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(Valiant Hearts #1)

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,007 ratings  ·  352 reviews
Though once a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village. Dubbed "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest," her band of followers soon become enemies of the throne when they hijack ill-gotten gold meant for the king.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so leg
Paperback, 368 pages
Published March 3rd 2015 by Bethany House Publishers (first published February 24th 2015)
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Bess There is the "b" word of male persuasion used a few times late in book. Other than that, another character says something to effect, "you've been h* a…moreThere is the "b" word of male persuasion used a few times late in book. Other than that, another character says something to effect, "you've been h* and back..." Plus, very late in the book, the antagonist uses h* in a literal sense. No sexual graphics. The baron speaks about his dalliance discreetly. So, "clean" is in the eye the reader. (less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Dina Sleiman
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Hi and yes, I'm the author. I just wanted to mention how this book differs from my others. First of all, very important, this Valiant Hearts Series is geared toward a teen audience, but like many crossover YA novels, I think most adults will love it as well. Also, in keeping with the idea of putting spunky young women in legendary male roles, I have also upped the action and suspense levels from my other books. I think this book (and series) is a ton of fun, but it deals with some deep issues as ...more
Jaye Knight
Jul 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
3.5 Stars

I hate writing reviews to begin with, but it’s especially hard if it’s not a book I can gush over. Dauntless wasn’t one of my favorite books, which is somewhat surprising since I love anything like Robin Hood. But I will say this is very much just how the story hit me personally and not how it was written. I think what threw me off in the beginning was that the way in which the young men in Merry’s group were introduced left me initially thinking they were much younger than they were. T
Rachel McMillan
Dec 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fresh, snappy voice, brilliant dialogue and interesting play with narrative that almost seems omniscient at times while recalling the ballads and tales of yesteryear with a Robin Hood flare.....these are only the technical aspects that sew up this competent novel. This will be a sure-fire crossover it with the general market due to its fast-pace and colourful characters. Loved the action, loved the banter between Merry and her band and enjoyed learning about Timothy. Perfect historical detail me ...more
Haley S
Feb 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
AMAZING book! This book should be a must read for all teenage girls! The plot, story, characters, romance...was written amazingly. For me, loving romance and being a Christian, this book was perfect. I wish there were more books like this one!!
Rachelle Cobb
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoy YA fiction for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that strong heroines are celebrated, even expected. Dina Sleiman's Dauntless is no exception. Merry is not only strong; she has to be. She is not only a heroine in her story; she acts heroically every day.

Drawing from the legend of Robin Hood in a notable but never forced way, Dina Sleiman does an excellent job portraying life in 13th-century England. If you enjoy medieval fiction, you will love this book!

The only drawbacks f
Apr 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to TL by: goodreads giveaway
I received this via Goodreads FirstReads in exchange for an honest review.

May be unpopular opinion time...

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Started off well for me, I loved Merry, the gang, and the whole idea but after awhile it got 'meh' for me. Not because the book is bad or anything, I just got disconnected from it *shrugs*

You might like it better than me so give it a shot :)

2.5- 3stars
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
okay, but I didn’t love it.

g o o d :
- Robin Hood vibes, bc those are always delightful
- friendship, family-ship, all the good stuff. These kids were bloody loyal and it was great.
- strong female mc
- there was a lot of action

b a d :
- a lot of this seemed super cliche which annoyed me
- the writing in general was dull
- Merry was strong, but also seriously annoying for multiple reasons
- there was too much going on that I really didn’t care about
- romance was irritating. honestly, i didn’t see
Audrey ~AudgPaudg~
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For starters, I have three words:
Oh. My. Goodness.

This book had me hooked from the first chapter. As I'm not a big fan of Robin Hood, I was a little skeptic at the beginning. But once I realized that this was more than your average legend, it quickly became one of my favorite books.

I've never read historical fiction outside of English class, so this was pretty new to me. The writing was absolutely astounding. Really. The narrative and dialogue had a traditional Robin Hood feel to it, but it seem
Charity Andrews
Feb 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Ahh. What to say?! Where to start? Coming off of my Divergent high, the name of this book obviously intrigued me. It’s a YA book with some major girl kicking butt power!!

Lady Merry has lost her family under the cruel reign of King John (Yup! Like Robin Hood’s arch-nemesis). She and some other children had escaped and lived in the forest for 2 years. They lived off what they could find, or steal, and learned how to defend and take care of themselves.

This is such a fun book. I know it is a YA nove
This book was so good. I recommend it for teen christian girls. It was a clean romance that was so cute and perfect! *sighs* I LOVED all of the scripture throughout and prayers. I also really loved Timothy Grey, he was so sweet and caring. I wish I had a Timothy Grey! ;)

I felt really bad for Allen, he was also so sweet, but he does get his story in the next book, so I cannot wait to see that.

Anyway, go read this book. You won't regret it! :D
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
This book started out SO promising. (This is why I hate prologues.) Merry's first person POV practically crackled, it was so fiery and energetic. I was really looking forward to spending the book inside her head, learning more of her story. But Chapter 1 came along and it was third person POV...and the book kind of went downhill from there.

I really don't approve of multiple third person POVs unless there's a really good reason for it + the author can get inside each character's head equally well
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
About this book:

“Born a Baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village—a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.
Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Sigghhhhh, another not-for-me. If you like Christian romances, this book isn't bad. However, it wasn't what I was looking for.
I didn't expect it to be so romance-focused, especially with the love triangle. I was frustrated by the romance because I felt Lady Merry had the potential to be an intriguing, strong heroine but instead she came across as continually emotional and vulnerable. 85% of her inner dialogue involves her daydreaming about a guy or mourning over a romantic what-might-have been.
Roseanna White
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To my mind, there's nothing better than adventure, romance, and history all combined--and Dina Sleiman combines them with stylistic prowess and perfect skill! The characters of DAUNTLESS will make you laugh, smile, cheer, and be ready to stand up and fight beside them for justice. I love how she captures the flavor of the Robin Hood tales, yet makes them even more noble. Not just stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, Merry and her band of children-warriors are stealing from the rich in ...more
Yo Leo Ficción Cristiana
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: inglés, 2015


An exceptional heroine.

Usually the stories about brave women and fighters since the beginning have a hard and difficult life, away from the privileges of others in their society. But not in Dauntless.

Merry was a privileged daughter and had everything, but after his father committed an unforgivable mistake before the king; everything Merry knows disappears.

Then she becomes the opposite of his former life: a thief.

She’s in charge of an orphanage and has to support and
Mar 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dauntless is the first book I've read by this author and it was quite enjoyable. The leading heroine of the story is a 17 year old girl, Merry Ellison, whose family was murdered by the King of England when she was 15. She lives with a group of 23 children in the forest, ranging in ages from seventeen down to two and a half years old. Merry is the daughter of a Baron who committed treason, and she is the natural leader of the orphaned group of children. They must stay hidden in order to survive a ...more
J.L. Mbewe
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Last year I stumbled across the cover reveal for Dauntless, featuring a female Robin Hood. It caught my attention and snagged my heart. I had to read it. The story of Robin Hood has been one of my favorite stories since childhood. From Disney's cartoon with the fox and host of animal characters to Walt Disney's 1952 classic of Robin Hood and His Merry Men to Prince of Thieves to Veggie Tales Robin Good and His Not So Merry Men. So, you can see, I just had to read this, even though Historical Rom ...more
Age Appropriate For: 12 and up for mild romance and mild violence
Best for Ages: 12 to 20

Sometimes books like this are hard to review. I enjoyed the setting, and parts of it were interesting, but I never felt connected to the characters, which greatly decreased my enjoyment of the book.

Merry Ellison is like a female version of Robin Hood, only she does what she does to protect a group of children that were orphaned during a raid on her home village by King John. She is a strong girl, and while sh
Laura Grace
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I so enjoyed “Dauntless”! It was most definitely action packed, but also unexpectedly had an emotional side to it that did pull at my heart strings.

I really liked how the story started off with Merry and how it progresses to her meeting Timothy. It was interesting reading from both of their perspectives concerning situations in the moment as well as the past. I can't say if I had a preference in reading Merry's or Timothy's point of view because I could relate to both of them in some kind of way
Anna Hurtt
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A YA medieval inspirational romance with a Robin Hood twist... What's not to love? I truly enjoyed this exciting, heart-pounding adventure with Merry, Timothy, Allen, Wren, and the rest of the colorful, enjoyable characters.

I loved the pace of the book, which didn't let up for a moment as it switched between different characters' points of view. I enjoyed the suspense and mystery aspect as well. Also, the elements of faith were woven in perfectly.

Excellent characters, excellent story, excellen
Ctf Devourer
Feb 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Girls and Boys 13+
Recommended to Ctf by: Author
Wyndemere pounded the table before him. “Then you understand that you still owe me several bodies to hang from my walls. You WILL capture the ghosts if you wish to remain in my employ. Though I imagine you have made the challenge considerably harder on yourself by spooking them deeper into the forest. Let the women and children go, but find the leaders and deliver them to me.”

Book: Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman, Bethany House Publishers, 2015
Genre: Adventure, Historical Fiction
Target Audience: Gi
Dina Sleiman’s Dauntless is a young adult novel with so much more than what can be held within those two words. Young adult, or YA as the genre is referred to in the publishing industry, revolves around characters who experience a coming of age. While the Dauntless characters certainly experience maturation over the course of the novel, this story is about so much more than the transition from childhood to adulthood. Sleiman has created a world of both magic and reality within the confines of me ...more
Grace Mullins
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
I wasn't too sure about this book. While I was initially excited at the prospect of a Robin Hood retelling starring a female in the role of the outlaw leader, some less than positive reviews from others made me wary of it. But since I am to review it's sequel, I decided to go ahead and give it a go. And well, I... liked it. Yes, I do agree with other reviewers that some of the antics of the characters were immature for their age, and the hero was a bit of a snob at first, but I was able to look ...more
Jun 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-read
Dauntless was a great debut novel. It didn't feel like a typical YA story, maybe because of the setting and size of the book, which was nice. I loved the Robin Hood elements and I really enjoyed the characters.

There was a little bit of a love triangle , but it was more of a question of "Is Merry going to end up with someone and, if so, who?" I loved that while Dauntless is the beginning of a new series, it didn't have a cliffhanger ending.

All in all, a great read. A good story with adventure an
Tricia Mingerink
Some parts of this book I really enjoyed. I liked the Robin Hood-esque feel. I loved Merry's interactions with her band.

Other parts, I wasn't such a fan off. Besides one action scene at the beginning, Merry's band doesn't do much for a big chunk of the book, making the middle a little boring for me. There was a love triangle that grated on me a little bit.

While the content is appropriate for YA, the writing style and tone feel like an adult book.
3.5 stars. Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman was an adventurous YA tale… thoughtful, poignant, sweet.

Telling a story something like Robin Hood’s, except with a female leader, this book follows the life of Lady Merry Ellison, whose father was killed as a result of his assassination plot against King John, along with many other people of their village. Merry is now responsible for a passel of orphaned village children. And officially an outlaw if it’s ever found out that she survived the slaughterin
Sara Goff
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I work with teens through an educational charity I run that supports underprivileged schools. I'm always looking for inspirational YA literature to send to our teens, most of whom are desperate for a role model. Dauntless by Dina Sleiman, a story of adventure and romance set in Medieval Times, qualifies on every level.

Having well-rounded main characters is essential to inspirational fiction, in my opinion, and especially for teens who have an excellent "fake" radar and who want to connect with t
Kelly Bridgewater
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’m always on a lookout for good young adult novels for my preteen boys to read. My oldest loved, The Storm Siren by Mary Weber, so when I saw Dauntless displayed at the 2014 ACFW conference, I knew I would be looking into the book. It is a fantasy young adult novel in the vein of Robin Hood. What young boy would not like a good Robin Hood story? I’m glad I took the time to read this book before my boys because I loved it, and I’m afraid I won’t get the copy back once my boys get a hold of it.

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Award-winning author, Dina Sleiman, writes stories of passion and grace. Most of the time you will find this Virginia Beach resident reading, biking, dancing, or hanging out with her husband and three children, preferably at the oceanfront. Since finishing her Professional Writing MA in 1994, she has enjoyed many opportunities to teach literature, writing, and the arts. Her debut novel, Dance of t ...more

Other books in the series

Valiant Hearts (3 books)
  • Chivalrous (Valiant Hearts, #2)
  • Courageous (Valiant Hearts, #3)

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