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Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie (Modern Faerie Tale) Hardcover – June 1, 2005

4 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Modern Faerie Tale Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–The author of Tithe(S & S, 2002) returns to her dark, dangerous, and amazing world of Faerie. When 17-year-old Valerie catches her boyfriend and her mother fooling around, she runs away to New York City. There she falls in with a small group of teens who live in the subway tunnels. But there is something more to their stories than that of normal street kids. When Valerie begins to notice odd things about the deliveries they make, and when she meets Ravus, a troll, she understands that there is an entire world that she has never known existed–the world of Faerie. Valerie and her friends begin to steal from Ravus's deliveries, using the Never that he provides to the faeries as a drug. But those who receive the deliveries are being found dead. Is Ravus the poisoner or could it be another of the fantastic creatures they have met? This dark fantasy includes drug use and strong language, but beneath its darkness readers find well-rendered characters, a gripping plot, and pure magic.–Tasha Saecker, Caestecker Public Library, Green Lake, WI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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
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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Faerie Tale
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Repackage ed. edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689868227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689868221
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #757,837 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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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