ARC Review: “The Valiant” by Lesley Livingston


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.

Publication date: February 14, 2017

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~o~My Review~o~

“Are you a weapon or a target?”

What’s cooler than female gladiators? Not many things, I can tell you that.

Don’t let the not-so-great (to say the least) cover fool you. The Valiant is fast paced with a thrilling plot and a multi-dimensional main character who is developed well. Fallon, though a little impulsive, is likeable. 

It’s clear a lot of research was done for this book. The descriptions of the early Roman Empire during Julius Caesar’s rule and the different Celtic tribes were educational. I don’t have much experience with their history so I’m not the best judge of the accuracy but as far as I can tell, the setting was created respectfully.

A lot happens by the first few chapters to where it can be overwhelming to take in. I like fast pace books but it seemed too fast-paced to me. It seemed like the author was so eager for the setting to change from the Cantii island to the Ancient Roman Empire that she neglected the island setting a little bit. The pacing slows down once she is taken by the brigands and it’s less bothersome.

Something else that annoyed me was the author’s tendency to tell and not show, especially towards the middle of the book. We know Fallon is a trained fighter, probably the most skilled female in her tribe after her late sister, but a lot of times in the book, her abilities don’t come to show. We are told she is good but we are not shown her skills until much later. I understand her vulnerability was necessary as a plot point but it didn’t seem to connect with what we were learning about her from her past and from other characters.

My rating though is based off of my enjoyment of the novel. The plot itself was good: there were many twists – some expected and some unexpected – that kept me reading. I enjoyed the overall story very much and I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced adventure with a little romance thrown in there.

10 thoughts on “ARC Review: “The Valiant” by Lesley Livingston

      1. I see this book is on the giveaway page in Goodreads. Do you enter in giveaways on there? I recently won my first Goodreads Giveaway. It was Morning Star by Pierce Brown. I need to read that series. Have you read yet?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve entered a bunch of giveaways on Goodreads but unfortunately I’ve never won one. Congratulations on your win!! No, I haven’t read that book but I’ll add it to my tbr. I hope you review it soon.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I was intrigued by a little wary when I first heard of this book, but I’m definitely more excited about it, having read your review. (Though the telling-rather-than-showing bit will definitely bother me.) Glad to hear that it only has a little romance thrown in, rather than being dominated by romance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks Liam! Thankfully, the telling-and-not-showing isn’t throughout the whole book but in the first half of it (which is still bothersome but at least the story is good). The romance doesn’t affect the plot much but is more of a means to an end, it’s actually quite refreshing. It’s mostly just Fallon trying to survive in this new world she’s now a part of.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a pretty decent read. Maybe it’s not without its issues – going too fast and telling sometimes instead of showing – but at the same time you can tell the author has taken the time to research. And female gladiators? Definitely cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a decent read! And the whole telling-and-not-showing does get better towards the end of the book, I just wish it was consistent throughout. 😀 Female gladiators are my new favorite things now!

      Liked by 1 person

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