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3.7 out of 5 stars
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3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 February 2014
love this writer, wish she had more for older readers. very original, rooted in traditional 'faerie lore' giving the feel of revisiting known characters, but with modern setting and heroine. having read her other two novels in a similar vein (Tithe and Ironside) the texture of the faerie realm she creates is familiar and exciting to return to. the more 'earthly' inhabitants have gritty and quite uncomfortable lives making their willingness to 'escape' totally understandable. great story telling, engaging and believable characters who draw the reader in from the very start and will leave you feeling rather sad to return to the 'real' world at the end.
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on 13 February 2015
Well, i don't really know where to start. I did not enjoy this book at all, if im honest. I found the writing very simple, almost amateurish and the language childish. The story is not something i found pleasant nor engaging. With not so normal or nice things going on from the start, i found it strange when the story ended up being based in a dirty sewer-like place on the streets, and a 'troll' as a 'lover'. Some of the things that happened in this book, i actually found a bit disturbing-down to killing animals, drug abuse and other inappropriate things.
This is not a book i would recommend at all, to teens or adults, its both disturbing and badly written.
Im sorry i cant bring a more positive review on this, but i don't want to lie, for i firmly believe that buying this will be a waste of your time and money. If you want anymore positive reviews or some recommendations, i currently have some other reviews and more on their way!!!
I hope this has helped and thanks for reading!
BB xxx
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on 25 September 2005
Valiant is an enjoyable follow-up to Holly Black's first title in this series, Tithe, but if you are expecting more of the same you will be disappointed. While Valiant is in the same vein and universe as Tithe it is not really fair to call it a sequel. The plot is sort of Trainspotting cum Agatha Christie set in the Faerie underworld of New York City. I think the drug use plotline was rather more satisfying than the poisoner plotline, but all and all I would recommend it.
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I continue to enjoy Holly Black's gift for imagery (which this book gives full rein to) but whilst there is more story to this book than there was to Tithe, it does suffer from the same character relationship problems and I think this is really down to Black putting so much effort into her main character of Val that the side characters remain nothing more than ciphers when they should be rich and satisfying. Take Luis for example, he should be fascinating given that he has Sight, has already lost one eye to a faerie, clearly mistrusts them and yet bound himself to serve a troll in exchange for his brother's life. In practice however, he is never more than a checklist of attributes, which prevents him from leaping off the page. Ditto Ravus (who reminded me far too much of Roiben in Tithe but with longer teeth, ditto Lolli (who was too irritatingly shallow to ever be believable) and ditto Dave and Mabry. In the latter two cases, this really affected my enjoyment of the story because if they're the central bad guys, they need to have more of a motivation than a desire to shag Lolli senseless (in the case of Dave) and to gain revenge on Ravus (in the case of Mabry).

I've also noticed that for a second time, Black uses a somewhat improbable set-up to kick-start the heroine's adventure - the main character's sudden and somewhat soapy discovery that her mum is having it off with her boyfriend. Whilst I have no doubt that there are mothers who like to bonk their teenage daughter's boyfriend, this is so briskly dealt with and so totally lacking in credibility, that I found myself wishing that Black had found a less contrived way of sending Val running off into the city.

Valiant is a much darker book than Tithe. There is particular reference to drug-taking, with Val, Dave and Lolli essentially becoming hooked on a kind of powdered magic called Never, which temporarily gives them the power of faeries. Black does well in showing Val's increased dependency on the effects of the drug and showing the effects of withdrawal. However, she never really gives Val a good reason for taking it in the first place and whilst she takes care to establish a set of rules for taking Never (including never more than once a day for two days in a row), she is quick to disregard the same - again, without offering an explanation or justification. Valiant also has a sex scene (straight), which is perfunctory, in-keeping with the subject matter and perversely chaste (a little like a fade out to a 1930s movie) and the dialogue is peppered with the f-bomb (although again, this is not gratuitous and gives the text some much-needed credibility).

The final critical issue with the book is with the lack of credibility of the central romance. I had similar concerns with Tithe but at least there was sufficient interaction between the characters to live with it. In Valiant, there simply isn't. Black is going for a Beauty and the Beast vibe but they don't have enough page time to be credible. In fact, in many ways I think it would have been more believable to have their relationship grow into a firm inter-species friendship than some great love story.
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on 30 May 2011
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this novel at first. Val running away from home and immediately taking up with alternative street kids seemed a little too cliché for me. Also, the life Val slips into, sleeping in the New York City sewers, is so filthy and squalid that I found it pretty unpleasant to imagine.

However, I was intrigued by the glimpses I was getting of the magical world beneath the surface and where the story finally got me was when Ravus was introduced. I thought the haunted troll, banished from the Seelie Court, was a great character and I totally bought Val's feelings for him. Pairings either work for me or they don't and this one just worked for me. The blurb describes it as Beauty and the Beast and that description works if you think of Val as the beast - she's the pissed-off one who wants to fight back at the world and Ravus is the one who calms her and loves her, flaws and all.

The fairy-tale details that Holly Black decorates this story with are just beautiful to picture (presumably the squalor of the sewer-life is done deliberately to contrast with this). Ravus tells Val about his past by creating images from the smoke of a candle, there's a harp that's strung with strands of hair from the dead, and their ethereal voices can be heard when a strand is plucked. These were my favourite moments in the book; gorgeous and heart-breaking.

The plot kicks into high gear in the last 100 pages and it was then that I found I couldn't put the book down until I finished. And I got an ending I liked - it's not too prettily tied up and there are consequences for the characters, but it was happy enough to leave me with a smile on my face.
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Black's books are about faeries of the not so cuddly kind. Like many others, she sees the faery world pretty much as the human one, a mix of good and bad people, with most being a combination of the two.

This could be considered a continuation of her previous book, "Tithe". I consider "Tithe" a better book than this one, but probably better suited for younger readers.

For the young reader, this is a brutal book. I agree with the advisory warning on the back of the book. I realize that many young readers are well immersed in the world of fantasy, and not necessarily the jolly kind. They will most likely not be affected a great deal by this story. Children who are not used to rougher content (in this book - frightening scenes), should probably stay away from "Valiant". Older children, teenagers and adults would most likely be the ones who would benefit the most from reading "Valiant".

Valerie (or Valiant) is a teenager going through a rough phase in her life. The faeries are part of her transition to adulthood, and many of her experiences are brutal. She discovers the dark side of life in a manner she had not previously expected. That along with her disappointment in her mother and boyfriend is almost enough to undo her.

Enjoy! I certainly did.
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on 17 October 2011
First of all, I was surprised that this book held only a small appearance of one of the characters who was introduced in Tithe. I expected this to continue that story, but it didn't though the faerie realm was the same. Whilst I was disappointed that the plot from Tithe wasn't continued, I found this book to be more accessible and an easier read thanks to the slight improvement in writing - it seemed to flow a lot better. I don't think that the plot was exciting as Tithe but I did prefer the characters in this one. I don't feel that Black was trying too hard to portray a teenager, like she did with the previous book. Overall, I preferred the plot of tithe but the characters and writing of Valiant. An easy to follow read.
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on 9 September 2011
Don't read this if you like cats. I wish I hadn't. Plus,there isn't really any character development or depth to the characters. Personal taste maybe or maybe you have to be under 15 to enjoy this.
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on 20 April 2009
it was a very good book, if you liked it you should read tithe, by holly black. wicked lovely by melissa marr or my personal favourite city of ashes by cassandra clare.
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on 28 February 2011
Steadfastly and resolutely sitting in my top 3 favourites. Not to be thought of as a sequel, but rather a parrallel to the world explored in Tithe. Highly recommended for young adult reading.
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