Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review - Dauntless by Dina L Sleiman

Dauntless (Valiant Hearts, #1)

I loved this book.  It is a story about a band of unlikely and unwilling outlaws, in the vein of Robin Hood, but it is so much better than that!  Lady Merry Ellison is the main character, a girl of 17 whose entire village was killed by the king.  She and the few remaining children have been living in the forests ever since.  Merry is the leader, and oldest boys are her "men," who go on raids to provide for the group.  They are forced to move to a different forest when Merry unknowingly takes gold meant for taxes, and in their new location, she is faced with someone from her past, Timothy Grey.  Once, they were supposed to marry, but now he works for one of the king's men.  How could she trust him now, and why would she need to?

The characters are well-drawn, from the delightful toddler Wren to Merry herself.  Merry has been facing a crisis of faith alongside her other issues in just keeping the children alive, and this ties nicely into her trust issues.  The writer does a very good job of painting a realistic portrait of England in the 1200s, and the reader gets to view life from both the noble and peasant points of view.  There is plenty of action, and some surprises along the way.  I was most fond of the character of Merry.  She is the type of character I like to write about - a strong, unconventional female lead. 

This is the first in a new series by the author, and I can't wait for the next one now!  I highly recommend this book.

I was given a copy of the book by the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.

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