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Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale (Modern Faerie Tale) Paperback – October 1, 2006

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Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale (Modern Faerie Tale) + Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale (Modern Faerie Tale) + Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—Val Russell runs away from home after discovering her mom and her boyfriend making out. In New York, she meets two eccentric, homeless teens who take her to their hideout in the subway tunnels where Dave's older brother runs an underground operation dealing potions to faeries. Lolli introduces her to the land of Faerie by shooting up an otherworldly substance called Never (named after Edgar Allan Poe's "Nevermore" from The Raven). Val and Lolli are caught by Ravus, the powerful troll they work for. After enduring his rage and bargaining for Lolli's life in true Beauty and the Beast fashion, Val is bound to Ravus for indefinite servitude and falls in love with him. In Holly Black's dark fantasy (S & S, 2005), filled with twists and turns, her vivid portrayal of the homeless teenagers is harsh, realistic, and apt. Narrator Renee Raudman's excellent voice-overs bring the characters to life, and listeners will relate to the teens. School libraries considering purchasing this audiobook should be aware that there is strong language, sex, violence, and rampant drug and alcohol use. A unique mixture of fairy tales, urban stories, and fantasy, this title will fly off the library shelf. For public libraries, Valiant is a must for fans of Black's Tithe (S & S, 2002).—Ann Crewdson, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 8-11. An exile from the Seelie court, the hunky, sensitive troll Ravus resides in a secret laboratory inside the Manhattan Bridge, ministers to other city-dwelling faeries with healing potions, and has exotic golden eyes and jutting fangs. Runaway Val meets the troll through a trio of homeless teens, runners in Ravus' potion-distribution network. They introduce Val to subway squatting, Dumpster diving, and "Never"--the drug faeries use to protect themselves from iron, but which affects humans like heroin. A twisted Agatha Christie-style plot unfolds as faery partakers of Never begin to expire, and Ravus is accused of murder; Val's feelings for the troll prompt her to clean up her act and investigate the true poisoner. As in Black's companion novel Tithe (2004), the plot matters far less than the exotic, sexy undercurrents (including a scene where Val overhears teens having sex), the deliciously overripe writing, and the intoxicating, urban-gothic setting, where "everything was strange and beautiful and swollen with possibilities." Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Tale of Faerie
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Reprint edition (October 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689868235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689868238
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #500,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, The Good Neighbors graphic novel trilogy (with Ted Naifeh), the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and her new dark fantasy novel, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. 

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Tamora Pierce on August 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover
While I enjoyed the Spiderwick books, I was dying for Holly Black to return to writing for teens as she did in TITHE. I'm not a faery fan, but I loved what she did with TITHE, and I wanted to see if she would create more edgy, dark faery characters and settings. She is still Queen of the Shocker Opening: Val catches her boyfriend making it with her mom. Val's flight to New York after this results in her meeting with street teens who live in the tunnels under Grand Central. With them she comes to see the faerie world, not the Disney sugar-coated one, but the perilous one where humans can be used up and spat out, where the inhabitants are beautiful and deadly. Her new friends introduce her to Ravus, the troll pharmacist who brews potions, including the drug Never. It makes it possible for the faery people to live in our world without slow poisoning from exposure to iron, but it makes humans feel, and act, like the faeries. They can even do magic.

But there are problems. Never is addictive. Val, who earns Ravus's trust as they talk and she serves as a runner for his drugs to his faerie customers, becomes addicted and steals from him. And his customers are getting murdered. Ravus, with whom Val is falling in love, is the prime suspect, and the faerie court that exiled him and his customers to our world is coming to deal with the murders and with him.

This is a powerful book. It's about betrayal, homelessness, addiction and its poisonous effects on relationships and lifestyles, love, appearances, and hate. It's about making decisions and living with them. It's about choices. It's pure Holly Black, dark and wonderful and beautiful. No, it's not TITHE, and that's good. If I want to read TITHE, I have it on my shelf.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Erin Kissane on June 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This isn't the kind of book that a synopsis suits -- if I'd come to it with no knowledge of Black's skill and had read that the book was about a runaway human girl who takes fairy drugs, I'd have assumed the worst and moved on. But Valiant isn't really about those things.

It's about obeying the insane suggestion to go go go that your lizard brain whispers when you're standing at a train station or an airport. It's about the rusty, dirty magic of New York wrapped around a girl with a broken heart. It's about following those beautiful people down the alley at 4am instead of finishing your watery coffee and catching the morning train home.

So I suppose she had me at St. Mark's Place, but there's more here than the trimmings; the story's bones are strong and important. This is the way a schoolgirl becomes troll defender, knight and protector, Valiant -- so hide your daughters, Missouri. This is a story that bangs out space for the girls who can't help standing up to bullies, and does so without even a whiff of the after-school special.

The same feel for the surreal within the ordinary that made Tithe, which is set in the same world, so successful is even more apparent in Valiant. The exiled fairies scattered across Manhattan are no stranger than the perceptual disconnect between the normal adults strolling through Greenwich Village and the homeless kids they step around without seeing. Black's monsters can be brutal and deadly, but no more than the heroine's own friends and family.

Well done.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
Once upon a time, though not so long ago, there lived a teenager named Valerie. Valerie lived with her mother in a single parent family relationship, played lacrosse in school, and was best friends with a girl who preferred girls as friends. Valerie had a foul mouth and a temper to match, and had a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate both of these when she caught her boyfriend cheating on her.

Being in possession of tickets to a hockey game at Madison Square Garden, Valerie fled to New York, where a chance meeting introduced her to a part of the New York Underground that usually only exists in the mind of Neil Gaiman and his ilk. Joining her new friends Lolli (as in pop) and Dave (just Dave), she officially became a runaway, living deep in the subway system and scavenging for her daily bread (and whatever else) on the streets (and in the alleyways and garbage cans) of Manhattan. She also met Luis, the leader of the little group, a strange young man with multiple body piercings and a both a weight and a chip on his shoulder.

Very soon, Valerie realized that there was more going on than communal living and scavenging, and here begins the grim faerie tale part of this story. As Holly Black tells it, there are faerie folk living among us, members of the Seelie Court, who appear to us as regular people (regular for Manhattanites at least) by magical means. Her friends have been working for a troll who lives under a bridge, and they have been trip trapping to and from his lair running errands in exchange for certain favors.
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