The second "Modern Tale of Faerie" it is only loosely connected to the first (Tithe) and can be read independently. For older teens, as it deals with issues of drug abuse and sex. Less about faeries than about taking responsibility for your life and your decisions and about breaking addiction. I found it slow for the first half, watching Val slide into whatever happened to be in front of her, trusting everyone and generally being stupid. The second half picked up and was much better as Val decided to grow a brain. At the end you are left with the feeling that the best part of her story is ahead of her.
I finished this book, more or less, just to get through it and be able to move on to something better. What a miserable reason to read.
I had enjoyed Tithe, the first book in Holly Black's "faerie tale" trilogy, and had expected Valiant to pick up where that story left off. Unfortunately, like in Melissa Marr's (much better) Wicked Lovely series, the second book is a complete departure from the first -- although written in the same world -- and then the conclusion of book one is provided in book three. For that reason, I probably will seek out Ironside (Black's third book in the trilogy). But I hope to God none of these dismal main characters make the jump to that book.
In a nutshell, Valiant is the story of a directionless 17-year-old girl that runs away to New York City after finding her boyfriend and her mom in an, um, compromising position. She ends up sleeping in the subway tunnels under the city with a ragtag group of street kids, and eventually stumbles upon a world she didn't know existed. She becomes indebted to a troll (don't you hate it when that happens?) and inexplicably, from out of nowhere with absolutely no plot buildup, falls in love with him. He teaches her to swordfight. She and the street kids do a lot of illicit stolen faerie drugs, have random sex and steal. At one point, a kitten is deliberatly pushed in front of a moving subway. Getting the drift? There just isn't much to redeem this story. It lacks all of the magic of the previous novel in the series, and is just grim, dark, cringe-worthy, crass and kind of pointless.
I gave it two stars because I did think the premise was imaginative... but that fact alone just wasn't enough to redeem the book. [close]
This was a good mix of the real and fantastical. I liked the way Val finds the strength in herself to help her new friends, both human and other. I also liked how Black interspersed faery folk among the buildings and parks of Manhattan and New Jersey. I look forward to reading the first book in the series, Tithe.
Set in the same urban landscape as Tithe but with only minor links to Valiant this book easily stands on its own. This is a good thing for me because my memory is horrible and I read Tithe a ways back.
Valiant is about a teen named Val whose world is pretty much wrecked when she walks in on her boyfriend smooching up her mom. She runs away, meets some drug addled teens and quickly adapts to the lifestyle. But the drug they plunge into their arms isn't the typical stuff you'd expect to find on the streets but far more addicting and dangerous a attraction, fairy dust. When Val tags along with one of her new friends she ends up doing the bidding of a troll for a month and encountering a new world filled with temptation, magic and a strange unexpected attraction.
This was a great book about a darker edged way of life than normally found in a young adult fantasy. There is no judgment here, just realistically drawn characters who make mistakes and have to face the consequences. I really enjoyed that about this book and am looking forward to the next one.
3.5 stars. I preferred this second book of the series to the first. Valiant introduced all new characters to the faerie world. I found Holly Black's writing style more straight-forward in this sequel. The end of the novel joined the characters of the first and second novel together.
This is the 2nd book in Holly Black's A Modern Faery's Tale series. I was thinking that this book would pick up where the 1st book left off. I was wrong. This is a totally different tale of the faery. I wasn't sure I would like it. I was really looking forward for the continuation of the 1st story. That being said, I still loved this one. Liked it better than the first book.
This story is about Val, a typical teenager. Val runs away from home after finding things with her mom and boyfriend are not what they seem. She even goes as far as shaving her head and escaping to New York City. There she finds a some homeless teens who take her in. She finds out they are running errands for the Faeries. She ends up running errands for them as well but not because she wanted to and the story builds from there.
This is another dark fairy tale. Even though it is listed for young adult, I would recommend a mature young adult. There is drug use, sexual situations, larceny, etc. Overall, I loved the book and would recommend it.
I like this book at first. It was gritty, yet cool. Then it fell apart. It became a little too gritty for my liking. Too dark. And I really like a good dark story sometimes. At one point, when one of the characters did a shocking, terrible act- I closed the book and said, "I quit." I didn't finish it and I usually hate skipping books. I tried, honestly, I did, but could not finish it.
For such a short book, I found it a slow start to get to the good stuff you know, the urban fantasy part that had me check the book out. About halfway through Disc 2, things finally picked up and a lot of the teen angst, bickering, and wannabe clever remarks are left behind. Hanging with two brothers and a street girl (Lolli), who has a kitten, Valerie starts a slow spiral into the world of Faerie, drugs, and sex. She also makes the mistake of invading a trolls hidden domain, messing with his items, and getting caught. Now she owes him 6 months servitude, which pretty much means cleaning up after him and making deliveries of his medicine to the various Faerie denizens exiled to the land of man and iron.
This book went up and down for me. At times, I was totally sucked into the story, hanging on the intensity of the scene, feeling very connected to Valerie, wincing with her mistakes and rooting for her in triumphs. Other times I wondered what the author, Holly Black, was trying to convey or where she wanted to take the story. My mind would drift and upon coming back didnt seem to miss the anecdotal goings on of the main characters.
Lots of drug references clutter this book up, and at times I wondered why Valeries nickname was Valiant as she spends some quality time blowing off those who care, stealing, and degrading herself. While realistic, I often felt I was reading two separate novels as these aspects didnt fully mesh with the other Valerie the one who learns sword fighting, serves a troll, and unravels the mystery of the murdered Fae.
The best parts of this novel where those dealing with the beings of Faerie, watching Val struggle to find her way, not get killed, and come out with her skin in tact. Those sections were exceptionally well written, having purpose, intensity, connection. However, the in between bits were dull in comparison and at times didnt seem to fit the story at all. Will I try another Holly Black novel? Probably. I crave those intense scenes and I know she can write them well.
Our narrator, Renee Raudman, was a very good fit for this book. She gave Val a practical, determined voice, performed all the various, creepy, haunting Fae well, and had a variety of young male voices. Oh, and she made Vals mom sound like a self-centered vapid human, just like I pictured her.
This is the second book in the series. It does not deal with the same character as in the first book. It starts off making you believe that it is the same character but it isn't. This book was darker compared to the first and dealt a lot with drugs. I lost interest in it due to the amount of drug referrences and drug use.
I didn't like this book as much as Tithe or Ironside. It's not because it tore away from the story in the first one, I just didn't like it as much. It didn't keep me as interested... But it was still a good book I suppose.