- Page Count: 336
- Release Date: January 23, 2018
- My Rating: 4 stars
The darling of the Roman Empire is in for the fight of her life. Be brave, gladiatrix… And be wary. Once you win Caesar’s love, you’ll earn his enemies’ hate.
Fallon was warned. Now she is about to pay the price for winning the love of the Roman people as Caesar’s victorious gladiatrix.
In this highly anticipated sequel to THE VALIANT, Fallon and her warrior sisters find themselves thrust into a vicious conflict with a rival gladiator academy, one that will threaten not only Fallon’s heart – and her love for Roman soldier Cai – but the very heart of the ancient Roman Empire.
When dark treachery and vicious power struggles threaten her hard-won freedom, the only thing that might help the girl known as Victrix save herself and her sisters is a tribe of long-forgotten mythic Amazon warriors. The only trouble is, they might just kill her themselves first.
Lesley Livingston is an award-winning author of teen fiction, best known for her Wondrous Strange trilogy. She holds a master’s degree in English from the University of Toronto and was a principal performer in a Shakespearean theater company, specializing in performances for teen audiences, for more than a decade.
If you liked The Valiant then this is a really enjoyable sequel! It delivered on pretty much every aspect I wanted to see.
A lot of it builds off the last book and what Fallon saw towards the end, so I don’t want to spoil that. Otherwise, there’s a rebellion brewing here and Fallon’s viewed as a leader of rebels, which makes her a political liability for Caesar. Her potential power also makes her a pawn “in a much greater game… a distraction and a bargaining chip.” She and her fellow gladiatrices spend a lot of the story as fugitives as they try to rescue Sorcha with the help of Cai and some friends. Things get pretty complicated and intense!
I wasn’t super attached to the romance, but genuinely liked both characters and appreciated how the story didn’t drive a wedge between them for tension OR make them way too sappy. They had their ups and downs like a normal couple and felt like realistic teens. They both became much stronger characters in this book and fought for themselves & each other because they chose to (instead of someone controlling them).
I really loved how side characters like Elka got more of a role! She and Quint were SO PRECIOUS. That was one aspect that really stuck out to me, actually… there were a lot of comic moments throughout and the story didn’t take itself way too seriously. There are still awesome action scenes and a lot of urgent threats, yet it felt more like an adventure than an endurance test. It was genuinely fun to read! The writing was solid and the pacing was good… everything worked for me. I don’t know how historically accurate any of the Roman bits are, but I didn’t really care… I was there for the entertaining story.
This series feels a lot like An Ember in the Ashes meets any YA story with a Celtic warrior princess if that helps!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC.