C.G. Drews's Reviews > Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
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really liked it
bookshelves: 4-star, historical-fiction, read-2018, young-adult

Oh wow this was definitely an explosion of bloody sand and people shouting, "SPARTACUS" and waving swords around. Epic, my man, epic. I actually really like this gender-bending of historical books (like And I Darken!) and I wish for 501 more of them (like someone please make Alexander the Great a woman yessss) and this was so much fun! And also frikkin' devastating. Just in case you thought were all here to have a good time.

We are here to have our fEELS ATTACKED TOO. Dammit.

(Also the author's note underlines that this isn't 100% pure historical fiction, I mean, obviously Spartacus is a woman, but also there's some playing around the corners of historical accuracy. But like, if you weren't back chillin' in 79 AD how do you even really know what went down anyway, hmm?)

+ So HI we have Rome and Gladiators and slaves and stabbing.
Absolutely a recipe for an epic book or a caesar salad! So exciting! I've read books like this before so it didn't hit me as "new" or anything, but the characters were super winning and I basically didn't want to put it down. Also it smelled good. I don't know if that counts for a good book, but it should. There's a lot of violence but I don't think it was graphic. Although it DEFINITELY doesn't shy away from the realer side of Rome. Conquests were not chill. It talks about rape and murder and torture of slaves. The things that'd go on in a rich Roman dude's house were horrible.

+ Attia was flippin' epic.
Okay THIS is the kind of epic badass heroine I love to read about! Attia is terrifying, because she's been raised a war princess and is basically the last Thracian. BUT SHE HAS EMOTIONS!! And a heart!! Like this is literally Attia:

Attia: I will cut out your heart.
Attia: I will have revenge and bath in the blood of my enemies.
Attia: I will--
Servant: ok but you have to be nursemaid to your master's 6yo niece
Attia: I hate children
Child: [whispers] hi
Attia: omg

Like she was NOT faking the badass part and when she gets suited up and goes to punch dumb dudes with knives in their faces? Yessss be scared. But she also gets super protective over this little girl AND she warms up to the love interest and it's just like: kNIVES AND HEART EYES.

Attia is amazing.

+ The other narrator is Xanthus who is basically the cutest most deadly cinnamon roll.
I'm 99% sure he's a huge Hufflepuff because he's SO loyal and also the best gladiator in Rome. AKA he will kill you. Do not mess. But he's so respectful of Attia and even though she's gifted to him as "his slave" he never never presumes anything of their relationship except to help her if he can. (view spoiler)

+ Although I admit the romance like was good but also lacking.
Just because the book is 300pgs. I mean that's not a lot of time for I-Don't-Have-Feelings-Attia to, ya know, get feelings. Fall for a boy. Decide she will never leave nor forsake him. Ever. Like, girrrrrl you just met. I wouldn't call it instalove because time passed but the book kind of blinked over it. I LIKED them both. Just wasn't sold on them together.

+ The story did seem slow despite being so short?!
Wizardry. But not in a bad way, particularly! I definitely enjoyed it and read it in just a few sittings because it kept the pacing up, just sometimes not a lot happened. Attia would just be stewing in her fumes and Xanthus would just be having an identity crisis somewhere else because he's BAD but wants to be GOOD. I swear. He's so freaking precious.

+ And there were a lot of characters.
With a lot of Roman names. Look I have 7 people in my family and I don't even have a clue what their names are half the time. So books with a hUGE cast and very similar names (Lucius, Lebuin, Lecretia???!?!?) actually had me weeping.

+ Hey but I know very very little of Spartacus! And this still was totally enjoyable.
So fear ye not if you're not a history buff (or, like me, just oblivious to apparently really famous dudes in history?!?) because this is still epic, bloody and full of excellently complex characters that'll win you over.

Basically: a heck yes to this book. I loved how powerful and feministic it was, and how Attia also punched back all the guy's horrible quips about her being lesser. This book is empowering and exciting. AND CUTE. Which is ridiculous because, ya know, murdery Rome. But so many cute moments!! Also a few jokes I snickered at.

"It's a dance, Attia. Not a fight."
"We can fix that," Attia said earnestly."
"You're not being helpful at all."

If Attia got through the day without murdering someone she would consider it a good day.

He flinched and pulled away. "Gods, you might just take my hands off after all. Aren't women supposed to be gentle?"
"Aren't men supposed to be fearless? Hold still."
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Reading Progress

August 31, 2016 – Shelved
August 31, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 24, 2018 – Started Reading
January 24, 2018 –
page 50
January 24, 2018 – Shelved as: 4-star
January 24, 2018 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
January 24, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
January 24, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 24, 2018 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Ulla (new)

Ulla Silvet Your reviews are awesome!!,

C.G. Drews @Ulla: Why thank you!

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