February 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk | SLJ Review

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redstarWYK, C.V. Blood and Sand. 320p. Tor Teen. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780765380098. POP

Gr 8 Up –Weaving two stories together—that of Attia, a 17-year-old Thracian warrior princess, and of Xanthus, a gladiator—Wyk crafts a cast of relatable characters whose lives have been thrown together as a result of massacre. Within a matter of days, Attia goes from being the princess of Thrace to being a slave girl in a gladiator household. She is purchased at an auction by the House of Timeus to be given as a gift to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome. A skilled fighter, Attia immediately escapes by breaking the bones of her captors, climbing buildings, and running as fast as possible. She is ultimately caught and branded and learns that she needs to follow instructions and lie low until she is able to kill Timeus and seek revenge on Crassus Flavius, the man responsible for the murder of her Thracian comrades. Meanwhile, Attia gets to know Xanthus, only to find out that he is also a slave to Timeus, bought as a child and forced to learn how to fight as a gladiator. Xanthus is training for the fight of his life: a chance to battle the man who murdered his people, Decimus. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius changes everyone’s plans and each character must fight to survive. A surprise ending will leave readers wanting more. Only slightly similar in theme to Marie Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse, this debut is a unique addition to Ancient Roman historical fiction. This stunning series starter reads like a movie, with lengthy action scenes and strong imagery that allow readers to enjoy the narrative on a different level. VERDICT Recommended for all young adult collections.–Kristin Unruh, Siersma Elementary School, Warren, MI

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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