Today’s review is part of the official blog tour for The Valiant. Be sure to keep reading for more details on the book, the blog tour & your chance to win a copy!
A kick-ass adventure featuring a band of lady gladiators set in ancient Rome, The Valiant by Lesley Livingston is the latest, greatest celebration of girl power in YA literature.
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.
Fallon has the spit-fire and verve of Brave’s Merida, with a more romantic heart and killer instinct for battle. I adored her. She’s fiery and fierce and passionate. Fallon is what makes The Valiant a story of triumph; she is the one you want to root for throughout the entire story.
Though quite a few liberties are taken with the history, I still loved the historical inspiration Livingston drew upon for The Valiant. The focus here on lady gladiators — or gladiatrices, as it were — is so unique and captivating. I just wanted to know more about them, and this world they inhabited. But when Julius Caesar himself comes into the story? And Cleopatra? Ah! I was in heaven. The Valiant truly captures the best blend of fiction and history for one truly epic saga.
The romance does, at times, feel rushed — but damn, if I didn’t care. I loved the chemistry between Fallon and Cai, and was eager to spend more time with them — as they struggle with their feelings for one another, the conflict of their stations (a slave and a solider), and the violent world they find themselves living in.
But there’s also plenty of girl power and lady friendships to celebrate here; even as Fallon faces some violent and potentially deadly rivalries with her fellow gladiatrices, she also finds friendship and sisterhood. The gladiator life gives Fallon a sense of honor she hadn’t found in her old world, and is surprised to find after her capture.
The Valiant is truly a masterful blending of fact and fiction, and the result is a lush, intoxicating world filled with battle, betrayal, and romance. It is in stores now.
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 13, 2017 and 12:00 AM on March 13, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about March 15, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
Lesley Livingston is the author of Once Every Never, winner of the inaugural Copper Cylinder Award and shortlisted for the CLA Young Adult Book Award and the BC Stellar Book Award. She is also the author of the Wondrous Strange and Starling trilogies. She lives in Toronto.
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