*4.5 stars* Holy freaking cow, that was better than expected. I haven't heard of a female gladiator --gladiatrix -- before, much less read a story abo*4.5 stars* Holy freaking cow, that was better than expected. I haven't heard of a female gladiator --gladiatrix -- before, much less read a story about one, but Livingston delivered. And then some.
Fallon is a woman but she is also a warrior, not one of those identities ever being the dominant trait. When she fights, there is a valor, fervor and mercy that is wonderfully, uniquely female and, I know she's fictional and all but, there was a sense of pride that I got as I read VALIANT, for her and for my fellow members of the fairer sex. Livingston managed to not only balance those traits, but made her a beautiful blend of the two. This book didn't just entertain the hell out of me, it evoked deeper emotions in me that were wholly unexpected but not unwelcome. Fallon was put through much, as we well know how lovely ancient Roman times can be - what with the rampant slave trading, wars and blood games - but her humanity and noble heart shone through all the way. She was somehow perfect...but still flawed? Gosh this book is hard to describe, but there was character development. She was an idealist at the start, being born into privilege gave her that luxury, but after being disillusioned in life, she clung onto her ideals even while she learnt to be pragmatic about it. And that was what made her so likable from start to finish, to see all the shit cards that life hands to her (and they were plentiful, to be sure) and see the way she dealt with them.
And of course the romance was pretty dang sweet too. Although it did move a little fast at the beginning; not really insta-love, but it toes the line a little too close for comfort. I won't spoil who, but I felt it was a little too convenient?? And too perfect... And we know next to nothing about his background. His family, his friends, I don't really know much of what he does really, other than romance Fallon. But OK, I loved him too cause he was such a precious lil thing. His name was pretty awesome too.
Pace was great, especially towards the back (although most things became a tad bit predictable). I'm sitting with deadlines piling up but nope, VALIANT first work later. After Fallon became a gladiatrix ferreal, everything was just hurtling along and I loved every page of it. Although the start could be slight a bit of a drag, the backstory and world-building really intensified the plot towards the later half of the story, and I got my share of goosebumps and teared a little when (view spoiler)[the bit about Arviragus cropped up in Rome. Such a bittersweet tale and reunion (hide spoiler)].
Apart from those, the secondary cast was great too! Gotta love badass female friendships, especially when it starts out with animosity that morphs into a grudging alliance then true friendship. I loved the diverse backgrounds of all the gladiatrix and slaves that Fallon meets - from orphans to castoffs to the free folk and prince/princesses. And family. Makes me all warm and cuddly inside now. :)) Although I did find the secondary cast pretty lacking in terms of depth...they did start off with great potential but just sort of faded after awhile. Even her BFF :((
BUT I STILL LOVE THIS SERIES SO. I can't wait to find out about that lil bit of WTF moment back there. It was a random bit of curveball, but you can just feel some legit shitstorm building at the background. I would love to see more of the male gladiators in the world too. How do they interact with the gladiatrix of their times? Was it a fierce camaraderie among fellow warrior-slaves, or a tense rivalry? That would give the story a whole new dimension to reckon with, me feels.
I remember coming across her other YA series years back when they were getting quite the hype in the bookverse but not being particularly impressed with their premise, but VALIANT has convinced me otherwise. Imma go check out her other series while you guys, if you haven't, checkout this book from amazon. (Huhu see what I did there.)
Really, there're too little successful ancient Roman (not just ancient Romanesque, mind) YA series with just the right amount of adventure, action, romance and sisterhood-themed out there. So whatcha waitin' for, young gladiolus?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I need some time...to process everything. But Sarah really outdone herself this time. ACOWAR was breathtaking, heartbreaking, so bittersweet and...soI need some time...to process everything. But Sarah really outdone herself this time. ACOWAR was breathtaking, heartbreaking, so bittersweet and...so full of heart and soul. I could feel how much of her own emotions and her own self (does this make sense? Lol) she poured into her writing. This series will always have a special place in my heart.
Review to come as I go cry a bit more.
Pre-Read I was just rereading ACOMAF and the part with the Bone Carver came up. Then I had a sudden epiphany. (?!?!)
(view spoiler)[I was super confused with the ending of ACOMAF, why did the King of Hybern just spare Rhys and friends after Feyre pleaded with him? He could've just got rid of them to spare himself any future troubles as Hybern literally had them by the balls. (Mor's words not mine) And why would he ally himself with the mortal queens? And make them immortal?! But the Bone Carver said the Book of Breathings can only be used by people who has been reforged/Made, so Hybern is trying to reforge those queens to be like Feyre, and force them to use the Cauldron to break down the wall. He's planning to invade human lands...with humans? Lol. (hide spoiler)]
Ok it seems pretty obvious now that I've said it, but...am I the only one who got this a day and one reread after?...more
Oh. Ok. Wow there is much to think about, peoples. WW wouldn't be my first pick in this series, but that level of plot twists was just whamming into mOh. Ok. Wow there is much to think about, peoples. WW wouldn't be my first pick in this series, but that level of plot twists was just whamming into me. CONSTANTLY. SO CRAY. Definitely an award just for that plot planning. However that said, there was less action, more should-I-should-I-nots with the romance (which I get, and I admire Vhalla her strong stance. But forgive me when I say I'm a little jaded with her constant heartache), and I was pretty detached to the story the entire time. It might've been the book, or just time away from the series (due to the wait for WW's release), but this definitely removed the crazy passionate enjoyment I got from WW's predecessors.
I won't rate it (yet), cause my emotions are in a fair bit of tangle. To love or not to, psh. Kova was brutal in this one. Still reeling from so much loss. SO. MUCH.
So WW starts with Vhalla at the Crossroads after running from Aldrik at the camp up North. She's looking into information with regards to the Knights of Jadar who she has heard so much about and have tried to kill her before. But it isn't long that she has to return to the capital. She has some happy and tearful reunions, and some that are less than cheerful, but the homecoming after the war heralded the start of a new fight for Vhalla, as some power hungry fools are still clamoring for the reopening of the Crystal Caverns. It's every person for their own, and any friend can turn foe at any moment.