The Valiant, by Lesley Livingston

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Princess. Captive. Gladiator. Always a Warrior. 
 
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary fighter Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed by 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 and sold 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 majority of books that I read have a lead character that is female.

Perhaps it is because the action movies and TV shows usually have male leads. I am a woman and if I am going to jump into another world I want to be a badass. This book gave off that impression right from the front cover.

Fallon is turning 17 and thinks she knows what she wants like most 17-year-olds do. The book description makes it sound like BAM she’s in gladiator school but it is a long journey from her home to where she finally ends up.

Slavery is a disgusting practice, past and present!

I have never imagined what it would be like because I feel rather safe in my country. This book made me think about what it would be like. I wish I could do what I want instead of having to go to work but in reality, I don’t HAVE to go to work. I can quit and walk out if I so chose.

As a princess and a young one at that she is fairly level headed and kind. That is not to say she is perfect. She comes to terms with a lot during her travel to the auction block and gains an unlikely friend on the way.

There are some surprises in this book that I saw coming and some that I did not. I don’t agree with all of her decisions but overall it has a very good theme about what true freedom really is and where your home and who your family is.

Throw in a man in uniform and let me swoon.

All fighting and no romance make for a dull book. There are several would-be suitors in the story from a childhood love to a betrothed and a muscled soldier. Guess which was my favorite! Brief snippets here and there sprinkled throughout the book helped fill my romance quota.

I liked this book even with the unlikable topic of slavery and at first, it was a little intense when she was taken but it all came together and she went after what she wanted, not letting anything or anyone stand in her way.

Warnings:

There was an attempted sexual assault and a weird cult group that made a brief appearance. They creeped me out but like I said they only had a brief appearance. There was a little bit of cussing but that is it.

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