Blood and Sand
by C.V. Wyk
Read: January 4 - 16, 2018
Published: January 16, 2018 by Tor Teen
Category: YA, Ancient Rome, Legends, Retellings, Gladiators,
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Indiebound
FORGED IN BATTLE...
FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA...
A LEGEND WILL RISE
Book Description: The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...
For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.
Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.
Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.
Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...
The story continues in Fire and Ash, coming in 2019 from Tor Teen.
Blood and Sand was thrilling from start to finish! Right away I loved Attia’s strong spirit and refusal to be broken, despite being the sole survivor of the destruction of her people. Then even more, she finds herself sold as property in a slave market. Only things don’t go smoothly at all, and Attia escapes, leading a huge manhunt through the city. Eventually she is recaptured and taken to the home of a Roman Patrician where she is given as a "companion" to his champion gladiator.
Xanthus is the other narrator of this story. Called the Champion of Rome he is a fierce competitor in the Colosseum. By all appearances he is a hardened warrior. But despite Xanthus’s acclaim as a gladiator, he is still a slave too. As a reward for his wins, Xanthus is given Attia by his master. This is an uncomfortable arrangement for both of them, and neither of them expects the connection that they will form with each other.
Below are 5 more exciting things about this book:
1) Blood and Sand has moments of high intensity and action that kept me on the edge of my seat from page one. Attia and Xanthus have been forged by war and survival and loss and rage, and it was thrilling seeing them both in action, especially when they fought together. But this story is also deeply character focused, and getting to know the heart of both Attia and Xanthus in the quieter and even painful moments made this book for me.
2) I adored the romance between these two. Attia and Xanthus are the perfect compliment and despite the horrible situation they are both in, their romance is slowly building and beautiful to watch. It begins through trust, and as they open up to each other, they start to care for each other. Even though they are thrown together against their wills, I could completely understand their connection and why they fell for each other. I’d also like to point out that though there are lots of other males in this story, there is absolutely zero love triangles or drama in that way. No one else even expresses interest in either of them. It was a major relief and honestly, these two didn’t have time for any more angst in their lives.
3) This is an origin story, which I didn’t realize until I got into this book. And it is so clever and fun to see how Spartacus comes to life. I cannot wait for more of her evolution! Also, in general, this book felt well researched and present in Ancient Rome, even though historical events have been shifted around (admittedly by the author).
4) Although the story is very focused on Attia and Xanthus, I also found so many of the secondary characters intriguing. I loved Xanthus’s camaraderie with his gladiator brothers and Attia’s friendship with Rory, while Lucretia’s circumstances were a heartbreaking contrast to Attia’s situation. I’m so curious what becomes of many of the characters, and I’m hoping we get to see more of them in the next book.
5) Thank goodness this is not the end of the story! We are just at the start of Attia’s journey and I cannot wait to see what’s next. Also there are so many unanswered questions and unresolved situations that need to be fleshed out, and some things I'm going to ignore and assume they'll be worked out in the next book. I think my only complaint about this story is that the last 10% of the book moves so quickly, there’s no time to process anything!
I am absolutely freaking out to get the next part of this story!! I cannot wait to find out what’s coming for Attia and co.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Medium - More with anticipation than any immediate danger