The Valiant
The Valiant
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Series: Valiant Vol. 1   
Annotation: The daughter of a proud Celtic king is captured and sold to a training school for women gladiators under the patronage of Julius Caesar, circumstances that put her survival in the hands of an enemy who was responsible for her sister's death.
Catalog Number: #136508
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Pages: 372 pages
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: 0-448-49378-0
ISBN 13: 978-0-448-49378-7
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Fallon, a 17-year-old Prydainian princess, runs away from home, only to be snatched by slavers who take her to Rome, where she is sold into service as one of Julius Caesar's gladiatrices (female arena fighters). If she can earn enough fight money, she can purchase her freedom and seek vengeance on Caesar for his role in destroying her family during his conquest of Britain. It's a great plan, but the Morrigan (Celtic goddess) has other ideas, and Fallon ends up fighting for more than just herself. Livingston has written an exciting and absorbing tale that is deftly paced and deliciously detailed without being overwhelming; the presence of a strong female character and light romance will extend its appeal. The book is tethered to history ere really were female gladiators, though the author's note doesn't point to any sources. Link this to Kate O'Hearn's Valkyrie series or Julia Golding's The Silver Sea (2010), but don't limit recommendations to fans of historical fiction and mythology; try it with fans of the American Ninja Warrior television show, as well.
Kirkus Reviews
A Celtic princess is abducted, enslaved, and sent to a gladiatrix school in Julius Caesar's Rome.Fallon wishes to follow in the footsteps of her warrior older sister, Sorcha, who was lost leading a war band to recover their father, the king, after he was taken prisoner during a Roman incursion into Prydain. But, unwilling to risk losing another daughter, he has other plans—plans that spiral into devastating, unintended consequences, culminating in Fallon's abduction by slavers bound for Rome. While she doesn't make it easy for them, they do get her to Rome, where she is sold at auction to a school that trains women to fight in the arenas. She grapples with her sense of honor while dealing with rivals, romance, a big surprise, and a bigger, hidden threat. Fallon's warrior development follows a familiar trajectory in which her potential is annealed through hard work; the amount of rescuing she needs early on may frustrate. The forbidden romance isn't as convincing as the lush setting, which includes a complicated depiction of Roman slavery in which even slaves have mixed opinions on the institution. The ending resolves the immediate crisis while leaving plenty of threads up in the air for sequels. An author's note credits the 2001 discovery of evidence of real-life woman gladiators as the jumping-off point for this work of fiction. A familiar-feeling historical adventure elevated by use of setting. (Historical fiction. 12-16)
Publishers Weekly
On the night of her 17th birthday, Fallon, a Celtic warrior princess, is betrayed by her father when he promises her to her true love-s brother. Furious, Fallon flees, only to be captured by slave traders, taken to Rome, and sold to an elite training school (called a ludus) for female gladiators. Fallon learns that the school is owned by none other than Julius Caesar, the tyrant who killed her sister and tore her family apart. Facing immense danger as a combatant, Fallon quickly realizes that the ruthless politics of Rome are just as deadly. A engaging romance develops between Fallon and a young Roman soldier, but this relationship is secondary to that between Fallon and her sister: -Strong and sharp and dangerous as the sword she carried on her hip, Sorcha was my goddess even more than the Morrigan we both worshipped.- Livingston (the Wondrous Strange trilogy) skillfully illustrates Fallon-s emotional growth as she becomes a fearsome gladiatrix, her ties to the sisterhood within the ludus overshadowing her ties to the men that betrayed her. Ages 12-up. Agent: Jess Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Feb.)

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-ivingston shifts genres from fantasy set in modern New York City, as in the "Wondrous Strange" trilogy, to historical fiction set in ancient Rome. Fallon, the younger daughter of a Celtic king, sets out on a revenge mission the night of her 17th birthday and is captured by slavers, who sell her to a training academy for female gladiators. As she deals with her new status and the expectation that she will fight (and possibly kill) as a form of entertainment for others, Fallon confronts her feelings about what it means to be a slave and a warrior. After a slow start and some predictable plot developments, the story gains momentum and continues in the dynamic style of the author's previous books. This engaging tale is woven with historical details relating to Celtic and gladiator life. With the exception of Decurion Caius Varro, who seems to fall instantly in love with Fallon, the characters and relationships are well developed. The ending is sudden and leaves a side plot unexplained, but this may be resolved in the planned sequel. VERDICT This will likely appeal to fans of Livingston's earlier novels and to those who enjoy history-based adventures, especially those set during this time period, which is not well represented in YA literature.Judy Poyer, Odenton Regional Library, MD
Voice of Youth Advocates
Fallon, the daughter of a Celtic king, is poised to become a warrior when she is kidnapped by a slaver and sent to Rome. Her dreams are realized, however, once she is sold to a gladiator training school. As Fallon trains for the fight ahead, she chafes against the burden of being owned by another human and is surprised to find herself falling for a Roman soldier. What she ultimately discovers is that the greatest threat to her safety is not in the stadium at all but within the school itself, where jealousy and politics abound. Livingston should be lauded for such an original topic: the life of a female gladiator. Fallon is a strong-willed, highly skilled heroine who does not wait around to be rescued. Despite several bouts of violence, the bulk of the story consists of plotting and political machinations as Fallon navigates Roman culture. The relationship between Fallon and a Roman soldier develops much more rapidly than is believable, but most readers will be too distracted by the brief physical scenes between the two to care. The novel may spark an interest in history as readers encounter such real-life historical figures as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. A seasoned reader may see some of the surprise reveals coming several pages ahead, but some developments seem too coincidental. This book is a fun, thrilling read for those who are not bothered by a hefty page count.—Cheryl Clark.
Word Count: 94,385
Reading Level: 6.2
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.2 / points: 15.0 / quiz: 188902 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.7 / points:22.0 / quiz:Q71159
Lexile: 890L

Princess. Captive. Gladiator. Always a Warrior. 
Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king and the younger sister of the legendary fighter Sorcha. When Fallon was just a child, Sorcha was killed by 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 and sold 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.  
A richly imagined fantasy for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Cinda Williams Chima, The Valiant recounts Fallon’s gripping journey from fierce Celtic princess to legendary gladiator and darling of the Roman empire.

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