RELEASE DATE: February 14, 2017
AUTHOR: Lesley Livingston
GENRE: Young-Adult, Historical, Fantasy, Romance.
SYNOPSIS: The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.
I enjoyed this book but honestly It wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be. I loved the whole female gladiators concept of this book but I’m a little bit disappointed with some of the aspects of this book. The story didn’t excite me much, the characters are okay but nothing impressive and the romance was totally dull. This was my first book from Lesley Livingston so I don’t know what to expect from her and basing on the synopsis I had put some expectations on it which this book failed to meet. Nonetheless, I still think it’s a good read because despite the issues, I liked the unique concept and the setting.
The Story follows seventeen year old Fallon who is a daughter of a proud Celtic King. Fallon always admired her older sister Sorcha and wanted to become a legendary warrior like her. During a battle against Caeser, her sister dies leaving her heart broken and making her hate Romans even more than before. After years of hard struggle, Fallon is finally ready to join her father’s royal band army but she doesn’t know her father has other plans for her. On the eve of her Seventeenth birthday, her father announces her marriage to a neighbor Celtic king which she is totally against of but before she can convince her father she gets captured by the slave traders. She later gets sold to an elite training academy for female gladiators owned by Julius caesar, the very tyrant ruler who she immensely hates. In order to survive, Fallon needs to become a strong gladiatrix and fight for Caesar, her worst enemy. Unfortunately, Fallon gets the attention of other enemies who sends her chilling threats and will do anything to destroy her.
I can’t connect with any of the characters in this book. I liked Fallon but she wasn’t as great as I expected her to be. Being a warrior I expected her to be a kickass girl who has badass fighting skills but instead we get a rebellious stubborn girl with amateur fighting skills. She becomes a skilled fighter only after joining the academy and before that she’s just a stubborn princess so that’s disappointing a bit. Cai is a roman soldier who falls for Fallon and only appears when needed. The romance between Cai and Fallon is totally dull. There is zero chemistry between them, I mean there is no tension, no sparks or any angst between them. It was also quite disturbing to see how quickly she falls for Cai and doesn’t even mourn for her childhood best friend/lover’s death even for once. As for the supporting characters, I loved Elka. She’s a fellow slave who’s got sold along with Fallon. She’s really a strong and smart character that I really liked and I enjoyed her sisterly relationship with Fallon. Honestly, I liked Elka more than Fallon and I want to know more about her story.
The plot was good but nothing amazing. The story started with a great start but later it went downhill, when nothing exciting seems to happen and it dragged until the end. The author didn’t give much focus to the secondary characters. The plot twists are pretty easy to guess and the battle scenes in the arena is the only part I enjoyed the most and I wish there are more fighting scenes in the book. The writing style is okay-ish and the entire story was told from Fallon’s POV. I would’ve enjoyed the book more if it was written in multiple POV’s because I really want to see the story from different perspectives. I loved the world building and the unique concept of female gladiators. I’ve never read a book with female gladiators before so It’s kinda refreshing to read this book and would love to explore more of this world.
Overall, I like it but I don’t love it! Nonetheless, It’s a good start for a new series and I hope the next book going to be better with more action.
Despite the issues, I would recommend everyone to give this a try because you might enjoy this more than I did.