May 21, 2010

A Modern Tale of Faerie

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black
Reviewed by Ruya

Valiant is the story of seventeen-year-old Valerie who runs away to New York City from New Jersey. She moves into an abandoned subway station with three others around her age: sweet but slightly crazy Lollipop, Sketchy Dave, and Luis, Dave's one-eyed brother. Eventually, Val discovers that there is more to her new friends than meets the eye. Luis has the Sight, which means that he can see faeries, and works for a troll named Ravus who lives nearby, delivering a potion which helps the faeries of New York to resist iron. What's more, Lolli and Dave discovered early on that if they inject that same potion into their bloodstream, it gives them a certain amount of faerie magic temporarily. As Val begins to take the potion/drug and accidentally binds herself to service for Ravus, she becomes more and more deeply entwined in the world of faeries which has been right under her nose all her life.

This book, a romantic fantasy which I consider a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, is one you won't be able to put down until the very end, and once you've finished it, you'll want to read it all over again. It has complex and likable characters; I thoroughly enjoyed Val's comparisons of life to video games and some of her reckless decisions, and I adored Ravus, with his gold eyes and wisdom. I even found myself liking the sullen Luis towards the end. It has faeries and sword fighting. Best of all, it makes you think about things you've taken for granted your entire life in a whole new light, the way Ravus, with his broad perception of beauty, does; In his eyes, a gum wrapper transforms into "a mirror that never cracks," and a cigarette butt becomes "the breath of a man." The best books, in my opinion, are the ones that make you think even after you're done reading them, and needless to say, Valiant is one of them. Make sure to read it while it's not as popular, though—Holly Black's enticing story is being optioned as a movie, possibly to be released in 2010!

Librarian's note: this is the second book in the series Modern Tales of Faerie

Posted by at May 21, 2010 02:42 PM
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