Title: Blood and Sand
Author: C. V. Wyk
Series: Untitled #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication date: January 16th, 2018
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…
“After all, no man chooses his own name. Why should he be any different? He wasn’t in Britannia; he was in the Coliseum.
The trumpets were blaring, and it was time to fight.”
HOLY CRAP THIS BOOK WAS INCREDIBLE! Ever since I first read its premise, I knew I had to read it once it came out. I haven’t read many books that take place in Rome or are about gladiators, but I was pretty much sold. Only later I realised that it was supposed to be a Spartacus re-imagined. Oh, well, let me add some extra kudos to that.
Now I can only judge based on my experience. I know a few things about Rome and the roman empire. I studied them when I was at school (a ver loong time ago), and even though the author created her own twist on the story and some events (she actually said that at the beginning of the novel and in the author’s note at the end), it was so well done. It was raw, and she didn’t sugarcoated anything. By the way, let me say first some of the trigger warnings that were in the book, such as slavery, abuse and well, some gore.
“Maybe that was why he hadn’t tried to stop her attack. Maybe that was why she couldn’t bring herself to kill him. Because maybe in this house, in this prison, they both wanted the same impossible thing: to be just a man and just a woman, standing free in the rain.”
I think what made me enjoy this book that much was the cast of characters, but more especifically, the two main ones. They were really strong, but also each of them had their own demons and had been abused at a different period of their lives. But their relationship was so adorable and well done, and not only that but their interactions and developments were actually well executed as well.
It was told in two different perspectives, one being Attia’s and the other Xanthus’, and that made it a lot easier to know their back story, personalities and basically why made them that way. I appreciated that there wasn’t an insta love romance, even though I had to point out that the romance happened a tiny bit fast, but honestly, I didn’t mind it much. It wasn’t the main focus of the story, but I liked it.
I also reaally enjoyed the friendship that was in the novel. I feel like everytime I see a book where girls support and protect each other I start to like it even more, and maybe that’s what happened with Blood and Sand, who knows? But guys, there was such an adorable an beautiful friendship between Attia and the little girl she looked after (and let me tell you that girl was one of the purest, cutest human beings). And not only with her, but also with other women in the book you could see at some point that they tried to protect the other.
“Death is inevitable. That doesn’t mean we should stop fighting.”
And to be honest, even though I knew where the path of the story was going after reading a very remarkable city name, I was still surprised by how powerful and action packed those last scenes were. I loved the last 100 pages; I feel that even though I was enjoying everything before, that kept me on the edge of my seat until I reached the ending.
And OH, THAT ENDING. I cannot believe that I have to wait another year to know what’s going to happen. I don’t care that they included the first chapter of the sequel, I need my answers!
I’m incredibly surprised because this was her debut novel, and not only it was a really solid read, but also I really enjoyed the way it was written. I highly recommend it if you’re midly interested, because it’s one of those books not many people are talking about and everyone should.
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