Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
Publication: January 16th, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
FORGED IN BATTLE…
FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA…
A LEGEND WILL RISE
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…
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for allowing me to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
One of my favorite genres is historical fiction. On top of that, I love a historical fiction that is based on a true event, not just a time period. The novel, Blood and Sand, is both. The story is set in the time period of the rise of the Roman empire, Greek and Roman turmoil, Spartacus, and Pompeii. Except not exactly. Wyk has a way of making this story really feel ancient but giving it those wonderful flares authors have. Some people felt this novel was slow but for me it was perfect. It had the right amount of epic chapters and slower chapters to keep me turning the pages. In Blood and Sand, we follow the story of Attia and Xanthus both are Greek slaves to a Roman master who bought them after their homes were slaughtered by the Roman empire. Xanthus became the most famous and lethal gladiator in Rome for many years. Attia is recently bought as a “gift” for the champion gladiator. She is a warrior princess from Thrace but no one knows who she is and she must keep it that way. As the story progresses more blood is shed and these two slaves must fight for their freedom. This story was truly a surprise but in such a great way. I am highly anticipating the sequel because the literal cliffhanger has me on edge (pun intended).
Attia is so fierce and bloodthirsty but she has a heart of gold for those she considers a loved one. She cuts down her enemies and doesn’t even bat an eye and from the moment we meet her we see how this girl won’t go down without a fight. But we also get to see softer sides to Attia especially with the child Rory and your heart will melt. Xanthus is the biggest and most lethal…teddy bear. Honestly, he is so soft but when he has to fight for those he loves literally get out of his way. These two together are magic of fire and fluffy pillows. The side characters all had such personality and they were interesting people.
The writing was really amazing for a debut author. She kept me intrigued and on my toes. The grittier and more violent parts of the novel were vivid and grotesque like any story about war and turmoil should be. I loved that the author didn’t shy away from the rougher part of history. Even though it has a romance subplot the story and the main plot was not sugar-coated. The events of Pompeii felt real and you felt the loss of so many people. The author had me completely hooked from page one.
As I stated, there is a romance subplot but it is so minimal that you forget about it sometimes in the midst of the harsher times in the story. I loved it so much and the slow burn of it. But, I really loved how the author kept both Attia and Xanthus in character in through the romance. They didn’t forget their troubles or say screw it to their revenge plans that they both had just because they found love. Attia still kept her warrior ways and Xanthus still kept his gladiator ways. That was something that I really appreciated because they both never got lost in each other but they found another reason to keep fighting instead.