A Dauntless Beginning to Valiant Hearts! A Review of Dauntless by Dina Sleiman

Photo of Dauntless by Dina Sleiman
(c.) 2015 by Bethany House
Title: Dauntless [Valiant Hearts #1] 
Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Published: 2015 by Bethany House Publishers

The Artist Librarian Review: 
Dina Sleiman's debut medieval YA novel is sure to appeal to teens (and adults) who enjoy both romance and a bit of action! I admit I only have a basic understanding of the Robin Hood legend: The thief who steals from the rich to give to the poor. By necessity, Lady Merry Ellison falls into a similar role after her peasant band of young survivors latest hit turns up a chest of gold intended for the king’s tax. Forced to flee, the “Ghosts of Farthingale Forest” return near their old home in Wyndeshire. But what happens when Timothy Grey, a remnant of Merry's past, reappears?

Sleiman introduces three distinct teenage protagonists: Merry's physical skills in acrobatics, archery, and hand-to-hand combat brings to mind contemporary heroines such as Katniss Everdeen. But like Katniss, her emotional strength and vulnerability are juxtaposed to great effect. Timothy reminds me a bit of Prince Hans of the Southern Isles from Disney's Frozen, but in good ways! For example, just as Hans has twelve older brothers, as the Baron of Greyham's ninth child, Timothy has no large title to inherit. A scribe for the Earl of Wyndemere, Timothy's pursuit of a position of status leads him into conflict with his childhood friend, Lady Merry. One of the characters who I wish had more "page time" was Allen. A peasant who rose to become one of Merry's most trusted advisers, he is bound to become more prominent in future books. Romantic triangles can be somewhat infamous in YA literature, but I felt that both Timothy and Allen were both valid suitors and the "triangle" wasn't too bothersome for me. The romance was appropriate (and still "sigh-worthy") for the maturity of the characters. Definitely recommended for fans of Lisa T. Bergren or Melanie Dickerson!

Dauntless touches on more weighty topics as well: Are all leaders in authority placed there by God? Should Christians submit to unjust rulers or subvert them through even violent means? What does it mean to be feminine? Where is God when evil occurs? Do the ends ever justify the means? I appreciate it when YA literature doesn't underestimate their audience.

I had high hopes for this book and I have to say, Dina Sleiman has given us a dauntless beginning to her Valiant Hearts series! I can't wait to read more from this author! While waiting for Chivalrous (Valiant Hearts #2), I think I'll read up on Robin Hood ...

If you want to learn more, check out Dina Sleiman's guest post!

Do you have any medieval fantasy or medieval historical fiction you'd recommend?  Let me know in the comments!

[Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for review purposes.]
A Dauntless Beginning to Valiant Hearts! A Review of Dauntless by Dina Sleiman A Dauntless Beginning to Valiant Hearts! A Review of Dauntless by Dina Sleiman Reviewed by The Artist Librarian on 4/01/2015 11:16:00 PM Rating: 5

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