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Dauntless (Valiant Hearts #1) by Dina L. Sleiman: A Book Review

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts #1)
Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Christian
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 470
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: Where Legend and History Collide, 
     
     One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

     Born a baron's daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father's failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village--a group that becomes known as "The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest." Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

     Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he's forced to reexamine everything he's known.

     My Review: In this retelling of Robin Hood, Merry is a young noblewoman that is forced to become an outlaw. She has decided to protect the orphan children in her former village, and created a band of thieves called, “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” When she and her band steal a chest full of gold, King John wants the leader of the band captured and hanged. The young ambitious Timothy Grey vows to capture the leader. When he comes face to face with the leader, he comes face-to-face with his long-lost betrothed, Merry. Soon, Timothy must make the choice to save Merry or betray her.

     After reading the second book in the series first, I thought that Merry seemed like a fun character. In Chivalrous, she was very lively, strong, and cool. Yet, after reading Dauntless, she seemed like an entirely different person. In Dauntless, Merry is emotionally distraught. She has witnessed the deaths of her parents. Throughout this book she mourns her former life and the life she could have had if her parents were still alive. This Merry seemed solemn and distant. She can also be very indecisive. However, she is very selfless and protective of the younger children. She is the mother figure in the book. She makes plans for her band and their future. She is also very stubborn. While Mary is told to be a strong protagonist, and is assumed that she can fight, I did not really see it in this book. Instead, she seems to be more of a damsel-in-distress. She always needs saving.

     Overall, this book is about friendship, love, and courage. The message of this book is that there is always hope. This story is very fast-paced and filled with fun characters. It is filled with action and romance. This book is a great start to the Valiant Hearts series, and I can’t wait to read the third book. Dauntless is perfect for fans of the Robin Hood legend, Melanie Dickerson, Jody Hedlund, and Tamara Leigh.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Interested in learning more about the book? Here is the author reading an excerpt of Dauntless:

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