Friday, 16 February 2018

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


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.

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I first came across this book on Cait's blog Paper Fury. Her review really intrigued me and I wanted to pick it up ever since. So, I bought the e-book in the beginning of the month and I'm so glad I did!

I loved Attia! She is a wonderful character that reminded me so much of Mia from the Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff. Both characters have witnessed the executions of their fathers and swear to avenge them. Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff was the first book I read this year and there were so many comparisons to this book. The main characters have similar goals and both books are about gladiators. I can't quite decide if this is a positive or a negative aspect in my review of Blood and Sand. If I had to choose between these two series, I would definitely pick The Nevernight Chronicle, but Blood and Sand was good in its own right too. I probably should have put more time between reading both books. On the other hand, if you are looking for a similar read to Godsgrave, you definitely should give Blood and Sand a chance! 

Rory is another fantastic character that I wish I could hug so many times throughout the story. Rory is a very young girl and Attia's assignment is to be her nursemaid. I really enjoyed reading Attia's interactions with Rory and how they kind of became friends.

This book is told in dual perspectives and though Xanthus's point of view is interesting, I much preferred Attia's. I kept speeding through my Xanthus chapters because in the end, not that much happened in them that could not have been told through Attia's perspective as well.

The secondary characters could have been developed better. We barely get any information about the villains of the story and the other slaves are interesting and I really liked them but I would have loved more interaction with them.

I felt that this book was too short and because of that underdeveloped at times. Some things were drawn out and other scenes were too quick. In addition, I would have liked to see more character development and a stronger world building (not that this was bad, I just wanted a little more). I believe all these minor issues could have been solved if the book was longer and the author took more time to explore all these elements.

The romance was completely unrealistic. Attia and Xanthus go from distrust to love so quickly without any real foundation. I don't like that I would have much preferred a slowly developed romance or even no romance at all.

Then there is Lucius and from the start I had the feeling that the author was striving for a love triangle. Nothing of the sort has been established in this book, but I do get the vibe this might become true in the sequel. We'll see.

In the end, I did really enjoy this book and I definitely want to read the sequel. All things considered, I gave this book 4 stars. If you are looking for a quick fantasy read with lots of great action scenes and a revenge arc, this is the book for you!

Have you read this book or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

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  1. I think it sounds like a good read minus the rushed love between Attia and Xanthus. Glad you were able to enjoy it still. ☺

    1. Thanks! That was definitely my main issue.

  2. I like that you compared it a little to Godsgrave but the romance would probably put me off. Great review!

  3. I don't like it when they rush the romance but this does seem like it would be a good read. I love the cover and it is on my list to read.

    1. Same here, but the rest of the story was enough to keep me going. I hope you'll enjoy it too!