Thursday, December 21, 2006

Valiant: a modern tale of faerie by Holly Black

Valiant: a modern tale of faerie

Val makes a shocking discovery at home that makes her question everything. She runs away finding herself on the streets of New York City and falls in with some other street teens who live in the tunnels under Grand Central. Through them she is introduced to the Faerie world. Not the Tinkerbell from Disney kind, but the dark cloven-foot, trolls, gargoyles and other nasty things that will use you up and spit you back out again kind. Surprising herself Val bonds with Ravus, a troll who protects the exiled faeries living in NYC and uses the street teens to deliver potions that protect faeries from iron poisoning. But when faeries start dying from the potion that should heal them all fingers point at Ravus and it's up to Val to prove them wrong.

Black uses very obvious themes here about running away instead of dealing with family issues and drug use. Only instead of a real drug (though it resembles every use of heroine I've ever seen in the movies) the teens use "Nevermore" which is actually a concentrated form of magic which helps the faeries stave off iron poising, but which gets humans high. I was a little surprised by the language. There are a couple of instances of the F-word in the first chapter and it recurred through out.

Val makes the transitions to and from the streets fairly easily which I find rather unrealistic. As well, as the handy appearance of Ruth, Val's best friend from, which makes Val's efforts to save the faerie world a little easier.

This was an exciting and quick read though. Sure to please readers looking for a little bit of fantasy injected into a real world setting.

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