‘Blood and Sand’ by C.V. Wyk was bloody amazing.
Synopsis: Attia is a princess but she is also a slave. After watching her people burn to death at the hands of a Roman general, Attia swears vengeance whilst being gifted to the Champion of Rome; the best gladiator, Xanthus. However, Xanthus is not what Attia expected and the bond they form is unexpected but strong.
I could easily imagine all the places I was taken to in this book. Whether that is down to Wyk’s incredibly writing skills or if it’s because I am familiar with the Roman setting, is completely up for debate. One thing I found though is that none of this book was difficult to understand or comprehend. I wanted to visit the Roman scene so bad that I felt like the story was sucking me in. I felt submerged in the sand. I’m not sure if I can hold out until 2019 for the continuation of this story. I need the sequel as much as I need air to breathe.
So let’s talk about my baby. Xanthus. Actually… the wound is still too fresh, I’ll come back to this sugar muffin later. Attia is one bad-ass. I loved her tenacity(?) and courage to stand up to her overbearing Romans and I found her an entirely likeable character. That escape scene at the beginning was what hooked me and I desperately wanted more of her. I found her deliberately shitting up her chores hilarious even though it was extremely immature. Also, she’s a warrior princess, literally, what more could you want? I don’t remember her looks being mentioned much which I LOVED because that made it all about her presence and skills. The bond that Xanthus and Attia develop was natural. They’re both slaves and despite one being favoured more than the other, they both seemed to settle into their new arrangements. Okay, I should probably brave the subject now… Xanthus, my baby. I was not ready. I won’t give everything away butt I have HOPE. He’s an easy character to love. He’s empathetic, strong, loyal, careful, thoughtful etc. He’s everything I want in a partner and more. Hello, new book boyfriend!
I wasn’t even 20% in when I though that this book reminded me of the films Gladiator and Pompeii and it gave me the sudden urge to watch them both immediately. I thought Gladiator because of all the fighting and the general way the killing sport was portrayed but also because of the way Xanthus felt about his job. Pompeii came to mind as Xanthus mentioned he originated from Britannia (same origins as Kit Harrington’s character in the film). Not even 40% later, I learned that all the characters would be making their way to Pompeii. It was at this point that I knew my heart would break. Also, Spartacus?! Wow.
I am so, so, SO glad that I was able to read this exciting, fast paced, emotional book. I laughed, I cried (I mean, we all know what happened in Pompeii…) and I was torn between finishing the book to satisfy my need to know what happens and putting it away because I didn’t want it all to end. This book was amazing and I loved every moment of it. 2019 needs to be now!
“She wanted to run and run until her breath was spent, until the ashes of her bones mingled with those of her people.”
I received this in Illumicrate’s ‘Rise Up’ February box.
You can get it here