It's a Roman's World! Double Review: "Blood and Sand" (Untitled #1) by C.V. Wyk & "The Defiant" (The Valiant #2) by Lesley Livingston

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads


The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic―and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...

For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

The story continues in Fire and Ash, coming in 2019 from Tor Teen.



This was a week where I jumped from one historical book to the other. The Roman period offers lots of chances to many authors to showcase their talent in the YA section. This was the case with the amazing debut novel of C. Wyk!

Attia is a Thracian princess forced to become a slave after the fall of her people. Told in a time where also some significant historical events took place, I liked how the author also encompassed the slaughter of the Christians in the Colosseum, the descriptions, but mostly how amazing the voice of Attia was along with her relationship with Xanthus.

This pair was made to be! Attia is a fierce warrior who struggles to obey in her new situation while Xanthus is forced to be the star gladiator knowing that any failure would mean his death. The romance between them was all-consuming and fiery...despite the brutal ending.

Because you do get to witness the fall of Pompeii too!

I don't know what will happen to the sequel, but I can expect bloody revolutions, the rise of Attia as Spartacus and maybe a reunion? Because I ended this book crying...

About the author:

C.V. Wyk is the author of BLOOD AND SAND, debuting from Tor Teen in winter 2018. Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Wyk now resides on the east coast along with a precocious mini poodle and demanding guinea pig. 

In her not-so-spare time, she enjoys playing MMORPGs, kayaking, coding, hiking, staring listlessly at blank walls, and nursing a totally healthy coffee addiction. 

Find Wyk online at

The Defiant by Lesley Livingston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life.

Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.

Fallon was warned.

Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.

In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.

When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.

The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.



My wonderful group of gladiatrix returns! I really enjoyed the sequel of "The Valiant" with the action, the romance and the mystery! Fallon is the star gladiatrix of her ludus with her sister and her fellow warriors ready to enjoy a life of freedom. But when folly forces them to escape, followed by Cai and his friend Quintus, they will discover a plan to even overthrow Ceasar himself.

With cameo appearances of Cleopatra, sea travel to an island of 'Amazons' and lots of time to have banter, romantic declarations and even some funny times, this book became one of my favorites in January! Not to mention that the battle scenes were movie worthy!

About the author:

LESLEY LIVINGSTON is a writer living in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of twelve books to date. Her first novel, WONDROUS STRANGE, was winner of the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year 2010, a White Pine Honour Book, shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Speculative Fiction, and in 2015 was named one of CBC’s “100 YA Books That Make You Proud To Be Canadian”. DARKLIGHT, the second book in this series was a finalist for the Indigo Teen Read Awards. The concluding volume in the trilogy, TEMPESTUOUS, was a finalist for the Monica Hughes Award. These books have sold to more than ten countries to date, and WONDROUS STRANGE has been optioned for film/TV by Shaftesbury Films. Her other trilogies have both won the Copper Cylinder award for Young Adult fiction.
In addition to her books for teen readers, Lesley is also co-author of a Middle Grade series with Jonathan Llyr called THE WIGGINS WEIRD. The first book, HOW TO CURSE IN HIEROGLYPHICS was shortlisted for the CLA Book of the Year for Children Award and was longlisted for the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Young Readers Book of the Year award. It was also chosen as one of the selections for the 2016 First Book Canada All-Star Reading Challenge.
Lesley’s newest novel is a YA historical epic, THE VALIANT, which will be published in February 2017 by Penguin Razorbill (US) and HarperCollins (CAN) and tells the story of a 17-year-old girl’s journey from fierce Celtic princess to female gladiator and the darling of the Roman Empire.

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