Sunday, February 4, 2018

Review: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Blood and Sand
(Untitled #1)
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Hardcover, 320 pages, Tor Teen
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction


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...

My Review

Spartacus as a 17-year-old girl sounds far-fetched, right? Well, it’s totally not in C.V. Wyk’s new YA novel.

Attia was the princess of Thrace. She was meant to rule after her father, but once the Romans invade, she loses everything. And then, she’s meant to be the bed-slave to Xanthus, the champion gladiator of Rome.

Honestly, though, does that not sound like an epic YA synopsis in and of itself? Add to all of that the fact that Attia is kicking butt throughout the book and there are secrets and intrigue throughout, and you get a pretty fantastic YA.

Honestly, I only have a few minor complaints. One of which was the side characters, especially the other gladiators. I just didn’t get a lot of personality from them, so it was hard to remember who was who.

Also, the two protagonists got attached to each other very quickly considering the length of the time in which this story is supposed to take place. I think fifty or so more pages could have just been dedicated to expanding on Xanthus and Attia’s relationship. However, it definitely wasn’t an insta-love scenario, so no worries there. Other than those two details, there’s a particular scene in the book that launches “Spartacus” that just felt strange to me, but once things got rolling more, I was able to flow through it.

Although I’ve been nitpicking, please keep in mind that I flew through this book like crazy! I couldn’t put the thing down! Each of the two main characters were strong in their own ways, and not necessarily just physically. I know a little about Spartacus and Ancient Rome (most of my knowledge comes from TV shows and one or two class lessons in high school), but even that knowledge didn’t help me to try to figure out what was going to happen throughout the book. And that cliffhanger was just brutal! I really need book two, preferably RIGHT. NOW.

*Note: I borrowed an ARC of this book from work. This in no way affected my opinion/review.


  1. I do want to read this one. I didn't know that it ended with a cliffhanger though. I may just have to wait for the next book to be released before starting this one. Glad you enjoyed this one as much as you did.

    1. Yeah, I'd wait. Maybe buy it now though. Just because it's good. ;)


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