The Valiant #1
Princess. Captive. Gladiator.
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.
When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.
Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii 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. 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 and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.
Published: February 14th 2017
“There is only forward. Only tomorrow. No yesterday, no going back. And nothing of value is left behind, so nothing is truly lost.”
This was such a fun story. Who knew I had thing for gladiator/warrior girls and mythology— specifically Celtic mythology since the main character is guided by the goddess of war/death?
Keeping it short: After Fallon gets kidnapped and sold to the Romans as a gladiator, she starts to see things aren’t as she was taught. She has to survive the pit while also figuring out who is sending her death threats.
It took a minute to get into the story, especially when a character or two in the beginning barely get any development before we never see them again… which kind of made me look sideways at the book. It’s usually the ending that’s a bit rushed, but for me, it was the beginning that flew by and had little substance. It just felt like we need to give some exposition before everything gets flipped on it’s head and the execution ended up feeling lazy.
“We were castoffs and slaves, orphans and unwanteds and used-to-be princesses…and we were mighty.”
Having an inner look at the gladiator lifestyle and the dynamic between the girls was interesting. Yet, the sisterhood of the gladiators… wasn’t as much as I was expecting? I mean, Fallon only really made one friend and while I loved the development of the two, I was expecting all the girls being supportive and stuff. I probably shouldn’t have though… considering there’s a competition and stuff…
“Be brave, gladiatrix, he said, And be wary. Bright things beget treachery. Beautiful things breed envy. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.”
Fallon as a character was someone I can root for. Yeah, she was a bit impulsive and didn’t make the smartest decisions, but it made her realistic… even if I did yell at the book and told her to shut up and listen for a minute. But she was loyal and strong and her character development was done nicely. I liked that how though she was this fierce warrior daughter of a Celtic king, she wasn’t a special snowflake or a perfect fighter.
I can’t really say I was nervous for the characters, at least where the villain comes in. I was more scared of Caesar and Cleopatra— they were unpredictable and I don’t trust them at all… and I love that I’m wary of them.
I was really feeling the romance between Cai and Fallon. Yes, it happened quickly, yet I liked their development. They both compliment each other, despite their differences of beliefs and histories. I can’t say it added anything to the story other than a forbidden aspect, but they were cool together, especially towards the end.
Speaking of the end, it sets up nicely for the sequel, it’s not exactly a cliffhanger, but you know more is going to happen.