[BOOK REVIEW] the Valiant by Lesley Livingston (the Valiant #1)

In order to prepare myself for the buddy read of the Defiant next month, I really wanted to re-read the Valiant in January. I ended up doing a buddy read with a friend of mine – Marie over @mixed_matched_socks on Instagram.

She wanted to read the book for a while now and by buddy reading it, we could motivate each other and talk about the book whilst reading it so that’s a win-win right?! I think so haha. We finished reading the book yesterday and I couldn’t pass up on the opportunity of telling you guys how I feel about it.

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.

It really comes down to this: I love everything about this book the second time reading it, as I did when I first read it in 2017. The writing is so good and addictive and that made for a super fast paced read. The story-line is enthralling; there’s always something going on, which I love. Not a single boring moment to be found.

I love our main character, Fallon. She’s the embodiment of girlpower. She’s strong, feisty and even though she gets beaten down many times, she always rises and comes back from it. Her development throughout the book was really interesting and well written and I loved how the author wrote this character down.

“I would be the master of my own fate.
Me and the goddess Morrigan.
No one else—and certainly no man.”

And I loved the presence of a particular Roman commander so much as well hihi. Cai is such a terrific addition to the awesome excisting set of characters. He’s strong and caring but he also gives Fallon her ‘freedom’ to do her own thing – so many male characters can be too overbaring sometimes or not understanding enough.

Even though he isn’t present That much, I came to love him so fiercely in such a small amount of time hihi. His presence helped Fallon out a lot to find her way in this ‘new to her’ brutal Roman Empire and I really hope he’ll remain such a great supportive character in the next books.

There are some other minor characters present whom I came to love so much as well. Elka, for example, who is a fellow captive warrior. She ends up in the same fighting house as Fallon does. Their relationship starts off kind of hostile – understatement hihi.

But I love how it develops into a well founded friendship over time, forged over them both being these fierce female warriors and ending up as gladiatrixes/slaves. Every single time Elka was present, it put a huge smile to my face and I’m already looking forward to come across her again. Good written and developed friendships are so enjoyable to read about!

”Wherever you have come from,” she continued, “whatever you did, whoever you were . . . forget. Kill your past and bury it deep in the earth of your heart. It will not help you here. It will only shackle you. This place is a sisterhood. These girls are your family. The Lady Achillea, the lanista of this place, is your goddess.And I am your new mother.”

“Couldn’t be any worse than my old mother,” Elka shrugged. Thalestris shot her a look that plainly said, Don’t be too sure of that.

In my opinion, the author couldn’t have done a better job on the way she’s put in the romance in this book. The romance is so well balanced out alongside the story-line- and character development. It’s perfect for readers who don’t like too much romance in a book since the focus is mostly on the story-line and characters for example.

And it’s present enough to satisfy the reader who do loves to come across a romance. This one isn’t forced or fast developing, and it feels like such a great addition because of that. I love how these two characters have grown towards one another and found something together in this brutal world. I can’t wait to see how their relationship develops in the next book.

“Uri…vinciri…verberari…ferroque necari.
I will endure to be burned… to be bound… to be beaten…
and to be killed by the sword.”

I’m so in love with the Historical elements, like the Rome setting and the gladiators/gladiatrixes. I love how the author decided to write down female gladiators and that she has done a lot of research about it as well. It really shows in her writing about all the Rome-elements, that she did an amazing job on her research and the way she retold it in this book.

“Maybe honor wasn’t always something won by a blade. I thought.
And maybe it couldn’t be so easily stripped away, even in servitude.”

I also love the fact that Lesley has put in characters like Julius Ceasar and Cleopatra. I love how she decided to let them be a part of this story, however small it may be. I couldn’t get enough of it all. And the settings… The settings are so interesting and she writes down just enough about them so that you’re able to visualize it all really well, without the writing being boring or anything, you know? It was just perfect the way she wrote it all down. I’ve devoured every single letter.

This book has action, it’s plot driven, it has angst and excitement. It has a bit of romance that had me swooning so intensely and most of all; it has heart.

This book was such a thrill and joy to experience the first time around, but this second time maybe even more so. I am so pumped to read book 2 and 3 in the coming months. I can’t wait to find out how Fallon’s story continues in the next installment.

“There is only forward. Only tomorrow. No yesterday, no going back.
And nothing of value is left behind, so nothing is truly lost.”

If you’re into feisty main characters who embody girlpower, Historical fiction with amazing Roman elements like some really beautiful Rome settings and gladiators and a lot of action and excitement: this is THE book for you. I’d really recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a fast-paced and addictive read!


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