Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Valiant by Lesley Livingston ARC Review

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin Random House
Pub. Date: February 14th, 2017
Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.

On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.
Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. 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, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.

A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, "The Valiant" recounts Fallon s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire."


The Valiant is a breath of fresh air amongst all of the male-heavy stories out there today. I didn't even know that there were real female gladiators until I read this book. What does that say about our society? Nothing good, though I'm not surprised. That being said, this is a book about Fallon, who is sold into slavery, goes through a ton of turmoil, and becomes a gladiator. It's an emotional tale that is focused on all of the female characters and how this turbulent world affects them. Though Fallon is an amazing lead, she's also surrounded by many other awesome women, and I enjoyed all of their plot-lines!

Similarly to other great feminist authors like Mindy McGinnis and Leigh Bardugo who have paved the way for books focusing on female relationships and narratives, I am truly amazed by Lesley Livingston's writing and story telling abilities. In The Valiant, we follow Fallon and her fellow gladiatrices' on their journey into glory, pain, and even love. I adored every second of this marvelous novel, and I'm elated and ardently awaiting to see what Lesley has in store for us in the sequel!



1) I absolutely adore Fallon. She is fierce, she's a badass, and she's just one hell of a woman overall. Fallon is definitely a character to look up to, and she is incredibly dear to my heart. I love her story, her fight, her everything. She's definitely one of the top most inspiring feminist characters of the year and I need more of her amazing story, pronto.

Oh, I definitely am.

2) In general, this book revolves around and is focused on the female characters specifically, and it's spectacular. Not only do they all come from a variety of backgrounds, but they are all so different—in voice and in personality—yet they all stand on their own. The Valiant is all about how the women are changed and affected throughout this story, and you get to watch them grow—it's phenomenal. It also touches on how a strong woman doesn't necessarily mean she's a fighter, but she could be strong emotionally, or in other ways. It's feminist and brilliant, and I wish more books depicted this.


And while you guys know that I love a good swoony book, I'm glad that this book focused more on the action and the girl-power aspects. Don't get me wrong, there are romantic parts which are also great, but it's not the focus of the book. It's more about the women and their relationships with each other—whether they're friends, enemies, or allies. The Valiant reminds me a lot of The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis in these aspects, and I was in awe of that book.

3) The world-building was fantastically well-structured. It made me feel like I was standing next to Fallon throughout everything she was experiencing. I could smell the blood, taste the fear, and the intense rush of adrenaline was coursing through me as if I was with her through every trial, heartbreak, and tragedy.


4) The Valiant find the perfect balance of training and battle. Normally in books, I'm really bored while having to read through all the training, while in others, I don't feel as if the characters could have possibly trained enough to be as kickass as they end up. In The Valiant, you see enough of the training for it to feel realistic, but not to the point where it slows down the story.




 


50 comments:

  1. Okay, I REALLY need to pick this one up. I've heard nothing but great things about it. I love books with strong female leads. I'm so tired of seeing the female MCs that need saved all the time. Great review!

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    1. Yes, you definitely need to! It's so good and I'm dying for The Defiant! I hope you enjoy it!

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  2. Okay, I NEED this book now after reading your review. I'm not supposed to buy any books right now BUT I'm definitely gonna keep it in mind for my next purchase. <3

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    1. Yes, you do! It's So good and it should definitely be your next purchase ^_^ Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Oh a 5 star read! I'm definitely intrigued! Fallon seriously sounds like a super badass awesome heroine! I'm glad this book hit all sweet spots! Lovely review, Brittany!

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    1. Yes, I've been lucky to have many of those recently! I hope The Valiant is on your TBR ^_^

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  4. I'm so excited for the sequel of this book! I really hope there are more battle scenes and more of the female friendships in it! If there had been more of those in this one, I think I would have given it a solid 5 stars as well! Great review!

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    1. So am I! I want those things too and most importantly, I need The Defiant immediately! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I like the sounds of this tough chick character. I will keep it mind.

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  6. This sounds fabulous, and I love the idea of seeing the gladiatrices in action. The world building sounds spot on and the fact that not all the women have to be fighters but can still be strong- I've been really curious about this one but now I REALLY want to read it!

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    1. It's fabulous, it's satisfying, and a must read. And yes, I love that this books focuses on different types of strength. I hope you love The Valiant!

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  7. Ah, I am SO glad to see yet another positive review! I am so excited to get my hands on this, it sounds wonderful! I'm particularly glad to hear such great things about the world-building - that is crucial to me in a book like this. Bring on the female gladiators! Great review. :)

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    1. The world-building is effortless and the characters are amazing. I hope you love it!

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  8. YESSS! I am so excited to read this one! And being compared to Mindy McGinnis and Leigh Bardugo is some fine, fine company. I also didn't know there were female gladiators which is sad. ALSO didn't know this was a series, so now I am extra excited. I need a new series to love. Especially one with a ton of badass females! Great review, I cannot wait to start this!

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    1. And she belongs with them, believe me! I had no idea it was a series until in the middle of reading it and she announced the sequel. I hope you love this much as me ^_^

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  9. Your reviews always make me buy more books, even though I keep saying I'll cut back on book buying lol. Awesome review. (:

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    1. Thank you, I'm so glad! I hope you enjoy all of the books that I suggest haha. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Oh this sounds great. I'll check this out.
    Awesome review. Thanks for sharing. :-D

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  11. After reading you review, I realized that I need this book in my life. Like, now! How do I always miss the release of so many amazing books?! Thank you for letting me know about it. *running to Goodreads to add it to my wishlist*

    I also didn't know there were female gladiators and I've to agree with you that that is really sad. And, no offence, but I think we have to blame the society we live for this lack of knowledge. I can't recall a single time a female gladiator was portrayed in TV shows, films or even history documentaries.

    Happy readings! ;)

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    1. I'm so glad I could convince you to read this book! I hope you love it ^_^

      I think it's a fairly recent discovery that there were female gladiators but because there wasn't enough people checking into this, is why no one knows. I'm hoping that this changes soon.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. Yaaaay, so happy you enjoyed this. I am so excited to read it! Female gladiators sound awesome and it's similar to Leigh Bardugo? Straight on the TBR.

    Great review Brittany!

    Cody @ Literary-ly Obsessed

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    1. I wouldn't say it's similar to Leigh, I meant that like Leigh in the sense that Lesley has written women in varying roles. I hope you love it!

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  13. I've been hearing so much of this book but haven't exactly read a review until now. You just sold me! I don't know why I was feeling eh about it. Now I need to get my hands on it! I need more badass characters. Fantastic review!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

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    1. I'm so glad that I could sell you on this one. I really hope that you love The Valiant as much as I do!

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  14. I'm glad you loved this book! I really can't wait to read it. I loved the gifs and the review <3

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    1. I think you you would love this one, Becky! I hope you check it out soon <3

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  15. Amazing review Brittany! I'm so glad you loved this book. :D I love the female empowerment in this book; there needs to be more books like this one! I didn't absolutely love the book, but I loved what it stood for. :)

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    1. Thank you! And I definitely agree that there needs to be more book like this, and I think we're getting them now. I'm sorry that you didn't love this one though.

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  16. This one sounds fantastic! I love exciting story and this sounds like it would definitely be one....plus female gladiators. Great review!

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    1. It is! I hope you check it out, and thanks for stopping by!

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  17. You have officially made me want to read this 100 times more! ALL FEMALE BOOKS ARE THE BEST! I didn't know there were actual female gladiators either and I CANNOT WAIT TO GET MY HANDS ON IT!
    Such a great review, Brittany, and I've officially moved it to the top of my WL!

    Aditi @ http://athousandwordsamillionbooks.blogspot.com/

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    1. I'm so glad! It's always good to hear that my reviews have an impact. I hope you love it as much as I do!

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  18. Glad to see how much you liked this one because I am very excited for it! Now I just want to read it even more! Great review!

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  19. I am super glad you loved this one! I bought it about a week back but have been swamped with work and stuff and haven't gotten to read it yet. Aside from that cover and kick-ass synopsis, this sounds like such an awesome girl-power filled story. Great review!

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    1. Boo work! I hope you get to read it soon. And it's definitely an awesome girl-power story. I hope you love it!

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  20. Oh, I'm so glad you loved it. I've been hesitating a bit whether I should buy it, or not, but now I definitely will! Great review! :)

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    1. Maybe get it from the library? That's what I do if I'm not sure if I want to buy a book. Thanks for stopping by!

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  21. Great review, Brittany! I'm glad that you enjoyed this so much, because it's been getting so much buzz and I'm never sure if hyped books will be worth the commitment. :P This sounds wonderful though - yay feminism! :)

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    1. Thank you! I totally know what you mean about hyped books and I'm always wary but this is one of the good ones! Thanks for stopping by!

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  22. Haha, I love the gif you posted for "Dislikes" :P

    Agree with you so much on this book. Fallon was absolutely fierce and a fitting main character who had such a great character arc. And I surprisingly really liked the romance as well. I absolutely CANNOT wait for the sequel!! :D

    - Aila @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. Haha I am glad you liked that GIF! XD And yesss, I am dying for the sequel :)

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  23. Lovely review Brittany :D So glad you enjoyed this one so much. <3 Yay :D I had some issues with it, sobs, but I liked it too. <3

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    1. Thanks so much! Even despite the issues, I'm glad you enjoyed this book :)

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  24. I need to read this one ASAP. I've been hearing GREAT things about it. Great review, Brittany! I love finding new books that are so focused on female characters (although I also love me a good romance) so it sounds like this is a winner (and I also need to read Female of the Species, apparently!).

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    1. OMG YES, The Female of the Species is literally an epic masterpiece of a book, and you should definitely read it. And this one too! ;D Thanks so much for stopping by <3

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  25. I NEED THIS BOOK!!!!! I love your review Brittany, this is a must read for sure <3

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