The plot sounded very cool, so I was really excited about reading Dauntless. I like that the main character, Merry, is like Robin Hood and that the author didn’t just rewrite Robin Hood as a female. Cool cover.
Synopsis for Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman, Book #1 in the Valiant Heart series from Baker Publishing Group:
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.
In the foreward of the book male readers were excluded. I didn’t understand that, because it shouldn’t be assumed there wouldn’t be any males reading it. I like for both male and female to be treated nicely.
The novel itself had an intriguing premise. Very cool with the stealth, forests, archery, action, romance, family, and surviving against the odds. I like the “Ghosts” of Farthingale Forest, the group of characters named this due to their stealth and expert way of disappearing without a trace.
This book ranged from no stars to 5 stars throughout. 5 Stars would be Allen, Robert, Red, Cedric, Sadie, Gilbert, Wren and other “Ghosts” of Farthingale Forest. I liked the way Merry was brave and fought hard for the rest of the “Ghosts”. Also, that she and Allen had memorized Scripture and shared the knowledge with the rest of the “Ghosts”. I like that the “Ghosts” were literate even though many “nobles” weren’t. That is definitely a historically believable aspect.
Merry had learned all about herbs so it was surprising, since she was already in the forest, why she didn’t get ones growing there or get seeds and grow them to cultivate and have on hand for Wren. Then she wouldn’t have needed the village to secure them.
I know Merry and Timothy had stuff to learn and while they were nice at times, it seemed like they never quite overcame the character flaw of being snobs.
I might have given up on the book if it hadn’t been for reading it with my sister, discussing it, and because we like Allen and the “Ghosts”. Allen is, in both of our opinions, nicer, more romantic, smarter, warmer, we enjoyed reading about him, and he’s better looking as well, than Timothy.
Sometimes the descriptions, aside from the characters’ thoughts, the words the author used to tell the reader about the characters, were mean and unkind. This is true particularly when the author described Cedric. Instead of just describing the nice guy, the words not only were unnecessary, but were insulting to him. Yes, we have tender-hearts, my sister and I, and didn’t like such a nice person being referred to as ugly. There’s no way around the fact that it was rude. Totally not necessary. That was a zero star – didn’t like it.
Some of the religious aspects definitely differed from our own. I believe in miracles and praying, so that’s in agreement, but the healing scenes in the Bible are vastly different than the one in the book. After reading the scene in Dauntless, I thought of a Little House on the Prairie episode that we have on DVD where fake healers and those “healed” made people erroneously believe in them and how that could have been tragic by believing in the hoax. True miracles do happen, but this didn’t seem like a real miracle.
It’s a shame whenever an author misuses a word to be creative, like when anyone uses the term “demon(s)” instead of troubles, problems, worries, issues, etc. I don’t know why a Christian author would do this. In my reading and reviews, whenever I come across this, the book will lose 1 star in the rating because I seriously don’t like seeing that word because there are books/shows I don’t read/watch that have the actual meaning of the word, represented in it. I know it’s not meaning actual ones, but it would have been more enjoyable without using that word.
I really loved the main plot in this book and hope to find similar ones. I’d like to read #2 because it’s Allen’s story, but not sure….UPDATE: Now that I’ve read some reviews at Goodreads, which included details about #2, Chivalrous, in the Valiant Heart series, I’m sure I don’t want to read the rest of the series. I don’t need or want to read about black magic being done, etc. No thank you. I also don’t like to read names of false gods. I don’t think Bethany House (the publishers) should have any of that in their books. That isn’t required and doesn’t add a thing to the books, it only detracts. And disappoints.
I respectfully thank the author for the parts of Dauntless that I enjoyed and felt good about.