The Valiant (The Valiant, #1) by Lesley Livingston

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Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

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.

I picked up this ARC at NYCC 2016.

I have some mixed feelings about The Valiant. I’ll start with the critiques.

The story and plot twists were predictable. I guessed nearly everything that was going to happen.

At lot of the story is also spoon fed to us, but I feel that is because the book is meant for a young reader. The book jacket does say grades 7 (ages 12) and up.

Yet, I found myself enjoying it. I liked the sisterhood between the characters.
While the romance was a bit underdeveloped it wasn’t annoying and overly mushy.

The pacing was a bit slow at times, but I really like the setting of the Roman Empire The Cleopatra and Caesar cameos were fun.

While it wasn’t the greatest story, I am curious about the sequel. Although, I do feel the end could have gone another way and left this as a standalone novel. But I do like that it offers a story for young adults with strong female characters who are not damsels in distress.

3 out of 5 female gladiators.

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