Book Review

Book Review: A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Christian Historical fiction / Romance
Length: 544 pages
Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Release Date: March 1st, 1993
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The first book in the bestselling Mark of the Lion series, A Voice in the Wind brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.

WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THAT ENDING.

I’ve read some cliffhanger books in my day (looking at you Shadowhunters). I’m generally used to it, can keep my cool. NOT THIS TIME. I sat there gasping and closing my eyes (listening to this as an audio book) with my spouse staring strangely at me wondering what my problem was. TRUST ME, there’s a big problem.

I digress, we’ll move on. Just know, there’s a big cliffhanger at the end.

Anywho, this book started off a bit slow for me. There’s a lot of world building and character structure that goes into setting the scene for the craziness that was Ancient Rome. I love that this Christian historical fiction was set in this time period because it did add to the uniqueness of the category. It’s not often to see so many gladiator battles in this genre.

As I settled into the book I became really involved with quite a few characters lives. Especially Marcus and Hadassah. How could you not?! Watching this doomed relationship even attempt to break soil was tearing at my heart. I felt a lot of the emotions right along side of the characters as they made their destructive choices. Speaking of destructive, I CANNOT EVEN with Julia. How I loathed her so much and it made me like the book more because of my strong emotions. Her awfulness would blow my mind and I think she needs to stay faaaar away. Going back to characters I enjoy, Atretes is now my favorite gladiator. I loved watching how his inner turmoil and struggles affected him. He is a strong and bold man looking for a light at the end of the tunnel that he can’t see, yet.

This story was filled with an intense amount of happenings. Occasionally, I did find it a bit preachy. At other times, I felt like it sang to my soul. There’s a good mix of biblical scriptures and the roughness that was Rome. The writing slowly pulls you in to where you can’t look away as the pages keep flying past. I’m anxiously awaiting reading the next book!

Overall audience notes:

  • Christian Historical fiction / Romance
  • Language: some derogatory and vulgar
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; mentions of sleeping together and hints at knowing about many partners, etc. but no actual detailed scenes
  • Violence: gladiator battles, starvation, physical beatings, poison, murder, see Trigger warnings
  • Trigger warnings: slavery, extreme starvation, abortion (described in detail), domestic abuse, eating disorder, murder, abandoning a newborn

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Book Review

Book Review: The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

Rating: ☆☆☆☆  
Audience: Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
Length: 372 pages
Author: Lesley Livingston
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: February 14th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

HERE FOR FEMALE GLADIATORS.

I read this based off of a recommendation an old friend gave me. She reads a lot of the books I recommend and I wanted to do the same for her (since we have very similar tastes). Y’all, this was a great book! I’m so happy I picked this up and definitely want to read the next one.

The setting was off the charts. I am fascinated by the Roman Empire and its history. I haven’t come across many (if all, because I can only thing of Blood and Sand right now), that use Rome has a historical fiction setting. LOVE IT LOVE IT. I found the interweaving of real life people like Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to be thrilling. I personally didn’t know that there were even female gladiators to begin with! I enjoyed reading the little note at the end about some of the history Livingston found to add some background to these fierce ladies.

Romance was fine. That was probably the only downside to The Valiant. I thought it was starting off slow (which I’m totally cool with) because Cai wasn’t in the story that much. Then I realized…he’s really not in the story that much. Until the later second half of this book do we see him more consistently. Any interactions between Cai and Fallon are full speed ahead while I’m trying to catch up with if I even ship them or not. It left a bit to be desired, but I’m hopeful in the next book I’ll get a larger flourish of them together.

There was a twist or two I did see coming that didn’t ruin the plot for me. I actually liked where it went and how all of the information played into Fallon’s life. Fallon was an amazing heroine. Brave, a bit stubborn, loyal and real. I cheered for her in her battles and on and off the fields of battle.

I’m curious how everything will further unfold in the next book. Caesar and Cleopatra are definitely playing a part in it and I think that is so cool. I didn’t even know that they actually had a relationship until this book (and a bunch of Googling afterwards).

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction / fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: gladiator battles, sword fighting, arrows; fairly bloody and gory
  • Trigger warnings: witnessing the loss of a loved one, slavery (Fallon is taken by a Roman slave trader and sold to a house for female gladiators)

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