A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Valiant is about a Celtic princess who becomes a gladiator in ancient Rome after being captured into slavery. There's lots of violence from gladiator bouts and battles using swords, arrows, knives, and spears. Blood's mentioned a lot, and other gore is occasional and briefly described, such as a bone protruding from a severed hand. Fallon is a great role model as a fierce, brave, and smart warrior. Slavery is everywhere in the ancient world and explored briefly in how Fallon thinks about how she treated her own slaves before she was captured and in how some slaves are comfortable, maybe even happy, in their positions. Occasional romance involves passionate kissing and caressing. Strong language is rare and includes "bitch," "bastard," and "house of whores." Wine, mead, and beer appear at parties, and Fallon drinks wine once to relax for a party, learning later that it was laced with a mild hallucinogen, having a nightmarish experience, and being sick the next morning. The author's note mentions that the story is inspired by the real discovery of the grave of a gladiatrix (female gladiator), and that how many there may have been in ancient Rome remains controversial.
What's the story?
THE VALIANT tells of 17-year-old Fallon, a Celtic warrior princess captured by a Roman slaver and sold to the owner of a gladiator training camp. There, she's to be groomed and trained to fight in Rome's grandest arenas, against all comers, male and female. She'll stop at nothing to escape back to her homeland. But when she learns the shocking truth about the owner of the training camp and strikes a bargain with Julius Caesar himself, she knows her destiny will be either freedom and glory -- or death.
Is it any good?
Author Lesley Livingston has created a compelling heroine and placed her in the vivid backdrops of ancient Britain and Rome. Action and suspense keep The Valiant's pages turning, with a few unexpected twists and turns along the way. Fallon is easy to relate to as she struggles to understand her new reality on the way to emotional maturity. She's also a great role model for strong, fierce women unafraid to lay it all out on the line. Light on the romance, it's best for mature tweens and up who like a healthy mix of swordplay, battle action, intrigue, and historical settings.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in The Valiant. Is it too much? How realistic is it? Does it help the story or the characters?
How is slavery depicted? Does it seem realistic? Do you believe some slaves might have been happy with their lot in life and want to stay in bondage?
What makes Fallon a good role model? Are there ways you wish you could be more like her? Does she have any character flaws?
- Author: Lesley Livingston
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Razorbill
- Publication date: February 14, 2017
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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