Series: Blood and Sand #1
Release Date: Tor Teen
Add it: Goodreads
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...
I picked up Blood and Sand because I have a bit of an obsession with the Spartacus TV show. And Ancient Rome, but mostly Spartacus. So when I saw that a Spartacus-inspired YA book was being released I FREAKED. OUT. Blood and Sand isn’t a true story about the historical events that happened during the Third Servile War, but it’s enjoyable and the parallels made me happy.
The main character, Attia, is a Thracian whose entire tribe is killed by the Romans. She is enslaved, and given to a gladiator as a gift. She tries to plan her escape, but she gets attached to said gladiator and things get a little bit complicated.
I enjoyed the story, and I was kept intrigued the entire time, although as always, I didn’t love the romance. I really wish it hadn’t been included, as I felt the relationship was rushed and far too insta-lovey for my tastes. There wasn’t enough time for a true bond to develop.
The ending was the best part of the book, with the high stakes, intense action, and the explosive event that took me by surprise. I liked that Wyk was willing to take chances with these characters, and I sincerely hope that there are no terrible fake-outs that will be revealed in the sequel.
I’m looking forward to reading the second book in this series when it comes out, which will hopefully be next year!