Valiant, Holly Black's second book of the "modern faerie tale" variety, tells the story of a girl named Val, who is thrust into a cruel situation that leads to her running away from home. She shaves her head and goes to New York City. It is there that she meets a group of eccentric street kids. All is not as it appears, however, and soon Val finds herself in the midst of a twisted world in which her new friends are strung out on faerie medicine, which allows them to use glamour*. But that's just the beginning. There's also a sword of glass, an awesome troll, some romance, and--of course--a bad guy.

Holly Black weaves the world of the fey and human with a strange and beautiful ferocity that is unique and wonderful. She combines an unflinchingly honest view of today's world with the magic of the faerie courts. When I began reading Black's "modern faerie tales", I had a bit of trouble getting into them. Make no mistake, they're very well written....I was just so unused to seeing the fey in a (modern) world so harsh. If you--like me--tend to enjoy reading romanticised faerie stories (You know what I'm talking about. Those ones. They usually involve many awesome ball gowns...or are set in Ireland...etc.), give the books a chance. They're well worth it.

I award Valiant four and a half out of five daggers.

Child of Faerie, Child of Earth...


Aella Siofra said...

I am a self-proclaimed follower of the Wicked Lovely set. All the same Holly Black excites my slightly overactive fairy-book-radar as well.

amiefina zanewhite said...

wow, i just noticed this review here. guess you weren't kidding about that "scroll down" thing.

personally, i'm much more into the Holly Black books than Wicked Lovely. for sheer awesome.
and it's that very grittiness i love...
O.R.Melling's quasi-spacey Ireland ones are the ones i had more trouble getting into.
wheras you hand me War For The Oaks, which was like 1987 non-YA proto-Tithe, and pretty much set up that whole genre we love known as contemperary urban faerie fantasy, and starts with barfights and breakups and has more than one character get knifed, and language, i love it.

of course, i'm partial to Tithe, but that's just because i read it first, and because i love my suburban jersey setting (i actually cheered when they mentioned the "kinnelon ruins" in ironside, because to me, kinnelon is where i drive for guitar lessons and movies). ironside i loved even more than both of them, because though they both stand poetically and awesomely on their own, ironside was just the best book ever. for two simple reasons---that three-paragraph conversation in the coffeeshop about Roiben being too emo, the mention of a guy with a fauxhawk, and that entire diner scene with the fuzzy handcuffs. enough said. also, Luis is made of awesome.

i am not a ball gown person.
tattered prom dresses with combat boots, maybe. not ball gowns.

Anonymous said...

I can only hope that Your Awesomeness will read this, but I just wasnted to say that I LOVED THIS SERIES. (CAPS TIME) THEY WERE WONDERFUL, AMAMZING, MINDBLOWING, GREAT. This is the sort of second book, but they were all really, really good.

PS. I wanted to know if you had ever read the book Child of Fearie, Child of Earth, becuase I LOVED THAT BOOK AS WELL. And you used it for your signature.

Avery Trelaine said...

As in, the Jane Yolen picture book? Heck yes!

Avery Trelaine