Finally, I have a use for that Latin course I took last year! I loved the Roman empire history of this book, it was really interesting and unique.

Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Valiant by Lesley Livingston. Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for sending me an unsolicited copy of this book. While a review was not requested, one is provided because a complimentary copy was provided. As always, all opinions are my own.

The story follows seventeen-year-old Fallon, the daughter of a Celtic king. After the death of her sister at the hands of Julius Caesar, Fallon vowed to become a fierce warrior and become the fighter her sister wasn't able to be. But before she gets the chance to show her abilities, she is captured and sold to an exclusive female gladiator academy, run by the man she despises most, Caesar. Fallon must prove herself in the arena to win her safety and buy her freedom.

Right off the bat, I loved the Roman elements of this book. Livingston was able to masterfully weave together a thrilling story and historical characters, including the likes of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. I've taken a history class and Latin, so I know a little bit of background about ancient Rome, but not more than your average reader. I really liked how Livingston incorporated those elements without making it seem boring and tedious. She explained the elements well and made them interesting and relevant to the story.

I also really loved how fierce Fallon was. I know a lot of times we brand every book as having a "fierce female lead," but this was one of the few occasions that I think the book deserves it. Fallon was an amazing fighter and constantly stood up for her convictions. She didn't let anyone push her around and even the few times she got involved romantically, she never let it interfere with her ultimate goals. A lot of times we get a FFL who is strong and everything and then a boy walks in and she falls apart instantly. Fallon didn't do that and I was so proud of her for it.

The story itself was interesting enough. I think there were some moments where I was wondering why something was happening, but for the most part, I enjoyed the plot. I thought the storyline was fairly unique, it wasn't really a fantasy, but it wasn't a full-on historical fiction either, it was more a fantasy without magic with a touch of historical elements.

I don't think that the main romance was anything special, I think that the story would have been basically the same without it but who knows? Maybe book two will offer a better romance development. I felt like the second/main romance was almost random and ill-organized. There was little chemistry between the characters and it felt a little insta-lovey to me. BUT, and that's an important but, this book isn't about the romance. It's about the FFL kicking some butt.

Overall, I quite enjoyed this book and will probably be picking up book two when it comes out!