Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Review: Valiant by Holly Black

My edition: Paperback, published in 2005 by Simon & Schuster, 336 pages.

Description: When seventeen-year-old Valerie 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. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newly found affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.

Review:

The concept of a modern fairytale (or Faerie tale as it's referred to in this book) isn't a new one, but Holly Black has created her own, very original world in which her stories take place - making her stand out from many other authors in the genre. In Tithe this world was first introduced and she expands upon it with the second book in the series, Valiant. Unfortunately, while it was an okay read the novel wasn't outstanding or even as good as Tithe.

It's not the blatant drug abuse criticized by many before me that bothers me, but the central focus of the story that shifts because of it is. The book is advertised as a modern Faerie tale, both on the front-cover and the blurb on the back. Yet the Faeries seems to take a step back to make place of a side story concerning Val running away from home, living on the streets and turning to drug abuse (magical drugs at that, but still). And because there isn't enough information about and involvement from the Faerie people until the very end I found I cared very little for their story.

Instead I was much more drawn to the secondary story, but because it wasn't intended as the main storyline this also didn't feel sufficient to carry the book. The characters (Luis, Lolli, David and even Val) lacked depth and their actions were stereotypical, both leading to me simply not caring about them in the end either. And that's a shame, because the idea behind the book is fantastic and both story lines within have a great potential which occasionally shines through - particularly in the last few chapters where everything comes nicely together.

If only the characters would've been fleshed out more and the author could decide on the focus of the story, perhaps I would've felt more invested all throughout the novel.

6/10

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely loved this book, but I also thought that it didn't hold up to Tithe. I was confused at times when they were on Never, and I wondered about some of the connections between the two books. I did really enjoy it though, and if you've read Tithe, you need to read this

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