Series: The Valiant #1
Author: Lesley Livingston
Published Date: February 14, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, YA
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
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.
"Have you ever really thought about what it is to be a warrior, Fallon?
Because I have. It means you kill. You kill men. You kill women. All while they are trying very hard to kill you. And if one of them is better at it than you, then you die. And you are so eager to dance with death, little sister?"
Honestly felt like I was reading a fantasy novel instead of an alternate history novel.
Fallon: Main character, who wants to be just like her sister, but he father wants to protect her at all costs.
Sorcha: Big sister, fearless, Fallon's hero
Elka: Helps fallon get through being sold into slavery, etc.
Mael: Fallon's sparing partner and love interest
Cai: Solider/Works for Caesar
Fallon is a character that I really wanted to like, but sadly as more time went on I found myself just getting really frustrated with her and wanting her to be focusing on other things instead of what she was focusing on.
Elka is exactly what Fallon needed to keep her on track with what she needed to be doing, and was just a really nice support system, once they started to become gladiators.
Mael we don't really get to know sadly so while he was important to Fallon, I never really felt that connection or like she truly even cared for him.
Cai I just found annoying for the most part and I didn't like what he was trying to start with Fallon.
"Rome only exists because of slaves. That's how it functions. We are it's muscle, its brains, and most of all its secrets. You are now a part of that world. You are what you are, no matter what you once were. But there is power in such a position. Understand that. And learn to use it. "
Overall I did enjoy the majority of this book. I do feel like at time it did rely on the action of fighting/training a little to much instead of really developing the characters outside of what they were. Not saying this is a bad thing, it just made it hard to connect with certain people that we met after Fallon had to start a new life. I really enjoyed the friendships she made with some of the girls and that she didn't just change into this super gladiator type machine right off. She struggled with it and really had to forget some of her values while in the arena, which wasn't an easy task. Also the fact that once the fight was over she went back to having her same values it seemed was confusing, but also understandable. You do what you have to in order to survive. Elka and Fallon's friendship was so nice to see, especially in the environment they were in and how a lot of the girls acted in it. I want it to keep on and to see what they can achieve together.
I'm interested to see where the next book goes now after that ending. Hopefully the love interest isn't as obvious and instead the focus is more on the women in the book.
"But they couldn't force me from my warrior's path unless I let them. Sorcha never would have let anyone choose her fate for her."
Some problems I had this may contain spoilers.
With Sorcha once we figure out who she in this story, it was painfully obvious when she was helping out Fallon, which wasn't supposed to be allowed. Yet pretty much everyone around them knew about it, they weren't trying to hide it either.
Love interest problem that became way too much of the story. Cai as a love interest I didn't like, friend maybe, he can't fully be trusted. But when fallon starts to really fall for him all because he buys her a gladiator outfit to wear, really.. Fallon you don't have to like him or be with him because of that. He is also the cause of why you were sold into slavery. Yes you are in a safe place now, but that doesn't mean you should forget what he did or the fact that you are still considered to be someone's property.