The Valiant (The Valiant #1)
By: Lesley Livingston
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in her father’s war band. She never gets the chance.
Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon s family might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.
A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, “The Valiant” recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire.”
If The Valiant hooked you with the promise of female gladiators, feel assured that you will like this book. There is the action promised, and delivered in the form of the Celtic warrior princess, Fallon, and her fellow gladiators, and the romance with Cai never chokes the story but plays out nicely in the background. Lesley brings Fallon’s bloody and turbulent life off the page in spectacular detail and keeps you riveted until the action packed ending.
Amongst the themes of politics and honor, the one the rang true the most was the focus on sisterhood. Not only through Fallon’s relationship with her sister, but the ties she has to girls she comes to live with, and the few she begins to trust. These are fierce and powerful women living in a brutal and unpredictable world. Their characters are fully dimensional, their motivations and backstories and personalities full of life. And I loved it.
The romance element was there, but it was never what was promised. Fallon spends a lot of time hating Romans, which her love interest, Cai, is, and the rest was never the “sizzling” relationship that was advertised. It was sweet enough and wasn’t instalove, and I could probably get into it more in the sequel, but I guess I was stuck back on Fallon’s first love who seemed so promising. Which isn’t an issue for Fallon, as she moves on from Mael fairly quickly.
Despite my qualms with the romance, The Valiant was addictive and enthralling and I couldn’t put it down. The world was beautifully rendered and I can’t wait to learn more about it along with Fallon as we explore more of her story.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. An advanced copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.