Valiant (The Valiant #1)
By Lesley Livingston
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fantasy
Published: February 14, 2017
Bang Bang Rating:
Fallon is in love and is preparing for the announcement of joining her father’s war band when her father announces her betrothal instead of her new membership. Disgusted by her father’s decision and disappointed to not be following into her fallen sister’s footsteps, Fallon runs away only to be captured and sold into slavery. Proving that she’s a skilled fighter, Fallon finds herself training to be a female gladiator in Julius Ceaser’s army.
Valiant opens with Fallon and her boyfriend professing his love but Fallon wants to join her father’s war band and she knows she can’t have both. Her sister died in battle with Julius Ceaser ten years prior and Fallon desperately wants to step in as the sole female warrior and avenge her sister’s death. None of the above happens and Fallon’s only out is to run away to only be captured by slave traders. All of this happens in the first fifty pages. Actually a lot more happens in those first pages including a whole lotta info dumping.
While on the boat to the seller block, Fallon meets another captive named Elka. Elka is a fighter and a smart mouth and is the best character in this entire book. Fallon and Elka are chained together most of the time and if it weren’t for Elka, Fallon would not be where she ended up. One would assume that if Fallon was about to join her father’s army she would be a skilled fighter but one would be wrong. Fallon constantly gets her ass handed to her and I understand that Livingston is trying to write a flawed heroine but don’t make her army ready, make her a trainee.
Fallon also meets a sympathetic man named Charon who is her capture yet her savior. He’s initially mysterious but his motive becomes quite predictable much like most of this novel and that was the major problem. Livingston is not a debut but she make some serious rookie mistakes. I predicted all the major plot twists thus the reason for my rating.
Fallon meets a handsome young gladiator, Cai, who happens to work for Ceaser and of course after the first meeting he’s in love. Fallon knows this is a bad idea and she does hold him off for a while but eventually relents. The instalove is not as bad as other books but my issue is that Fallon is not special. Sure she’s perseverant and strong but Cai is surrounded by A LOT of girls like that. I just wasn’t feeling the heat.
Valiant has a great premise of female gladiators and the time period is refreshing to YA but the pacing, the predictable plot, and the bland characters are why this novel falls short of epic.