Friday, January 26, 2018

Friday #Review/Blog Tour - Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Untitled # 1
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Romance / Historical

The legendary Spartacus is recast as a fierce female warrior in this action-packed tale of a 17-year-old princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic
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...
From talented debut author C. V. Wyk comes an action-packed, stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire.

Blood and Sand is the first installment and debut release from author C.V. Wyk. Wyk re-images the story of Spartacus, a Thracian gladiator who was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Empire. In this story, Wyk does a gender bender to make Thracian Princess and Maedi Warrior Attia the lead character. Attia was chosen as heir and warrior, but once the Roman's decided to attack and destroy everything in their sight, Attia was taken as a slave as the last remaining Thracian.

Once a warrior, Attia is reduced to a slave sold to a Roman peacock named Timeus, the dominus of a gladiatorial school. Attia's closely guarded identity remains a tightly guarded secret until much further into the story when a secondary character reveals they know who she is. Meanwhile, Attia is given away to Xanthus Maximus Colosus the Champion of Rome. While Attia tries hard to intentionally sabotage every job she is given, Xanthus gives her the space she needs not to be thought of as a piece of meat.

Things are going swimmingly along until she becomes the caretaker of the youngest Timeus, Rory. Xanthus, like Attia, was taken from his home of Britannia 10 years ago. He has faced battle after battle as a gladiator and remained undefeated. He and his brother gladiators wish to one day burn down Rome and attempt to return home. As we meet Xanthus, he is stick of killing and wants it all to end. Which is of course where Attia comes in.

While Attia is doing everything she possibly can to seek out and gain her revenge against those who murdered everyone she knew, Xanthus tries to do everything he can to make sure she doesn't get herself killed in the process. Attia is really a wonderfully written character, and a badass who can really stand on her own. But, I wanted a whole lot more. I loved a particular scene where she really shows her mettle in a battle royal even though she is warned of trouble for herself and everyone else. I wanted more of that. 

Her relationship with Xanthus isn't one of instant love fest. It becomes one of respect, admiration, and mutual experiences with being torn away from their homes and everyone they loved. Xanthus isn't one to ravage anyone against their will which takes Attia sit up and take notice. Plus, Xanthus brothers are all an amazing group that made me laugh. Other secondary characters of notice are Sabina, Lucretia, Rory, and of course Xanthus gladiator brothers. 

The ending really gave me pause, and not because there was anything especially wrong with it. There is a particular series of events that shocked me. Writers are allowed to take chances with their characters and their world building, but this was perhaps the most anxious part of the entire story. I do hope to continue this series. I have to find out how close the author pays to historical events that are supposedly the trademark of the man known as Spartacus. 

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