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The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Sunday, Jan 22, 2017 at 4:31pm

So, not going to lie, I went into this book pretty hesitant. Historical fiction just doesn’t really appeal to me, I’m not into the runaway/lost/kidnapped princess trope, and this book seemed to reek of bad romance. But somehow—despite my reluctance—I ended up picking this ARC up. I didn't expect much. I was just going to try a little bit and see how it went, feeling confident that it would be crappy and I would be right. But I GOT SCHOOLED.

I didn’t warm up to Lesley Livingston’s writing style (which was a disappointment), BUT I love what Livingston did with Rome’s complicated history. This is a very plot-driven novel that takes place in Rome during the Cleopatra-Julius Caesar era. Rome is a truly magnificent city with an unforgettable past. The fact that this book is revolves around gladiators—no, female gladiators—intrigued me. Livingston did some research, and it is historically accurate that female gladiators existed. YES! That fact alone helped me love this book a bit more.

So we start off meeting Fallon, daughter and princess to a proud Celtic king. Fallon attempts to do something called the Morrigan Flight, an incredibly dangerous task that is completely reckless. Right away, we see a glimpse of Fallon’s feisty character. I appreciate Fallon's strength as a heroine who commands our attention and holds our love, whilst still being what some would consider unlikable. Fallon is then kidnapped by a group of slavers who sell her to an exclusive school for female gladiators. She now must prove exactly what she is worth; a warrior that will bow to no one.

This book is on the slow side when it begins, but let me tell you, IT IS EPIC. We have an amazing female friendship going on, an important sisterhood and, come on, it’s basically a school for female fighters! Think Vampire Academy meets The Hunger Games. I mean, this book has some serious Hunger Games vibes!

The romance was also a minor sub-plot (Thank God! Too many authors base their books off of romance when the premise of the book promises something different). I am happy to say this is a historical fiction (maybe fantasy) with romantic elements, not the other way around.

I give this book a 4/5 stars. So to wrap up, if you’re a fan of historical fiction and kick-ass women, this is the book for you.

- Yen Anh, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

The Valiant will be available February 14. 

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

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The Valiant

- Young adult hardcover

by Lesley Livingston - $19.99 - Add to Cart

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.