The Valiant (The Valiant #1) – Lesley Livingston

The Valiant (The Valiant #1) – Lesley LivingstonTitle: The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston
Publishing Info: February 14, 2017 by Penguin
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 18, 2016

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.


Am I in a reading slump? Am I destined to be the black sheep for this year’s popular titles? Or do I just need to wait for similar opinions and reviews to surface?


This one didn’t do it for me. The pacing was a little too slow and there just wasn’t the amount of action that I expected. When a book advertises female gladiators, I’m expecting quite a bit of fighting or training or… something. Fallon was awesome in the beginning, being on Team Fallon and kind of pushing the boys aside but then I just lost interest in her character. She ended up annoying me, being more stubborn than logical, and then saying some really dumb stuff of the “oh, of course he doesn’t like me” realm. Meh. Stop it.

It was almost halfway or around halfway through the book for Fallon to even get to Rome and literally 75% of the way in for a single battle to happen. And then it was a party, a bargain, and the final battle of the book. What??? Where was like… everything? Again, I don’t NEED action to keep me hooked to a book but the rest of the plot and character development didn’t do it for me. Fallon started off awesome and then I didn’t feel like her character got anymore complex. There was a whole aspect of the book (which I can’t talk about because spoiler) that I thought could really have developed the characters some more and there could have been so much more done there but wasn’t. The romance in the book was also way underdeveloped. Barely into a boy as more than a friend in the very beginning and then pining over him the rest of the book (although I can give her some of that since they were childhood friends. I’ll take that as mourning someone close to you and not mourning the romance). Then a meh romance throughout the rest of the time in Rome when there could have been an awesome slow burn, a forbidden romance, any romantic tension at all. I wasn’t feeling it.

I’m mostly saddened that the plot didn’t really go anywhere here. The book can basically be summarized as: Fallon is stolen away to Rome. Plot twist happens that changes her view of things but if it wasn’t there, the rest of the book still could have happened. Kissy things at some point. An epic battle at the very end. End book. It just didn’t feel like there was a lot of meat to the story and I felt like there could have been a lot more plotting elements that could have developed the story so much more.

I also felt weird with the way the book ended. It was so much action all at once and then I’m assuming was set up for a sequel. I would have much preferred this to be a stand alone novel and had it wrapped up in one book. It felt like it was stretched out unnecessarily and forced to continue into a sequel.


Kept Me Hooked On: Historical Fiction. The gladiator concept and setting was a unique historical fiction (well unique to YA, I think) that I haven’t seen done often or at all! It was an interesting way to read historical fiction.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot. There was one big twist and that seemed to be all of the plot. I just wished that more had been built up and developed. There was plenty that could have been but it seemed like it all just happened instead of experiencing it.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I didn’t think this was a bad book but it really didn’t do it for me. Tons of other people really loved it so I’d recommend checking out reviews!



(Click the cover to see my review!)


Hi, I'm Brittany!
Hi, I'm Brittany!

I'm an avid reader, candle-maker, and audiobook lover! Here you'll find book reviews, fun blog posts, and my other loves of photography & craft beer!

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6 thoughts on “The Valiant (The Valiant #1) – Lesley Livingston

  1. Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    Sorry to hear you didn’t love this one. I have heard some great things about it and it sounds interesting enough so I might give it a shot and fingers crossed I enjoy it. Thanks for the honest review! <3

  2. Heather DeFilippis

    I’ve been wavering on this one a lot. On the one hand the concept sounds fantastic. On the other hand, I’ve heard a lot of lackluster reviews that make me feel like it would be a letdown. Maybe I’ll wait until I’m in a good place with books (not in the middle of 1 star review, for example), and then read it, just so I don’t continue in an existing slump.

  3. Brittany

    Aw I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this book! I really loved it ^^ Great review! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I hope your next read is more enjoyable for you 😀

  4. Cassi @ My Thoughts Literally

    YES! I completely agree. I think I liked this one a little bit more than you but it is one of those books where I liked it more at the time then I do afterwards. I agree that Fallon’s character development wasn’t great and the plot was definitely slow and a little boring. I liked it from a historical fiction perspective but as a story on the whole I didn’t love it.

    But I hear you on the book slump. I was in one that was months long and I just climbed out of it before reading this book and I firmly believe that if I had read some of the books at a different time I would have liked them more. So I hope you’re not in a book slump and if you are you get out of it soon.

  5. TeacherofYA

    I’ve heard this from other people too…you’re not the only one that feels this way about this book. So don’t worry: it’s not getting as many good reviews as you would think.
    I think I’m going to pass…I do have a hold for it on Overdrive, but we’ll see if I get around to reading it.

  6. Jessica

    I can totally see how this may not be a book for everyone. Fallon does have some massive personality flaws, but I think the Historical Fiction aspect is really what pulled me in the most.

    Good review 😀

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