Author: Dina L. Sleiman
Series: Valiant Hearts #1
Genre: Historical/Legend Retelling
Audience: Young Adult
~ MY REVIEW ~
Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman was an adventurous YA tale … thoughtful, poignant, sweet.
Telling a story something like Robin Hood’s, except with a female leader, this book follows the life of Lady Merry Ellison, whose father was killed as a result of his assassination plot against King John, along with many other people of their village. Merry is now responsible for a passel of orphaned village children. And officially an outlaw if it’s ever found out that she survived the slaughtering of her village.
This novel was interesting, and I quite enjoyed it for the most part. Dina L. Sleiman wove some poignant thoughts about femininity and womanhood throughout the story, while still having a strong and feisty heroine. There were some poignant faith themes, and some really lovely parts about the unseen spiritual world. I also enjoyed the addition of the bunch of sweet children and their relationship with Merry and other older people in Dauntless.
The setting was charming. I love medieval, and the Robin Hood tale; and while Dauntless wasn’t as much like the classical Robin Hood as I expected, it still was interesting to journey along with this group of children and older teens as they struggled to survive in the forest and keep away from the merciless eyes of King John. Dubbed the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest, they go on daring escapades of small theft in order to keep themselves alive. So yes … secret forest living, castle, squires, ladies, lutes and bows, and devious plots. It was fun.
But it did have its dark side as well. Merry struggling with ever accepting her faith again, murderous plans, and all that.
A little bit of violence; nothing big at all though. Some romance, including a few kisses. That befitting a YA novel I suppose! *smiles* Very sweet and pleasing overall. Oh, and some of the characters were definitely attached to the church’s ideas of that time; it was even briefly mentioned at one point, “even if He wasn’t a deity” speaking of a figure of Jesus on a cross. But the characters did grow in faith. And maybe we’ll see them again in the next book, growing even more!
I liked Timothy and Aaron’s stories as well, even though the two of them did form a love triangle with Merry. Love triangles definitely aren’t my thing; but this one actually came about quite nicely. Probably the best I’ve ever read of. I found myself not minding it; it added some depth and thought to the story. I liked both young men in the end! Oh … the childhood friendship and that whole story was so sweet … *sigh*
I don’t have any big, solid complaints about Dauntless. There were a few parts that were a little confusing. Such as not realizing at first how old some of the boys were in Merry’s band; that can be a bit awkward. But all in all, it was good. It just wasn’t the most appealing book to me personally. I mean, I really enjoyed a lot of parts, and the storyline overall was intriguing; but it was a bit slow or something. I don’t know really know what it was.
I suppose I would say Dauntless was a lovely tale in the end, but it didn’t totally thrill me. But suffice to say, I’ve seen some five-star reviews for this book, and I believe it has a lot of potential to please people, so I would recommend you give it a try and see what you think! *smiles* As for me, I can’t wait to read Chivalrous, Book Two!
I received a copy of Dauntless from the author in exchange for my honest review.