Number of pages: 320
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 4
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.
This is another long overdue review. I’m trying my best to catch up, and there are a million reasons for why my reviews are all being written so late, but that doesn’t make me feel any less guilty.
Blood and Sand was a very enjoyable read. There was plenty of action to spare, and the characters were well done. Little Rory was precious, Rory’s brother (whose name I forget because I read this in February) was such an interesting character to watch, and his story was kind of heartbreaking, and Xanthus and Attia were fantastic. Be warned however, that there are a lot of characters with similar names. It got hard to follow sometimes. I would say it’s pretty authentic to have so many people would have similar names (thanks Romans… you made it so easy to study your history (sarcasm)), but I thought I’d leave a warning regardless.
Speaking of the historical aspects, this book came to me at the perfect time. I was in the second half of my classics class, which was conveniently on the Romans. It was so interesting to see what the author chose to include, especially which Spartacus rumor she chose to follow (the one that he was Thracian). The historical aspects make me even more excited for book 2, because I hope it has to do with Spartacus’ slave revolt.
There was an added element of surprise for me with this book, because I missed the whole thing where the concept of this was “what if Spartacus was a girl” (since we know next to nothing about “him”), so I had no idea which of our main characters was going to turn out to be Spartacus.
A few things were moved around and changed history wise (such as the creation of a Princeps that didn’t exist), but the decisions behind those changes were explained in the author’s note. All in all, despite a few things that were moved around and changed to fit the narrative, Blood and Sand appeared to be fairly well researched.
Actually, the other thing I’m a bit iffy on is the gladiator bit, since I’ve learned a few things on gladiators since finishing Blood and Sand that basically ruins every gladiator-centric Hollywood movie you’ve watched. Gladiators really weren’t killed in the ring that often.
However, one thing I didn’t like about Blood and Sand was the sudden POV changes mid-chapter. It made the story hard to follow. Like we would be with Attia and Rory, and then it would suddenly cut to Xanthus practicing. The problem was the story was told in first person POV, so it was disorienting to suddenly be in someone else’s head. I kept thinking I’d missed a whole paragraph. The ARC didn’t have page breaks, so maybe it has some in the finished copy. (I just checked my finished copy, and there are page breaks)
The story also never really gripped me. I enjoyed Blood and Sand, but it never sucked me in. That is, until the end. I am still in denial about something that happened at the end months later.
Overall, Blood and Sand was an enjoyable and well-researched read, earning it 4 stars out of 5.