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Valiant by Holly Black : A Book Review

#2 of A Modern Faerie Tale trilogy

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell 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. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and of a powder that makes shadows dance around her. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures no one else can see. And then there’s Luis’s brother, Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who has goat hooves instead of feet.

When a bewildered Val allows Lotti to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been working, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honourable, and as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between affection for him – and fear of what her new friends are becoming because of him.

****I just want to warn you that this review contains a lot of spoilers.****

Eurgh, what even… I don’t… I’m confused! I seriously stopped three times to check this was the correct book. It follows completely different characters than the first book. I just wanted to continue with Roiben and Kaye’s story but I ended up with over 300 pages of filler!

According to the Blurb, our main character Val, is

‘trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her’

Now what could be so bad to use the phrase ‘utterly betrayed’? That must be pretty bad right? She finds her boyfriend cheating on her with her own mother. Now, yeah that is pretty bad but I think the blurb is definitely over the top in that sense.

Val changes her identity by literally shaving her head. That’s it. After a rough night sleeping at the train station, Vale goes to a coffee shop where she ends up meeting Lolli and Dave. They stole a kitten from a pet shop and this is how they get talking to Val.

Lolli and Dave are two junkies, they go dumpster diving and they sleep in the tunnels. They aren’t really characters you get attached to, you wouldn’t want to become their friends…well I wouldn’t anyway. They do drugs, they steal. Lolli even throws the kitten under a train because it is annoying her! This really made me mad and I just thought it was unnecessary to put that in the book. I already disliked her and now I hated her so I was hoping for karma to come and bite her in the ass further in to the book but I was left highly disappointed but yet still super upset about the kitten.

During the story Val ends up saving the life of a Troll (half Troll, half Human) called Ravus and as repayment she asks for him to teach her how to use a sword (strange request really after all she could have asked for). Her sword skills are needed later on in the book but she could have literally asked for anything so I just found it really odd. There was no real reason behind it apart from that the author needed her to learn sword skills so she could write the ending how she wanted it. The relationship between Val and Ravus blossoms apparently enough for them to fall in love. I think this part of the story fell short, there wasn’t enough growth for me and it just seemed to come out of nowhere.

Finally, at the end of the book, Roiben from Tithe (the 1st book of the trilogy) comes in to the mix but again, I was left disappointed with how the story got to this point.

This book is very dark which I usually like ( it covers drugs and addiction, forced sex, animal cruelty and death). But for me the animal cruelty was just too far. Even if it is just one sentence in the book.

After reading this back, I realise that I seem to have slated the book yet I’ve still given 2.5 stars. The thing is, it kept me turning the pages, it did keep me interested and I read it very quickly so it couldn’t have been that bad. I just don’t see the point in the book and I’m hoping that the next and final book in the trilogy will make me realise why this book is so important to the storyline.

I’m hoping for the 3rd book to bring this trilogy back up to the star rating I believe it deserves.

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