Blog Tour: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

Today I'm kicking off the tour for an exciting new series: Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk! Check out my review and then enter the giveaway for your own copy of Blood and Sand!

Rating: 4 stars
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: young adult historical fantasy romance action adventure
Format/Source: ARC, from the publisher
Status: Book 1 of the Blood and Sand duology

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour. This does not affect the content of my review.


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.

Okay, well, first of all, let me just say that I read Blood and Sand thinking it was a standalone, and then the end DESTROYED me so I am super glad it's actually a duology. Because guys. Guys? Guys. Just... wowza.

Blood and Sand doesn't just end with a bang (like, a REALLY big bang), it starts with one and pretty much keeps going. Attia is a warrior princess from a kingdom destroyed by the Romans, and, being pretty unhappy being sold as a slave, she kicks her master's ass, his gladiator trainer's ass, and the ass of a whole bunch of soldiers. I love in-the-zone warrior Attia, how bold and brave she is, but I also love seeing her softer side come out. It takes a while because she's a slave who naturally trusts no one around her, but in moments with Xanthus, lost in memories of her father and her friends, with Rory, readers can witness the hidden gentle side of Attia. And it was interesting to see Attia in comparison to Xanthus, who is basically marshmallow fluff that has been trained into a killing machine. Whereas Attia is more of a warrior girl by nature AND nurture who just happens to have a softer side for people she doesn't want to murder, Xanthus would rather not murder ANYONE, but he doesn't exactly have a choice. Xanthus is a total softie for his gladiator brothers and Attia, yes, but he also has great compassion for the slaves and gladiators he's forced to face in the arena. I always say I want more religious characters in YA so it was great for me to see this battle-worn man-boy praying over his opponents.

For the most part, I also really loved the secondary characters. Xanthus's brothers at arms are HILARIOUS. I got really worried for a moment during a battle when one of the six was missing. I started panicking because I Just Knew he was going to be dead (look. You can't have a novel about a large group without killing someone off. I know how these things work). But then he's totally fighting two guys at once while eating a turkey leg or something ridiculous. And then he's MAD because the other gladiators scared off his foes and stole his meat and then dropped it on the ground. Like, come ON. How am I not supposed to love these absurd derpy boys?? And Ennius, the freeman who now trains the gladiators. Man, I just wanna give him a hug and also some crutches. But I like that there are still plenty of speaking female characters, each of whom is strong in their own way. From Lucretia, who is a kept woman (trigger warning to all who read the book because Lucretia deals with a great deal of abuse. It's not on-page, but it is discussed), and Sabina, another slave who has many secrets, to sweet scene-stealing Rory and her mother Valeria, a high-blooded woman with a mysterious past, there are a lot of women who I really want to learn more about.

I don't want to say too much about the story because there are a few twists that took me by surprise. I can normally see twists coming a mile away, but I found myself surprised a couple times, which was unexpectedly nice. However, I will say that I wanted more. I don't mind instalove, but even I was taken aback how quickly and deeply Attia and Xanthus bonded. I think if we'd had a few more scenes with them before they start to care so deeply for one another, I would have been happy. The relationship seemed to change rather abruptly. I also very much want to know more about Lucius, Valeria, and Rory. Their family drama was only barely touched on, and it seems important. Thankfully there's a second book, but I feel like there could have been more.

Blood and Sand has a ton of action, a lot of political intrigue, and just enough romance to keep a reader like me (cause I gots to have kissing) happy. If you aren't a fan of romance, you should still give Blood and Sand a shot because I promise, kissing scenes are few and far between and short besides. But there IS a lot of fighting and a lot of drama. This is a really promising start, and I'm already dying for book 2!

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About the Author:
C. V. Wyk graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in English Literature and European History. Blood and Sand is her first novel. Born in Los Angeles, California, she now lives in Maryland. Look for her online on Twitter and Tumblr.

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Tor Teen has provided 3 hardcovers to be sent to 3 winners in the US or Canada. You must be 12 years or older to enter.

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  1. I love strong female characters in my YA. This book, especially now that you said the ending is so awesome, is on my 2018 TBR. Can't wait!

  2. I have read maybe one or two about gladiators. I'm always looking for books that take me out the usual. I just finished This Mortal Coil and it had some twists that got me. Sounds like this one may have some as well. Love it when a book throws me off.