YOU GUYS!! This book was all kinds of amazing and we are so excited to be a part of the blog tour today! We get to highlight one of my favorite weapons featured in the book, but before we share that, I want to tell you a bit about the book!The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: The Defiant
Published by Penguin on February 14th 2017
Genres: Ancient Civilizations, Fantasy, General, Historical, Legends, Myths, Fables, Young Adult Fiction
Lost to history, the story of the female gladiator has never been told. Until now.
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed while defending their home from the armies of Julius Caesar.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister's footsteps and earn her place in her father's war band. She never gets the chance.
Fallon is captured by ruthless brigands who sell her to an elite training school for female gladiators owned by none other than Julius Caesar himself. 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, deadly fights in and out of the arena, and perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier and her sworn enemy.
I’m so excited to get to share with you guys some information about one of the weapons used in The Valiant, the Dimachearus!
The name itself translates to as ‘bearing two knives’ which aptly describes the Dimacheari armaments. The Dimachearus fighters were armed with two scimitar blades known as siccae, curved and perfectly designed for slicing attacks on an opponent.
There are actually a couple of fighters who use the Dimachearus in The Valiant and I can’t tell you much without spoiling some of the story, so you’re just going to have to read it to find out just who uses these!
Let me just start by saying that I loved pretty much everything about this story. I had high, high hopes because of some of the raves I had seen floating around, and it truly didn’t disappoint.
Fallon lives in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha who died in battle against Julius Caesar… she strives to be the warrior that she was and hopes her father will appoint her to his royal war band, even pushing the boy she loves aside to attain this one honor. Her father however has other plans for her, and instead of facing them she runs, only to be captured by a ruthless group of slavers who end up selling her to a training school for female gladiators in Rome.
I think what I loved most about this story was the idea of the female gladiators… We’ve all seen Gladiator and I binge watched Spartacus on a weekend, but you never see anything about the women of the time who fought, and The Valiant gives a no-holds-barred look at what that could have looked like for these strong and brutal women. The story-telling is so vivid and filled with so much action that I couldn’t put this book down.
But underneath the blood and violence, the story encompasses so much more, exploring themes of sisterhood, politics, freedom and honor, and Livingston did an amazing job keeping me riveted to the story.
Of course there is some romance here and Fallon, in her homeland, is in love with Mael, who from the first page you can tell is sweet and lovely and you can see how their friendship evolved into more… sort of. Admittedly the beginning part of the book kind of rushes by to set up Fallon’s falling into the hands of the slavers and then being delivered to the training school, but the connection between the two rings true to me. That is until she meets Cai, a young Roman soldier. This is where the romance gets a bit muddied because while Fallon fights against the idea of falling for Cai, Mael seems to become a distant memory pretty quickly, and I don’t know that I truly believed the evolution of these two falling for each other. I think I needed more of their connection to buy into it. That said, the romance is really not what this story is about.
Sisterhood is a major theme here… Fallon’s new family are the gladiator’s she is forced to fight among and I really enjoyed watching her build bonds and relationships with those around her. Elka is probably my favorite secondary character in this book and I hope we see so much more of her in book 2. There is a bit of a twist that I’m not going to spoil, but just know that you might see it coming and you might not. I kind of a had a feeling about it so it didn’t come out of left field for me, but Livingston doesn’t make it easy to guess for sure.
There is also a bit of a side-plot where someone is threatening Fallon upon her arrival to the training camp, and while it wasn’t readily given away who was behind it all, it is pretty easy to figure out who it is, though ultimately, I wasn’t sure how this really was meant to impact the story as a whole, because big picture it really didn’t, and at times it sort of felt like unnecessary filler.
The end of this story is amazing! Everything builds into this spectacular, action-packed ending that will have you turning the last page and dying for more. I love where this story ends for Fallon and I can’t wait to see what Livingston has in store for her in the future.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction and kick-ass women then this is the book for you. I promise you’ll get a wild, adventure filled with battles, friendship and romance that you won’t want to put down until you turn the last page.
Thank you to the publisher for an early copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.