ABOUTTitle: The Valiant
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
Release Date: February 17th 2017
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.
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way in exchange for this review.
I brought this book with me on my Spain trip because I thought, what better way to enjoy a book set in ancient Rome than in a place once part of the Roman empire?
|The Valiant in Parc Guell, Barcelona, featuring my long nails and lack of sleep.|
The Valiant is about Fallon, the daughter of a Celtic king, whose people are proud warriors. She is kidnapped by Roman slavers and is sold to the Ludus Aquillea, the house of female gladiators owned by Caesar. Fallon must come to terms with her circumstances and survive not only in the arena, but outside of it as well.
Becoming a part of her father's war band is all Fallon had ever wanted, before her kidnapping and slavery. She wanted to fight and bring her family glory, like her older sister before her. She is proud and values her freedom. She doesn't need anyone else to fight her battles or anyone to rescue her, which her love interest offers her. She can and will rescue herself.
I don't know much about the Celts, but I am interested in ancient Rome and the ancient world. From what I know about the Roman world and from the course I studied, it's pretty accurate in the history that is incorporated into the story and especially that the author included that Rome and therefore Romans, were multicultural and had people from Brittania (like Fallon) to Phoenicia (ancient Syria), to Egypt.
I think because this book is about female gladiators, I expected more fighting than it did have in the book. Most of the fighting scenes and actual gladiator battles were in the last quarter of the book and the first three-quarters are mostly just Fallon coming to terms with being in Rome and being a gladiatrix. I wish I got to see Fallon struggle more in the arena and face defeats. It would have made a better "rising to the top" story and I would sympathise with her more.
The novel could have really done without the romance. It felt a little insta-love-y and I could picture this novel without it. I wanted this book to be about a female warrior battling her way to the top and to free herself from her slavery. Instead, this novel was a shadow of that and I'm disappointed. It's not a bad book, it's just not what I expected and wanted.