Author: Lesley Livingston
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Source: I got the arc as part of a teen advisory board at a local bookstore!
The Valiant was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, and I was elated to get the arc of this through my local teen advisory board. I am also elated to say that while The Valiant wasn't a five star read for me, it did not disappoint. The novel kept me interested the whole time and I loved the characters.The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha's legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father's royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon's worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.
One of my favorite things about this book is how well developed every character is. Not a lot of characters have a lot of page time, and yet there were all very well developed. Livingston did a good job juggling between page time and characterization. There was just enough for me to get a good feel on everyone.The supporting characters were well fleshed out and weren't one dimensional. For instance, there is a character that dies within the first 30 pages of the book. However, that character plays a big role in Fallon's decisions. Although the reader doesn't spend much time with him before his death, he is still characterized through Fallon's memories of him.
Another thing I really liked was the romance. I love romance in my books, but I especially love it when it doesn't dominate the book. Livingston did this perfectly. The book is about Fallon's experience as a gladiatrix, not her love life. There was just enough scenes with Fallon's love interest, Cai, without become overbearing. I also thought their relationship was so well done. This definitely isn't the case of insta-love or a love triangle, both of which I was worried about at first.
One small complaint I have is that I guessed one of the twists pretty early on. There was so much emphasis on a certain character that I just guessed it right away. However, I did not guess the other twist further on in the book. Obviously I can't say what those were because of spoilers, but both were executed well.
My other complaint is fairly small as well. The pacing was a bit off for me in the beginning. Pretty much right away Fallon is captured, but then the next 130 or so pages follow Fallon and her journey to the school for female gladiators. Though it was interesting to read, it wasn't what I wanted to read. So though I knew that the time with Fallon traveling to the school was important because it further developed her character as well as introduce three important characters, it wasn't what I expected and was much longer than I anticipated as well.
The Valiant held my attention the whole entire time; there was never a moment where I was bored. Though the story at times went places I didn't suspect and one of the twists was predictable, the characters shined the whole entire time. All of them were fleshed out, and the romance wasn't overbearing at all. My favorite thing about this book has to be Fallon; I loved her character and her strength, both mentally and physically. She is pushed around and put into horrible situations, but she always pushes back.
With that, I give this book
4 out of 5 Stars!
Have you read or are anticipating The Valiant?
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Genni @ Ready, Set, Read!