The Valiant: {ARC review}

Publication date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: The Valiant #1
Format: Paperback ARC, 371 pages
Source: ALAMW17

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.

I was hesitant to pick this one up because I knew it could either be really good or really bad. I am happy to report that it was actually really good! After reading it, I would definitely like more stories about female gladiators. 

As the synopsis says, Fallon is the daughter of a Celtic king. She longs to be a great warrior like her sister Sorcha was before she was killed in battle with the Romans. But something goes wrong on her birthday, and as a result she is captured by slave traders bound for Rome. 

Ok, I'm going to start off with what I absolutely did not like about The Valiant. In my opinion, it would have been PERFECT without the romance. It's not that Cat was a bad love interest, but Fallon was a slave, and he was a Roman officer. I can't speak about how that might have happened back in the day, but I don't think it really would have. Plus, their romance happened so quickly. Fallon had absolutely hated Romans all her life and yet as soon as she meets a handsome one, it's as if all of those feelings had disappeared completely. There is also the small detail that she is going to be fighting people to do the death so I think that romance would be the last thing on her mind. 

Aside from my gripe about the romance, everything else was great. There were kickass female friendships, bad guys, betrayals, intense action scenes, and something else that I won't say because it's a spoiler. 

Fallon was a likable MC. She had a lot of character development since she went from a princess to a slave. She had moments of realization about how she was ashamed that she had never noticed the slaves in her household before, because they were just "there." Now she was experiencing what it meant to be one, so her entire perspective on life changed. 

 I will say that if you are looking for the pages to be filled with gladiator fights, you won't find that. There were only a handful of fights, with the big one happening in the very last chapter. The Valiant most focused on Fallon's life in the Ludus, and her forbidden romance with Cai. Regardless of that, all of the fight scenes were very well written. There were also quite a few gory details here and there, so be aware if you are squeamish.

There is no cliffhanger ending. The big fight happens, and everything wraps up quite nicely, although it does leave room for a sequel, which I am happy to report that there will be one!

Pick up The Valiant if you want a fast paced story with kickass women, great female friendships, intense fights, and a little bit of Ancient Rome.


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