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Read Valiant (2006)

Valiant (2006)

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3.91 of 5 Votes: 3
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0689868235 (ISBN13: 9780689868238)
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Valiant (2006) - Plot & Excerpts

Valiant, like Tithe, is a gritty, visceral nose dive--this time into the streets of New York City from small town New Jersey where adults are messy, intrusive plot elements and skeezy boyfriends are even worse.After catching her boyfriend making out with her mother on their living room couch, Valerie runs away to New York City where she makes quick friends with Lolli (Lollipop), Dave, Luis, and a kitten--a ragtag bunch of teens who dumpster dive for their meals and live in the subway tunnels beneath the city. It isn’t long before Valerie begins to notice Lolli’s tendency to shoot up with a mysterious substance and the odd deliveries Dave makes for an unknown boss. Accompanying him on one delivery, Val is confronted with the world of Faeries and soon runs head first into Ravus, a troll living inside the Manhattan Bridge, and his mysterious glass sword. Bargaining for Lolli’s life, Val agrees to run errands for Ravus and finds herself delivering medicine to the iron-sensitive Faeries living in exile all around the city. Lolli, Dave, and Luis have found another use for the medicine: given to humans, the concoction has hallucinogenic effects and allows the teens to use glamour, fairy magic that has transformative, manipulative results. Affectionately calling the drug Never, the teens continue to steal from Ravus’ supplies as Faeries begin dying and accusations are pointed at Ravus and his potions.Val finds herself in the center of the drama between the Seelie and Unseelie Court in this dark, runaway fantasy far separated from the tedium of high school and homework. Holly Black has a knack for quick, in your face openings and wicked Faerie characters that confront sweet and doting Disney incarnations. The fiendish, earthly creatures from Tithe are back in the murder mystery that is Valiant. As the narrative progresses, it became painfully obvious I was never going to get a point of view from a familiar character or something to ground what I was reading to the Tithe I read a few years ago. Valiant isn’t about re-appearances, it’s a different plot line parallel to the Faerie world and filled with the repercussion of Tithe of which I don’t really remember, but wish I had.Given how different it is, I thought I’d be able to pick up bits and pieces to jog my memory into constructing a workable foundation for references to the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, and characters like Roiben and Silarial. What actually happened was a complete mental flop; I should have borrowed Tithe to reread before I started on Valiant. There was no plot synopsis, no catching up inner dialogue; Val, Dave, Lolli, and Luis have no reason to reminisce about what happened to Kaye or Roiben--neither of whom they know exists.To connect these two adventures, the reader’s window into the familiar world of Tithe is through the Faerie folk themselves: Ravus, Mabry, and numerous other strange, beautiful, and sinister exiles from the Seelie court who find themselves entangled in the political machinations (whims, fancies, whatever) of the Courts. The only thing is, we get a very narrow window into this world after the events of Tithe (chronologically, Tithe is before Valiant, yes? Is my memory that bad?), so small in fact, that I would have had to remember some crucial narrative events from the first book to make sense of the meager scraps of no doubt highly revelatory information one can only assume is crystal clear and static-free to careful readers that arrive fresh from the pages of Tithe to embark on the journey that is Valiant to make important connections.I’m not complaining--I’m hitting myself over the head for being silly and lazy enough to think I could “fake it” and enjoy Valiant the way I think it was supposed to be enjoyed--read after a reread of Tithe just in case something came up that would lead to what’s been going on behind the scenes.In any event, the book was good and fun! Holly Black tackles drug abuse and addiction, friendship, betrayal, love, and fear in brute force honesty surrounded by urban parks and wild, untamed nature. The prude in me was a little horrified that teens are reading these things, worrying that replacing “real” drugs with “fairy” drugs would make it sound excusable to participate in related behaviors, but I got over that pretty quickly. She handles it well, I think, for the short amount of pages she had to devote to everything else. Not only that, but she wrote a great book filled with powerful, unsuspected magical objects, and ordinary kids faced with extraordinarily odd circumstances.The scariness of Black’s magic isn’t the bad stuff that could happen should you be on the wrong side of a bad spell, it’s the fine line between the worlds of humans and Faeries and the ease with which we could all fall prey to something as supernatural and dangerous as glamour, hidden in such alluring, mundane packages. The warning is loud and clear: not everything that glitters is gold. It could be rat poison or your future demise at metaphorical needlepoint when your willpower crumbles and you find yourself going down dark paths of destructive, selfish behavior. Unlike Faeries, humans only have so long to live. So don’t waste it getting a Never high and go pick up this book if you haven’t already, but have read Tithe and thought, “OMG yay! I want more!”

Originally reviewed here. I have retellings on the brain right now. So you'll have to bear with me, as this is one of my favorites. VALIANT is the second book in Holly Black's excellent Modern Tales of Faerie trilogy. I read Tithe back in the day, and it immediately became my favorite Tam Lin retelling. I've been somewhat his and miss with that tale, and this angsty teen version of it worked remarkably well for me. So my introduction to Ms. Black was a fine one. When VALIANT came out, I didn't know exactly what to expect given that it switched characters entirely. Things always seem to go one way or the other when that happens in series, don't they? But I wasn't so utterly devoted to Kaye and Roiben that I couldn't make room in my heart for a few more beautiful, crazy denizens of Holly Black's urban fantasy world. And though I should have guessed, I didn't put together the fact that it was actually a Beauty and the Beast retelling until things started getting interesting with Val and a certain troll. By that time I was completely enraptured, and it has remained one of my favorite retellings ever since. As far as the covers go, the one with the sword is my copy and far and away my favorite. I like the whole snipping hair with scissors vibe on the later one, but the horned model dude is kind of freaking me out. Besides, the sword has too much importance not to feature on the cover of this book.Valerie Russell has chosen to disappear. When her not-so-great-to-begin-with home life takes a turn for the horrible, Val leaves. Striking out on her own, she falls in with a band of misfits who live in the New York City subway system. They take her in when she's at her most vulnerable. Unfortunately, companionship and the squatter lifestyle comes with some pretty unhealthy chains, and they all seem to lead back to the Unseelie Court. And it turns out Val has a long way down to go before she finds out what it really means to disappear. A favorite passage, involving Val and a troll by the name of Ravus:"So you'll teach me?" Val asked.Ravus nodded again. "I will make you as terrible as you desire.""I don't want to be--" she started, but he held up his hand."I know you're very brave," he said."Or stupid.""And stupid. Brave and stupid." Ravus smiled, but then his smile sagged. "But nothing can stop you from being terrible once you've learned how."I love Ravus and his role in Val's story. This little snippet of dialogue pretty fairly captures the twist in the gut you experience while reading, but it also hints at the hope underscoring all the doubt and fear. I rarely stand a chance when a woman scorned takes up a sword to fight for herself and for those she cares about. Val came through for me like gangbusters. No one could consider what happened to her to be anything other than outrageously unjust. And yes, when faced with the ultimate betrayal, she barrels off and makes a series of seriously ill-advised choices. Seriously ill-advised. I worried myself sick about her. About Val and Lolli and Luis and Dave. It wasn't easy watching them scrabble desperately for escape . . . for control. Val's journey is a rough one. But it also such a rewarding one. In that sense it occupies the same space in my mind as Enna Burning and Ink Exchange. These are the "dark" installments in their series. The ones in which your favorite characters make mistakes. Sometimes their mistakes are so bad the consequences stretch out to encompass loved ones. They're also my favorite books in their series in each instance. Val, Enna, Leslie. These girls are so strong. They're such survivors. I love watching them pick themselves back up again, learn from their mistakes, and extricate themselves from destructive situations. Even if they are of them own making. Especially if they are. It is these incredibly human elements that make these fantastical stories of death and faeries and love in dark places soar. It is Val's story that is paramount in this version of the tale. The fact that there are lessons in sword fighting (obviously), a sweet romance, and a gritty mystery make it that much more the whole package. I enjoyed VALIANT so much, I missed Val and Ravus and that crystal sword for weeks after finishing it. While not for the faint of heart, it does such a lovely job of contrasting the flaws in Val and her companions, the bleakness of their lives, with the sudden beauty of finding you're stronger than you believed. And for that it has my heart. To quote Val, "and it was perfect, was exactly right, was real."

What do You think about Valiant (2006)?

SO many people seem to despise this book and I really have no clue why. Sure they state why, but to me it's not true. It is probably because they are older adults (even 20 year olds) reading a YA book that is definitely meant for teens. This book to me was pure gold. The author's creepy way of describing the old and true folktale of faeries and telling faerie tales how they are meant to be told. Children from a young age are mislead by thinking faeries are nice, perfect, beautiful, and lovely things when ancient folktale of the faeries clearly states otherwise. Having her grow up on the old folktales of faeries and incorporating the true faerie-nature into her books is amazing - so much better than the twisted folklore of faeries, vampires, etc that we find in books today. Comforting and yet still incredibly creepy. Although Valiant is a totally different story than Tithe the customs stay the same. The faeries are always creepy, the girls are always troubled, and the plot is always interesting. And actually without having any knowledge of what Tithe is about the reader would be just fine with reading Valiant, BUT since I do have a knowledge of Tithe it makes it that much more interesting when when the author has mentioned stuff that has to do with Tithe and at the end when characters from Tithe are brought into the story. It gives more of a background to it without overlapping the stories too much where it would almost be a repeat. Amazing work. Her short stories are just the same. I will definitely be reading all of her books from here on out.

Trovi questa e altre recensioni su Down the Rabbit HoleActually 3.5 stars"You carried my heart in your hands tonight," he said. "But I have felt as if you carried it long before that."Dopo aver fatto la conoscenza di Gavriel e di geni della truffa dei quali Cassel Sharpe fa parte, ecco che torno alle origini, ovvero alla serie con cui ho conosciuto Holly Black e che l’ha consacrata nella rosa dei miei autori preferiti.Prima delle Coldtown e dei truffatori dal tocco sovrannaturale c’erano loro, le fate. Loro sono uscite per prime dalla penna e dal genio dark di Holly Black. La Fata delle Tenebre (Tithe in originale) è stato il mio primo libro sulle fate e mi ha aperto gli occhi sulla loro natura. Se prima credevo che tutte le fate fossero dolci e gentili come Campanellino o le fate di Cottingley, la Black è stata la prima a mostrarmi il loro lato oscuro. Capricciose, spesso crudeli, tremende doppiogiochiste e quasi sempre letali per gli umani. Perché chi gioca con le fate rischia la vita.Questo però non è l’unico motivo per cui sono affezionata a questi libri. I protagonisti umani della Black sono sempre, e quel sempre è da intendere come sempre, reali. Pieni di difetti, hanno atteggiamenti e scelte spesso discutibili ma che col procedere della storia immancabilmente crescono ed imparano dalle loro esperienze. Per quanto pieni di difetti però hanno anche delle virtù, e quella che spicca di più delle altre è la lealtà, il riuscire a vedere al di là del volto fatato che hanno di fronte. Ed è questo il caso di Val, scappata di casa perché messa di fronte ad una verità scioccante scoperta per caso. Da quel momento in poi, la nostra Valiant fa delle scelte non molto azzeccate che la porteranno ad essere faccia a faccia con un essere fatato in esilio e sospettato di essere l’assassino di altri come lui.Ultimo avvertimento: sebbene la maggior parte dei libri della Black non sia privi di romance, finora Valiant è quello che ne ha meno degli altri. C'è ed in un certo senso è anche il motore portante delle azioni finali del libro ma non la fa da padrone.

I was laughing when I read this. Doesn't really seem like your type of book. Thanks for inviting me to join goodreads. I've been so busy with my sisters wedding plans that I haven't really had a chance to explore it, but it seems like fun, and I'm excited to participate. I just finished Breaking Dawn and will have to post my comments as soon as I get a minute. I'll give you a call soon!

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