Modern Faerie Tales: Part 2
By Christina, age 17, Louisiana
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
Despite being named as the sequel to Black's best selling Tithe, Valiant is a brilliant story about new characters in the same old world. Only mentioning a few names once or twice from her first book, Holly Black introduces us to a whole new set of people to love. In doing so, she also sets us up for more faerie surprises. Taking the best from book one and book two, she mingles them and gives us Ironside, my personal favorite, and unfortunately the last in this series of genius. It's true, I'm afraid. All good things will come to an end, whether thousands of fans agree with it or not.
But not yet. Valerie Russell is your average teenager with a not so average opportunity. To take it, though, she must face the truth, shave her hair until every strand has hit the floor, and ultimately live on the street. Whereas none of this was planned, she settles in with a group of squatters that consists of Luis, who is indescribable to most (and has my personal affection), Dave, Luis' younger brother, and last but maybe least, Lolli, who might be known as wild if she didn't give the word such a run for its money.
Val falls into step with the three of them easily enough, living in New York City's labyrinthine subway system and dumpster-diving with Dave, but soon falls onto a different path in which all of her friends are involved. Luis, repaying a debt to the faeries for saving the life of his brother, works for a troll by the name of Ravus - the same troll who, later on, will play the most important role in Valerie Russell's life.
Black's entire novel is twisted around an even more twisted plot that centers around numerous perishing creatures, and ultimately the strength of Ravus' potion, which is nothing more than a drug known to humans as Nevermore and to the Fey, medicine known only as hope. Fey creatures are most vulnerable to iron, as it will surely burn their skin and poison their lungs, but for exiled fey living in the New York City area, the threat of death is the strongest. Ravus' Nevermore is working to prevent this crisis; a creature by the name of Maubry is working to help it. Will Valerie, a simple mortal, be the key to bring out the truth?
Author Holly Black
Although I'll wait for you to find this out for yourself, Valiant is made up of many twists and turns that lead to a very common trait - betrayal. Mixed in with romance, fantasy, and temptations even everyday teenagers go through, Valiant truly has something for everybody. It certainly had something for me.
Whereas Black's writing is phenomenal in every one of these novels, I can hardly wait to introduce you to the next one. Ironside, which I mentioned before as the third installment, may be where everything comes together, but between the same pages and same characters it may just be where everything falls apart.
My review of Ironside will appear in the June issue.
Ages 14 and up
Four out of five stars