Friday, January 19, 2018

Review: Blood and Sand (Blood and Sand #1) by C.V. Wyk

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
Blood and Sand
(Blood and Sand #1)
by C.V. Wyk
January 16, 2018
320 pages

Goodreads     Indigo

Goodreads Summary:

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...



Blood and Sand was a grand tale of love and loyalty. Where I initially felt impartial to the book cover it grew on me as I read. I love how it shows off Attia's fierceness. The flame and chaos in the background couldn't be more accurate.

Before Blood and Sand I had yet to read any story set in historical Rome let alone a gender-swapped retelling of Spartacus. Needless to say I was really excited to crack it open. The world-building was abundant and sharp. I really enjoyed stepping into this ancient time. Just a note that there is graphic violence and abuse in the story. They can be unsettling but given the time period and the master and slave statuses they were hard to avoid.

Attia was fearless. Even when she was supposed to be cowed she did not relent. While it was hard to swallow the injustices, Attia made the best of her situations and used them to her advantage. Not only was she loyal and honourable, she was gentle and loving beneath her prickly sometimes harsh exterior. Attia deserved every bit of respect. I have no doubt she'd go to the ends of the world to avenge her fallen loved ones and see justice served.

Romance played a huge motivator in Blood and Sand but it was little in presence. Just enough to form a connection and for the intensity between Attia and Xanthus to show. Neither one wanted any attachments but it was impossible to ignore their growing feelings. "They lived amidst ugliness, but between them there was light." (ARC, p. 179). The two of them stood for goodness even if so much bad stood in their way.

While not quite a cliffhanger ending, Blood and Sand does leave one wondering (Could Xanthus really be gone?) and eager for more (I can't wait to see Attia burn her way through Rome!). I will be here patiently awaiting the epic showdown that's bound to happen in the sequel, Fire and Ash!
4 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


  1. I've seen this one around a couple times, but I didn't know anything about it until your review! I had no idea this was a gender swapped Spartacus retelling, but that sounds amazing! I LOVE Spartacus! I'm not sure how I feel about it being a YA retelling though... Great review!

    1. Thanks Tracy! I'm so happy you're excited! It's YA but the author does a great job telling the story. She definitely doesn't tone down on the brutality of slave life and such. I hope you give this book a try :)

  2. Never seen this one around but it sounds pretty darn good! I want to give it a try!

    1. Yesss do it!! It's a pretty fantastic retelling ;D

  3. YES I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL TO THIS BOOK and I'm happy you enjoyed this one as well! I adored the romance (IF XANTHUS ISN'T IN THE SEQUEL IMMA BE MAD) and the brutal and intense action scenes. SUCH a hit for me. Wonderful review!

    - Aila @ One Way Or An Author

    1. This book is totally underrated! I hope more people pick it up before the sequel comes out so they can suffer with us, oops I mean enjoy the excellent story! ;)


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