FORGED IN BATTLE...
FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA...
A LEGEND WILL RISE
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...
Well. This book is the perfect example of a three star read.
BLOOD AND SAND was by no means a bad book. There was plenty that I liked about it. The two POV characters were really fun to read, and I feel like they stood well on their own(more on that later). The story was interesting enough. The pacing was great. I liked the writing, and there were moments where the author's sense of humor really resonated with me.
The problem is that none of those things made Blood and Sand stand out for me. I finished it about a week ago and I'm already having trouble remembering the names of characters. So not only was this book unremarkable for me, but it also had flaws that made it even less enjoyable.
Now, I do think part of MY issue with this story is that I loathe most history, so I had no clue who Spartacus was going into this. I keep thinking that maybe if I knew more about what I was getting into then maybe I would have enjoyed it more?? All I know is that I didn't feel a connection to this story. It was interesting, and had some fun moments, but it never really truly grabbed me and held on.
Going back to the characters, I enjoyed them- on their own. I never once bought the relationship between Attia and Xanthus. Way too much insta-lovey, "I just met you but I would die for you" kind of stuff going on for my tastes. I feel like a lot of their relationship building moments happened off the page, which doesn't help me as the reader at all because then I'm stuck with being told how into each other they are and I'm not given any OTP-worthy material to work with.
And now we come to the plot. Again, it was good enough, I guess. But I won't remember any of it six month from now, other than one cool twist at the end maybe. Even the climax felt lack-luster to me.
Overall, I'm thinking maybe BLOOD AND SAND just wasn't for me. I would recommend it to fans of Nevernight or An Ember in the Ashes. And I say if you read the synopsis and think it sounds interesting, give it a try. It's by no means a bad book, and I know other people who really enjoyed it. I'll definitely be checking out the sequel, FIRE AND ASH, in 2019.