ARC Review: Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk

Hi guys! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas full of family, friends, and gifts!

About the BookBlood and Sand


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.


3 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a free signed ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

I had very high expectations for this book because of many reasons: the hype surrounding the novel, the story being set in the Roman Empire (Ancient Rome??? You know I can’t turn that down!), a female warrior being Spartacus, so many action scenes. I was preparing myself to be blown away. Unfortunately, I had the same feelings as I did when I read Stalking Jack the Ripper: I felt so disconnected from the characters and the storyline because the writing style did not draw me in as much as I had hoped to be.

I did love both Attia and Xanthus as characters, and I was very fond of all the action scenes throughout the story. I loved seeing the swords clash, the blood spill, and the tension arise. The author definitely put me on the edge of my seat during those sections–I felt scared for the characters even though my life wasn’t on the line! I also really enjoyed how ancient Rome was the backdrop of the novel; it’s not everyday when you find a historical fiction novel set in the Republic-turning-Empire of Rome.

However, I did not feel very drawn into Blood and Sand. As much as I loved Attia and Xanthus falling in love with each other, the “insta-love” felt too rushed and quick. It was as if overnight they went from nearly wanting to kill each other to protecting each other at all costs–a bit exaggerated in my opinion. I also became really bogged down by all the historical details. Although I love historical fiction, there were so many titles, names, and characters that I became a little confused. The writing style of the book made me feel very detached from it, not allowing myself to be immersed and transported by its prose. It was nice, but for me, it could have been better.

I’m a little sad that this book failed to meet my high hopes, but I think others may enjoy it more than I did. Will I be looking forward to book two? Maybe. If I ever do have the chance to read the sequel Fire and Ash (which does sound intriguing), hopefully it could pull of an A Time to Speak, which means that the sequel blew me away way more than its predecessor. If you love strong female protagonists, action-packed novels, or ancient Rome, then Blood and Sand would be the right fit for you!

Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Are you excited for Blood and Sand? Do you like YA historical fiction?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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3 thoughts on “ARC Review: Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk

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