Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received this free eARC novel from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.
Attia is a princess, but nobody knows that. Her people were slaughtered by the Romans - they want to rule the world and they had to take out the small villages that surrounded Rome. Attia's people were one of those small villages. Even though they are well known for their fighting ability, they were outnumbered 10 to 1, and everyone was massacred.
Attia is the only one that survived, and that is because they think she is a lowly girl, rather than the kings daughter, the next ruler of her people. And now she is being sold as a slave. Attia is waiting her time, waiting until she is healed enough, and then she is going to kill the person who bought her and branded her as if she was a sheep.
Thankfully, she got a good deal out of her enslavement - if you can call anything good when being a slave - because she was given to Xanthus, the Champion gladiator of Rome. Xanthus is not like most gladiators in the fact that he hates what he does. He has been trained since a child to fight and be the best gladiator when his own small village was raided and destroyed, just like Attia's home.
Xanthus is not going to force Attia to do anything to his bidding, because he himself hates being slave. He is not going to make someone else be his slave. So they have an understanding that they follow, and life is okay for the most part.
But both Xanthus and Attia are out for blood, and they are out to kill the ones who ruined their lives by killing their friends and family. With the political uprising happening in Rome and Pompeii, they may be able to get their wishes come true, but they can also have things go up in smoke when things don't go their way.
I am not a history geek, so this book was hard to follow when the author was talking about historic events that really happened and tried to figure out how the story was going to end. When I did like about this book was the fighting, the redemption, the understanding between Xanthus and Attia, and the characters development throughout the novel.
I love Attia. She is badass and she is the best fighter in this whole novel, and that includes all of the gladiators and soldiers together. She was trained in a way to make her invincible, and she can knock down a man 3 times her size without a hitch in her breathing. And she is so determined in her ways to make sure that she avenges her family that nothing is going to stop her.
Xanthus is amazing. He has learned to fight to survive, to the point that he is the best out there, but he grieves every time he has to kill someone because of the sport that everyone so loves to watch. He is a slave, but he is treated like a god some days. That can mess with a person, but Xanthus doesn't let it get to his head that he is the best - he just wants to be free.
This was a great novel that kept me entertained and entranced throughout the whole novel. I was always wanting to know what else is going to happen and was not disappointed with anything.
I'm not sure if this is a stand alone novel or not. I guess it could end where this book ended, but neither character got what they really wanted in the end, so it wasn't concluded as many books are. But it also wasn't a huge cliffhanger ending that you had to have the next book in your hand. It was just an ending. I would definitely be interested in reading the second book to see what happens with all of the characters and whether they get their revenge or not, so I'll be keeping an eye out for more books by C.V. Wyk in the future!
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