Valiant – Holly Black

Valiant by Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Form: Hardback Book

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell runs away to New York City, she’s trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city’s labyrinthine subway system.

But there’s something eerily beguiling about Val’s new friends. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there’s Luis’s brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistae of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.

When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to now him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

Source: Inside flap of book

Valiant is a very gothic book. It mostly has melancholy mood about it as Val deals with betrayal, fear, new situations and creatures, and drugs. Many times while reading I wasn’t sure how I really felt about this book. The story is extremely well written and makes you want to continue reading it, but I felt that material a little bit questionable for young adults. I realize that young adults experience real life daily, that sex and drugs are a regular part of it, but I think this book actually glorifies the drug use too much and the consequences for that usage was not strong enough in my opinion. This really isn’t a book that I would let my teenage daughter read if I had a choice.

That being said, I did enjoy reading the book. I like stories about faeries, good and bad alike. The synopsis is right on about Ravus, he is a good and honorable fae who is painted in a bad light. He has had a rough past, but devotes his life to helping others of his kind. When he first appears in the book he is scary and angry, but within reason; he was just tresspassed upon afterall. The overall story was quite captivating, and as I said before, well written. I hope to see more from Holly Black in the future.


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