Are you ready for the fictitious experience of a lifetime? If you are an adventurer at heart, get set to be carried back in time to the middle ages, to the realm of Wyndeshire in England, where the forest holds secrets that are about to be revealed…
Dauntless, the first book in the Valiant Hearts series by Dina L. Sleiman, is an exhilarating, heart-wrenching tale reminiscent of the legend of Robin Hood. Written for a young adult audience, I strongly believe that readers of any age who enjoy compelling tales of adventure will find it impossible to put down. Just a few delightful aspects include:
- Characters we can empathize with, who are lifelike and believable, and seem to walk straight off the page and into our imaginations – and hearts!
- A dramatic, one-of-a-kind storyline that, although unusual, is not unbelievable for its time period.
- The captivating setting of medieval England will cause you to feel as though you, along with Merry Ellison, tread through the forest without a sound, bow and arrow at the ready, challenged by your very survival. Complete with castles and dungeons, clandestine secrets in dark forests, and the evil King John, the backdrop of this book is one you will not soon forget.
- The emotions and ideals are palpable and realistically portrayed, and will most likely bring a heart-rending response from all sensitive readers.
Of course, after naming just a few of the incredible points about this book, it is unfortunate that I must also mention a few of the negative portions, as well. Although it may be a little controversial, I feel that this book is more suitable as an adult novel than a work of juvenile fiction. Understandably, the protagonist is a young, teenaged girl, making it a reasonable age for the target audience – but in the 1200s, teenaged youth were considered adults of prime marriageable age. Consequently in the book, the emotions and interactions of the main characters seemed like those of an older adult, and were a rather unsuitable example for junior high readers to follow. In fact, some of the private scenes between male and female characters bordered on inappropriate for any genre of Christian fiction, and occasional references to one character’s unseemly behavior were downright uncalled for.
However, the remarkable tapestry of fiction that is entitled Dauntless is truly the work of an incredibly talented, imaginative author. Although a few unfavorable aspects mar an otherwise great story, older readers can easily step past these negative elements and enjoy a very compelling novel. And just think, in only two more months (September of 2015) we will be able to continue the story of the Valiant Hearts in a sequel entitled Chivalrous… But until then, join Merry Ellison and her band of ‘men’ in the unforgettable adventure that will touch your heart and allow your imagination to soar, and find a copy of Dauntless right away!
I am grateful to have received a copy of this book, free of charge, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.