I like the twist of having female gladiators.
Nonstop action from beginning to end! An excellent choice for fans of ancient Rome or gladiators. Fallon is a great, strong heroine and I was rooting for her to win through the whole wild ride! One warning: This one is fairly graphically violent with detailed gladiator fights and some cannibalism that might not be for the squeamish among you.
Note: I had the chance to read as an advance reader's copy.
I am so excited that this is becoming a series, because daaaaaaaaamn The Valiant is a fun read. I've read nearly every book Lesley Livingston has written, but I swear she continues to up her game with each new book she writes. This book is about rad lady gladiators, and that alone makes me pretty amazing, let me tell you.
I adored Fallon as a heroine, and I thought she was just amazing. She's strong, she has conviction, she demands the best of herself. She has such a strong will, making her someone I think that a lot of women can relate to or aspire to. I loved the politics in Livingston's version of the Roman Empire, and I think the book shows that a lot of research was done for the sake of historical accuracy. The world that Fallon lives in feels so hopeless, filled with hardship and terror. It makes the reader feel as though they are a part of Fallon's world.
Also some of the twists and turns in this book? They were so awesome. They didn't feel predictable, they didn't feel out of place, and these moments really showed how great of a storyteller Livingston is. I just found myself so connected to Fallon and her world. I really also found myself disliking a lot of the male characters in the novel, because they were just dreadful human beings. Though, I did like the romance in this story, even if it felt a bit conventional at times. Can I also say I loved Nyx? Because I kinda loved her even if she was kind of malicious. She also just screamed kick butt woman with intense raw power.
The sisterhood, the glory, the area, the characters, the history -- The Valiant really feels like a complete package. There is just so much action and suspense topped with excellent characterization. I seriously cannot wait for the arrival of book two given how this novel ended, and I can only image how much more fierce of a world of Rome will be. Seriously, if you love history and awesome ladies, pick up The Valiant ASAP.
The Valiant was packed with bad ass women, but I could have used more background.
Plot: The Valiant and I started off on the wrong foot. It began in the midst of a high-stakes scene that immediately intrigued and flustered me. From there, Fallon must protect herself from a variety of dangerous situations and people are will later either prove to be friend or foe. As I've learned, these "high action, little characterization" books are not for me and I found myself just going with the flow of the story, not really feeling as though I were a part of it. It was a fine read, but nothing really captured my attention. My one major complaint that was a major plot point (that I assume will be explored in the second novel) was revealed at the 80% mark of this book. For me, that was too late in the novel to introduce anything new as I was expecting Livingston to wrap up some loose ends, not introduce more craziness.
Characters: As I mentioned, the characters didn't get as much love and development as I was hoping. All the women were exciting in the ring, but I found very little in regards to their motivation. The love story was an unnecessary addition as this could have very well just been Fallon's exploration of Rome and its dark corridors. I was interested in learning more about the villain, Julius Caeser, and while I liked his complex nature, I found that he could have explored a bit more as a man. But of course, that's why we have sequels!
Worldbuilding: The Valiant was unique simply because of its landscape. I have very little experience with Caesar's Rome and the gladiators (no judgment, I haven't even seen The Gladiator), so this was a welcomed introduction. I loved how global Livingston made her world and how she used language that would have been used during that time - and some Latin!
Short N Sweet: The Valiant will be a favorite with anyone who enjoys a wild ride, I; however, wanted a bit more from the characters.
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