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Publisher's Summary

When 17-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 shoots up a shimmery amber-colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there's Luis' brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.

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

Best-selling author Holly Black follows her breakout debut, Tithe, with a rich, harrowing, and compulsively readable parable of betrayal, abuse, friendship, and love.

©2005 Holly Black (P)2006 Random House, Inc. Listening Library, an imprint of the Random House Audio Publishing Company

Critic Reviews

"Beneath its darkness, readers find well-rendered characters, a gripping plot, and pure magic." (School Library Journal)
"Exotic, sexy undercurrents....deliciously overripe writing, and [an] intoxicating, urban-gothic setting." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

needs something

the book is basically a fantasy novel where a runaway encounters a fairy community in the inner city, which isn't too bad of a story to tell. the book starts out with good momentum; however, throughout the book i felt it lacked something. i can't pinpoint whether it is the transition from reality to fantasy from the author, who writes better of the drug and homeless experience than the fairy or the reader, who sometimes reads rather flat. it is an ok mystery/fantasy but if you have others to listen to then go with them first.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Faeries are everywhere!

This is a dark and hope filled fairy-tale. I’ve read the previous story written by Holly Black called Tithe, also a very good tale, but I don’t think it’s necessary to read her works in order. This novel stands alone. It’s a wonderful fantasy of a runaway teen finding love and redemption in the reeling squalor of faeries run amuck in the iron poisoned city. The plot is highly inventive, the descriptions glaringly real and overall, it’s truly original. I enjoyed it very much and highly recommend it to those interested in the genre.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing modern fantasy

I read a lot of negative reviews about the modern fairy novels and was hesitant to start this one. But I'm honestly really glad I did. I loved Holly Black's Darkest Part of the Forest and really wanted to read another of her novels. This novel took fairy tales and gave them a very real and twisted feel and fresh modern edge to their world and it always surprised me. I admit a little slow in the middle but just a little.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Dark and Gritty Faerie Tale -- Oh So Gritty!

It takes a while to get to the magic. First you have to see human tragedy. Don't expect a happy tale. It gets bad before it gets better.

Most authors rely on grisly murders to make their stories dark and gritty, but the murders here are not milked for horror. Instead, it's how messed up the protagonist's family life is and how she spirals out of control in a believable way that makes it dreadful. "Here but for the grace of God go I." Living homeless on the streets, petty theft and losing yourself to drug addiction are the themes. This series is spot on for all the faerie lore, far more than anything else I've seen. It's a great modern faerie tale mingling very believable despair and real issues with faeries and magic. Just like in traditional tales, elves and faeries are dangerous. The bright court is pretty, but just as deadly as the dark court.

Val is a great protagonist, living through her trials, failing and succeeding, finding her strength and purpose. The narrator does a great job. I only wish her story were longer. The next book goes back to the first book's protagonist to continue her tale, and both sets of characters intertwine.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A gritty magic story with a tough female lead

The book is very gritty and has a lot of dark themes. I enjoyed it up until the end when it got a bit cliched

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing story telling!

I had read this series in highschool and loved it then as much as I do now.
Holly Black's writing is so well done with vivid detail and beautifully woven words.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

WHY DONT YOU HAVE BOOK 1 & 3!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, its an easy book to get through and its a good story with out being too murky!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Valiant?

when you first met the main characters mother!.

What does Renee Raudman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I really enjoyed her renditions of the work

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

when the main characters comes clean.

Any additional comments?

BRING OUT BOOK 1 & 3... :)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

One of my favorite contemporary fantasies

Well crafted and engrossing. Great cast of characters. Rich modern fantasy environment. I have listened to this book no fewer than ten times since I found it as a kid. I finally had to download it when the library disc-copy began skipping. One of my most satisfying purchases with lots of replay value.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

love love love

an amazing book and read well. do for I've liked all I've heard thus far

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

love

great improvement on voice actress-
I've always loved the stories, though I feel like some of it is still missing.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 08-31-07

Valliantly told

An excellent example of the Urban Faery Tale told very, very well. My only trouble with this is the feeling that I'd come in partway through the story. Turns out that Valiant is the middle book of a trilogy (though it stands alone very nicely in the end).

The Fae in the book are suitably otherworldly and far less human than those encountered in Neverwhere (albeit a Neverwhere under New York rather than London). The humans are just that - human, with all the strengths and weaknesses that entails.

An excellent listen, over all-too-soon. Look forward to hearing the other books in this series!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful