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Sunday, May 14, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Valiant (#1) by Lesley Livingston

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.
Published February 14th 2017 by Razorbill
ISBN13: 9780448493787
Series: The Valiant
Source: Bought

Review (5 Stars)

I knew I was going to enjoy this book the moment I read the synopsis, I have been looking for a book with a female gladiator lead for ages (I have only ever found some Wattpad stories) so was so excited when I found this one. Thankfully this book was everything I had been hoping for.
The first chapter throws us straight into Fallon's life in her tribe. In this first chapter we get to see Fallon's brave, recklessness and fearlessness nature as well as her determination to prove to everyone that she is worthy - not just because she is the daughter of the king but because of her skills. As we move into the second chapter we get to know more about Fallon's past and her backstory, which really highlights her love for her deceased sister, giving us some insight into her motivation behind her desire to join the tribe war band and proving herself. 
It was nice to get to see Fallon in her 'normal' life in the tribe and to watch the tribes internal politics even without the help of the invading Romans. This book is just a whirlwind of action, I loved it all,  from the events leading up to Fallon's enslavement; to the dramatic and unusual start to her friendship with fellow slave Elka's; from the slave block, to her training and the arenas, and the more complex working of Rome, from the power plays and conspiracies, to dark mysteries passages and even a few familiar faces from home.
I loved watching Fallon grow from a unseasoned warrior into a Gladiatrix learning to play in the political power games of Rome. Overall, this book ticked almost all the boxes for me with a strong female lead, some mysterious happens, a great sisterhood, political manoeuvring and even a bit of romance. Highly recommend read if you're into either fantasy or historical fiction. I can't wait for the sequel!