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on 27 March 2016
You would be better served reading Melissa Marr's books, Carrie Jones books and Kelley Armstrongs Omen series over this nonsense. I'm going to keep this short because my previous lengthy one clearly did not make the cut. So-

This was a dull hard slog of a book that just spins it's wheels unnecessarily. The characters were uninteresting and equally annoying. The lead character Kaye was in dire need of a boot up the rear as well as a brain transplant. The so called 'romance' makes no sense when there is about as much passion between Kaye and Roibin as two single cell's in a petri dish. Why does Roibin like Kaye? Hell if I know. Why does Kaye like Roibin? Because he's really, really, pretty and she wants to ride him all night long. I wish I was kidding. Thankfully Roibin is about as passionate as an ice cube---unless you are his queen/mistress then the goo goo eyes come into play, which ticks Kaye off. There is no emotional build between these two and their so called romance isn't convincing at all. Even the moments concerning the fae are glossed over fairly quickly to return to Kayes creepy obsession with Roibin.

Multiple times Kaye abandons her friend in the company of the most dangerous creatures to save her own hide and betrays her friend Janet multiple times by, "Seeing where this is going" with her boyfriend/not boyfriend Kenny. The 'shock reveal's are easily spotted from the introduction of certain characters and comments made by Kaye. This book has all the subtlety of a ten car pileup. The motivations of the characters is also baffling. Why do the Unseelie insist on their tithe? What does it achieve? It just isn't a good book, a good story and is devoid of even good characters. Failing all three, what does this book have? Very little if I'm being honest.
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on 14 January 2015
I recently read a short story by Holly Black that blew me away, so I was really looking forward to reading one of her full length books. I enjoyed this and read through it quickly, but I was a bit underwhelmed.

There are two main things that separate this story of a girl dragged into an ancient conflict between two warring fairy courts from the average teen paranormal romance/urban fantasy.

First, the realistic bits and the female lead are very gritty - there's trailer parks and shoplifting and smoking and swearing. Our heroine is a high school dropout. From what I've seen in reviews, lots of readers are either offended by this or love its edginess. I was fairly ambivalent, but I appreciated the fact that the author had gone for a slightly unusual setting and characters.

Second, in a similar vein, the world of Faerie is incredibly dark (particularly for a YA book though even for an adult book) with all sorts of tortures and cruelties and depravities. I thought this bit was well done, with a real sense of both magic and danger created.

Beyond that though, the book felt a bit "same old same old" with a human girl who turns out to be special and a dark-but-sexy non-human love interest. Don't get me wrong, I love that sort of plot, and I still think authors can do new and interesting things with it, but here, there was nothing that really captured my imagination. For me, this type of book stands or fails on the strength of the love interest, and though Roiben-the-hot-Faerie had an interesting back story and internal conflict, he just didn't leave me besotted and swooning. Equally, I just couldn't quite understand the relationship that developed.

I liked some of the plotting and politicking, but some parts of the plot didn't quite work for me. In particular, it seemed a little inconsistent about what Kaye knew at any given time and a little all over the place in terms of some supporting characters' motivations and loyalties. The idea that Kaye had seen fairies since she was little rather than discovering their existence as a teenager was an interesting one, but it sometimes almost made me feel like I was missing a first volume, or at least a prologue, and sometimes made her a bit too blase about the whole thing.

Overall then, I wasn't wowwed, but this was still a fun read with a dark and gritty edge, and I'm giving the sequel a chance.
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on 7 February 2018
After reading The Cruel Prince I wanted to read more of Black's books, but sadly, this one doesn't compare. The story is just simply not as good.
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on 27 August 2013
If you like fantasy and grunge then you should like these books. Perfect for ages over the age of about 14 I'd say and is still one of my favourite books. Personally I like tithe and ironside slightly better than valiant (the sequel) but all three are wonderful and I would strongly recommend you read these. Imagery and the fey world are both wonderfully described and fleshed out and the characters are very engaging. Please read.
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on 23 February 2018
The perfect YA book ... magical, mystical and sometimes quite scary... dealing with issues facing all young adults without shirking. And all contained in a fabulously readable book. Recommended hugely.
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on 22 February 2018
Holly Black writes the sort of books I wish I could write. Believable characters in a gritty world in which faeries just happen to be real. And a little bit terrible.
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on 9 February 2018
Holly Blacks depicts her own version of Fairie which is equally intriguing as it is horrifying. She makes you want to believe that such a place exists, but I'm still not convinced I would dare go. Couldn't put the book down
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on 23 February 2018
Moving effortlessly from the modern world to a dangerous parallel fairy realm with flawed but engaging characters. What's not to enjoy?
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on 21 January 2014
A wonderfully crafted tale that has glamouring without vampires and better still a magnificent Kelpie to spirit away those stupid enough to climb upon its sleek powerful black back. And certainly not forgetting true green faeries that wouldn't be amiss in your bottle of Absinthe.
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on 14 August 2017
Really good series.
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