Author: Lesley Livingston
Series: The Valiant #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Historical
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.
When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.
Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.
Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators — owned by none other than Julius Caesar. 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 and deadly fights — in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.
First Sentence: The steam rising off the backs of the cantering horses faded into the morning fog.
I’ll be extremely blunt – I was extremely nervous about starting The Valiant. I’ve read two of Lesley Livingston’s books, Starling, and Wondrous Strange, only to not enjoy them both and DNF them both quickly. There was just something with her writing and her storyline that just didn’t click with me. As hope for The Valiant built up, I found myself getting increasingly curious because hello, female gladiators and female friendships, but I didn’t want to get burned again. I’m so happy that I gave The Valiant another chance as this time, I didn’t end up DNFing the book and mildly enjoyed it.
“Go then,” I said, my voice loud in the emptiness of the room. “I won’t be here when you get back.” (ARC 35)
The beginning of The Valiant is pretty slow, with Fallon being kidnapped and sold as a slave – no, don’t worry, this isn’t a spoiler as that event is mentioned and talked about in the summary of the book. There was a lot of traveling as Fallon and the other slaves were taken to a new area and those scenes felt extremely slow to me, with the exception of a fighting scene that occurred in the middle. I think long traveling scenes without a lot of action incorporated in it, like fights breaking out, just isn’t for me. It wasn’t until Fallon reached her destination until the book really picked up.
I accidentally spoiled myself when I was glancing at reviews of The Valiant to see if I should give The Valiant a chance. The twist was basically one of the biggest twists in the book and I know that even if I didn’t accidentally spoil the book, I wouldn’t have seen that twist coming because how could you have seen that twist coming? It literally came out of nowhere.
“The next time someone offers you an advantage in a fight…do yourself a favor: Stuff your high-minded sensibilities and take it. Your adversary might not be so noble as you. And your honor will only wind up getting you killed.” (ARC 242)
My biggest problem with The Valiant was the romance. When I opened up my ARC of The Valiant and read the editor’s letter, I found myself growing more and more excited. What could be better than a forbidden love story done well? Answer: Nothing. However, what the letter failed to mention was that The Valiant has an extremely bad case of insta-love. Fallon and her love interest Cai barely had three proper conversations before they’re declaring their feelings for one another and swearing that they would wait for the other person no matter what, which caused me to mentally bang my head against the wall. Their romance was just so unbelievable for me, especially when Cai started off as a huge enemy of Fallon’s. It would be a lot better if Fallon and Cai would slowly get to know one another and fall in love that way instead of this insta-love scenario.
Overall, I’m really glad that I ended up enjoying The Valiant and it didn’t turn out to be a total flop for me as I hate being the black sheep. As of right now, I don’t know if I’ll be reading the sequel to The Valiant as I’m not really curious about what would happen next, but the covers of the series are gorgeous though so you never know.