*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
What a fun blend of paranormal romance, steampunkish historical/urban fantasy! I have a soft spot for the femme fatale in men's garb, but can I just sWhat a fun blend of paranormal romance, steampunkish historical/urban fantasy! I have a soft spot for the femme fatale in men's garb, but can I just start my whole review with Lincoln Fitzroy? After the 910071526383029 alpha males in these general genre pools, it's quite hard to build a man that'd can this jam (ahaha such bad English phrases ohmylord). But he did.
He was almost a Victorian version of Jericho Barrons, but slightlymore realistic. And Charlie was the perfect amount of sass, guts, brains and feminine to compliment Fitzroy, and the household staff of 3 at Lichfield Towers were the perfect (albeit generic) secondary cast and such a joy to read about. (But why do all cooks across all genres have the same personality?!!?!?? It's unnerving with its sameness but oddly still endearing)
Such a great introduction to the world (even though I'm assuming Archer's other series overlap with this), an engrossing plot and superbly fun cast of characters. AND THAT SLOW BURN ROMANCE BETTER AMOUNT TO SOMETHING.
This...sounds like Throne of Glass...legit. That tournament in the first book, complete with love triangle that involves the prince, and magic. But liThis...sounds like Throne of Glass...legit. That tournament in the first book, complete with love triangle that involves the prince, and magic. But like how I loved both An Ember in the Ashes and Nameless by Jennifer Jenkins even though they're carbon copies of each other, I have a feeling I'm gonna really like Crown's Game.
Well, I've preordered it and yes I'm shamelessly and eagerly awaiting that fun preorder pack Evelyn's sorta promised on her website. YAYYERS.
This is the first I've heard of the chilling Donner's Party incident (yes, I am ignorant blah so sue me, but hey, I'm honest), but I'mQuickie Review
This is the first I've heard of the chilling Donner's Party incident (yes, I am ignorant blah so sue me, but hey, I'm honest), but I'm going to hazard a guess and say DONNERS OF THE DEAD is a darn good rendition of the true event.
This is also my first Karina Halle book and damn, this lady can write horror! There was this one part near the end that made me dizzy with y'know, fear and suspense and anticipation I literally had to stop reading for a minute to calm my tits. Seriously. Scary shit. (view spoiler)[I'm talking about that part where the trees were scratching the hut Eve and Jake hid in, all on their lonesome. (hide spoiler)]
The romance was a toe-curling, sweet thang that grows on you and warms your heart. This chemistry between Eve and Jake blossomed amidst terrible circumstances, but they become each other's pillar of support both emotionally and physically in their battles. It wasn't combustible, but it was as good.
I loved the ending and I loved the speculation on the journey the Donners and their party had to travel and the cause of the zombiefication (though it's just a tad unrealistic).
DONNERS OF THE DEAD is a quick, exhilarating read that I'd recommend to friends just getting into the horror/romance genre!...more