In Lesley Livingston's THE VALIANT, Fallon, a 17-year-old member of the Cantii tribe, is far more than a tribe princess. Raised by her sister, Sorcha, Fallon has been taught all the skills needed to be a fierce warrior of the Cantii war bands. Fallon’s determination to prove herself to her tribe has been her sole focus since the death of her sister in battle against the massive armies of Julius Caesar. But, when her father attempts to prevent Fallon from following in Sorcha’s footsteps, Fallon finds herself in an impossible situation.
"Lesley Livingston manages to capture the feeling of ancient Rome perfectly in her novel. Both glamorous and dangerous, Rome serves as an exciting backdrop for an even more thrilling storyline."
Fallon’s situation goes from bad to worse when she is captured by a rich slaver. Instead of being sold into a brothel, she is bought by a training school for female gladiators. Forced to fight for her enemy, Julius Caesar, Fallon learns there is a lot more to being a successful gladiator than being decent with a sword. Faced with unknown enemies and dangerous motives, Fallon has only a handful of people she can trust --- one of them being a handsome Roman soldier named Cai. While Fallon may be a stranger to the deadly Roman games, she is determined to buy her freedom on her own terms.
THE VALIANT by Lesley Livingston is an exciting, fast-paced book that readers will tear through. The heroine of the novel, Fallon, is a fiercely independent woman who has gone through a lot of heartbreak. Throughout the novel, she struggles to come to terms with fighting for Julius Caesar, who she perceives to be dishonorable and cruel. Back in her tribe, she learned to fight honorably. But Fallon quickly learns there is no honor in the gladiator games she must partake in. At times, Fallon seems a bit two-dimensional and unrealistic in her emotions. However, Lesley Livingston saves the novel with the unique storyline.
Fallon, once training to be a warrior for her tribe, is forced into training as a gladiatrix, a name for a female gladiator. Lesley Livingston manages to capture the feeling of ancient Rome perfectly in her novel. Both glamorous and dangerous, Rome serves as an exciting backdrop for an even more thrilling storyline. The romance in the novel is sweet and does not take away from the novel’s main focus. If anything, the romance strengthens the reader’s perception of Fallon as an independent warrior. Overall, THE VALIANT is an excellent novel revolving around one girl’s struggle to uphold her values in the midst of the dangerous and thrilling gladiator games. Full of political intrigue and deadly combat, THE VALIANT is a page-turner until the very end.
Reviewed by Kate F., Teen Board Member on March 15, 2017