We are so excited to be a part of the blog tour for the newly released THE DEFIANT by Lesley Livingston! If you haven’t started this series we highly recommend it! Before we share out thoughts on book 2, here are the book details!The Defiant by Lesley Livingston
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: The Valiant
Published by Penguin on January 23rd 2018
Genres: Ancient Civilizations, Fantasy, General, Historical, Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult Fiction
The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life in this lush sequel to the acclaimed historical fantasy The Valiant.Be brave, gladiatrix... And be wary. Once you win Caesar's love, you'll earn his enemies' hate.Fallon was warned.Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar's victorious gladiatrix.In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon's heart - and her love for Roman soldier Cai - but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors.The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.
I’ve been waiting to get my hands on The Defiant since the moment I finished The Valiant. Not only does Lesley Livingston write a fantastic story but she had me totally invested in these characters and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next for them. Don’t hate me for being slightly vague with this review – I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone and that means there are some things I can’t say…trust me, you will thank me for it.
The Defiant picks up shortly after The Valiant ended and life at the Ludus Achillea is business as usual but they are currently hosting the Ludus Amazona gladiatrixes and Fallon hasn’t heard from Cai for over a month which means her mood isn’t all that great. When Cai finally shows up, he has the papers that will transfer ownership of the ludus to Sorcha which is great news but what happens next throws Fallon, Cai, and the Achillea gladiatrixes into the middle of a political move, led by Pontius Aquila, that they weren’t expecting.
I’m not going to say a lot about the details of what went down because I don’t want to ruin this for anyone, but Livingston surprised me! The set up was done well and as they fight their way out of the ludus, Fallon is faced with some tough decisions and a tactical retreat is necessary to come up with a plan to save Sorcha and figure out a way to get the ludus back. The group spends a good portion of their time as fugitives since they are being hunted by Pontius Aquila and the Sons of Dis.
There is so much I enjoyed about this book. First, there is a lot of action – It starts on page one and doesn’t really stop until the end of the book. Second, I love the relationships and friendships. Cai and Fallon find moments to connect despite all the challenges they face. Don’t get me wrong – things aren’t perfect for them as they are still learning how to trust each other and they of course, they are on the run, but I loved the moments they had one on one together. Also, the friendship between Elka and Fallon is great – they trust and respect each other and are willing to do what they need to in order to protect each other and their ludus. I liked how Livingston integrated in the new characters into the story too. Quint was definitely my favorite and his interactions with Elka were fantastic.
I thought the secondary characters had a bigger role to play in this book and they all added to the story. Of course, there are those I already mentioned but we also get to see how things come to a head between Fallon and Nyx, Aeddan becomes a critical character, and the Amazon warriors become a part of the story in a way I didn’t expect them to.
This book revolves around the senator’s determination to rebel against Caesar and because Fallon and the Ludus Achillea are tied to him, they are thrown right into the middle of their political ambitions. I can’t say a lot about this but Aquila and the Sons of Dis are determined to use both against Caesar. With that said, Fallon isn’t willing to be used and will do whatever she can to protect her friends and family.
In the end, I thought this was a great book two in the series and I look forward to seeing what Livingston does next. The story and the action kept me turning the pages and the characters had me engaged in the story throughout. If you are looking for a book that has all of these things and takes you into a world of gladiators and political deception, consider checking this one out.
Thank you to the publisher for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review.