Guest Review: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston

Title: The Valiant (The Valiant, #1)
Author: Lesley Livingston
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Publisher: Razorbill
Hardcover, 372 Pages
Published February 2017

Summary: 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.

Today on the blog we have a guest review from Rheanne over at Rhea Reads! They were kind enough to stop by and review The Valiant and share their thoughts on it, and we couldn't be more excited to have them here as our guest reviewer for today! So without further ado, let's get into it!

I’ve honestly been scared to read this until now. I was afraid that I wouldn’t like it very much and it would turn out to be yet another boring, historically-based YA novel. BUT WOW. NO. This was fantastic. I loved it so much and though I could have loved MORE-NESS, I loved this anyway.

My Thoughts

Fallon’s character hasn’t developed much in my opinion, but I still very much like her personality.

As I will mention later, Fallon didn’t really develop as much as I would’ve expected, or as I’ve seen other characters develop in other novels I’ve read, but I’m hoping to see Fallon be a more deep and complex character in the next installment of this series. While I didn’t get to see much of Fallon’s character develop, I did get to know some of her personality, and I really liked it. She was noble, honorable, chivalrous, and selfless. She was a good person, even in morally challenging situations, and I never had a moment where I thought she was a bad person. She had her flaws, she was not perfect, but she was a really good person despite all that so I definitely loved Fallon’s character.

It was so fun to read about the Gladiator events in Rome.

At first I was scared that I would hate reading about this and that I would find it a boring subject, but wow, I was entertained and intrigued by the whole story. I wish I could’ve read more about the Gladiator events, but they apparently were not a huge part of the story. While that was disappointing, I was still so intrigued by this story and finished it rather quickly.

None of the characters really seemed to be three-dimensional, other than Fallon who was barely three-dimensional herself.

We as readers spend the whole novel inside Fallon’s head and we get to know her personality, values, and thoughts quite well. But I still felt like I didn’t get to know her as well as a reader should get to know the main character in a novel. And even if I did get to know Fallon a bit, I didn’t get to know any other characters at all. I don’t know if it was a job poorly done by the author that made the readers unable to fully get to know anyone, or if it was just because Fallon wasn’t the sort of person to go around creating deep and tight bonds with others. All I know is that all the characters seemed dull, and flat, and without a diverse personality.

There was not much bonding between characters, or fleshing out of relationships.

Fallon made a friend in Elka and also was able to meet other friends and had the chance to strengthen familial ties, but it never really happened. Fallon never really bonded with other characters, and so readers will never get to really know the characters. Fallon and Cai, whose romantic relationship is promised and advertised in the synopsis for the book, have little to no romantic chemistry. Actually, scratch that — they have no chemistry at all, romantic or not. It just didn’t happen. The so-called romance between the two came out of nowhere and didn’t really excite me as a reader at all. Hopefully this changes in the second novel.

I don’t really know how much of the plot actually happened.

So I was obviously, no doubt at all, entertained by this story. I flew through it and had little to no complaints. But as I settle down in the aftermath and take time to really think about the story and what happened and all that jazz, I’ve noticed that while it was so entertaining and different to read, the plot was really slow and nothing drastic or very consequential even happened. I think I’m okay with that? Because I was still entertained and satisfied with the story?? Buuuuuttt, I’m really hoping for some loose ends to be tied up in the next installment of this series, and I’m also hoping for the plot to pick up and for something other than waiting and fighting in arenas to happen.

Concluding Thoughts

In conclusion, I really enjoyed this! There were some problems, and I’ve noticed that now that I’ve calmed down from the excitement and elation I felt after finishing. I can’t really let that affect my rating, though it probably should’ve. I think despite some plot problems, lack of romantic chemistry, poorly formed and/or portrayed friendships / familial bonds, and flat characters everywhere I looked, I would still recommend this because if you just read it fast and don’t stop to contemplate and criticize every single page, I think that anyone could really enjoy this novel and its bloody arena battles!

We'd like to once again thank Rheanne for stopping by The Book Bratz today to post this guest review. You can read the original review over on their blog by clicking HERE!

** Psst! Interested in guest reviewing on The Book Bratz? Shoot us an email at or DM us on Twitter (@thebookbratz) and we'd love to have you!

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