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Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black

on November 25, 2012

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie by Holly Black

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie is the second novel in Holly Black’s, author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, Modern Tale of Faerie series. However, this can easily be read as a stand-alone book.

Though Kaye Fierch and Roiben, the now King of the Unseelie Court, do make an appearance toward the end of the novel (for spoilery reasons), they are not the main focus. Instead, we are introduced to a new heroine, Valerie Russell, or Val.

Val is a athletic tomboy who has an affinity for video games and lives with her single mother (or at least Val thought she was single.)


There’s a reason for this.

Val and Kaye are very different protagonists, while Kaye was flighty and could be irresponsible at times, Val is very reserved and ungber-repsonsible.  Also, while Kaye had known about faeries her whole life, Val has no idea of her existence, making more of a culture shock when she finds out their existence.

Anyway, so Valerie is supposed to go a hockey game with her boyfriend, but he’s running late.


Brace yourselves for some awful.

So, she leaves without him a little peeved, but then changes her mind and goes back to her house to wait for him, only to find her boyfriend and her mom in the throws of passion.


Seriously though, eww.

Seriously, eww.

Alright, here’s the deal guys: I’m not going to lie, but I’m a bit torn about this scene. On one hand, this is a really good way to get our good-two-shoes protagonist to run off to where almost the entire rest of the story takes place. On the other hand, doesn’t this scene seem a little… I don’t know… soap-operay?

So that happens. And Val runs away to a not-so-nice part of the Big Apple, where she shaves her head and joins a group of squatters, Luis, who has the ability to see through faerie glamour, his brother Dave, and a girl named Lolli. It turns out that the squatters are actually delivery people for a troll named Ravus, who makes healing potions for the faeries that are forced to live in the city.

But just when Val starts to get used to this life, and just when she starts to truly befriend the troll, tragedy strikes in the community of exiled faeries that pulls Val and her new friends in the middle of the conflict.


Well. That was interesting.

I think that my favorite part of the book was when Val encounters her first faerie. She’s with Dave, who’s one of the squatters, and they knock on the door. It’s answered by a satyr. It’s one of those read-it-too-fast-and-you’ll-miss-it type deals. It’s surprising and a little funny.

This next bit may be a little spoilery, but there are flavors of “Beauty and the Beast” among the dark faerie conspiracies. Not to say it’s a straight reinterpretation, that’s just what I thought of when reading this book.

And now that we’re on the topic, Holly Black’s Modern Tales of Faerie series are Teenage Paranormal Romance Novels. Fortunately, they are on the better side of scale of books. The romance here is naturally and makes sense (considering the rules of the universe). Also, the couple isn’t spending every other page telling each other how fantastic the other person is while the wind blows through their hair and a single tear falls out of their eye from the mere thought of losing one another.

Though it has elements of horror and romance, this book is a mystery more than anything else. And I going to be honest here, I didn’t see it coming. I love any mystery that has a surprising twist that still made a lot of sense. And this book had that.

My only real complaint about the book is that the third act went very fast.  I felt like it was a little bit rushed.

Overall, I really liked Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie. Granted, nothing blew me away, but overall, I thought it was a very nicely written book. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good mystery.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


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