘Third republic’ thugs, and having emerged from a fairly recent war with surrounding ‘city-states.’ The ‘Third republic’ are a gang, or operation of rebels.
As someone who loves delving into novels, and immersing herself in fantastical worlds, I was let down by the lack of attention the writer placed on describing Colossus, and its current relationship with neighboring city-states. Because the city lacked some fundamental descriptions, the story didn’t come alive. At least, not as much as it could have.
I would draw the same conclusions about some periphery characters that appeared in the beginning, and those that remained throughout the novel. So much emphasis was placed on the problems, that not as much attention was given to some details. As a result, there are some lingering questions that are never addressed.
However, the story was good overall, it just did not live up to its full potential. If you’re interested in reading Gladiator for yourself, you can find it on Amazon.