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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 listeners say about Valiant

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  • Overall
    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.

2 people found this helpful

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    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 people found this helpful

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Story was good, narrator was yeesh.

Couldn't handle the narrator, had to listen to the book on 1.5 speed. Totally ruined the characters with her very strange inflections and over-the-top voices.

1 person found this helpful

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Wondrous to imagine fantasy in our own setting!

Although this book didn’t feature my favorite characters, the link was satisfying too. :) The story was incredibly realistic and wondrous to imagine fantasy in our own setting. And that it can happen to anyone under any conditions.

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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    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 people found this helpful

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Good

Narrator was not my favorite and certain characters sounded like toddlers. Good story but not quite as captivating as the first book.

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good book, ok narrator

I wasn't as much of a fan of this narrator as the first book, but it was tolerable. There have been other books I couldn't even finish. I'm not sure how much was the actor's fault versus the suggested character voices.

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Feel gross after reading

Im a big holly black fan and generally like her work. This book takes you into an ugly world, with rotten people. It has an interesting concept but the plot feels like a side note to some gross depictions of street life and people. The love story is also strange. I missed the part where the characters actually feel in love. It seemed to be missing the meat. The climax is interesting. I wished more focus was put on the plot and less about the details of street life. I also wish the main character was a better person throughout most of the story. It felt gross to be in her skin. I liked how it showed the slippery slope of how fairly normal people can let themselves fall into squalor morally, physically, and materially. Eeek. Need to shower and scrub my mind after this read.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 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!

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  • Jessica Wolfe
  • 08-03-18

Interesting if a little thin

I'm a fan of Holly Black and I like her writing style and the characters she creates. This story was interesting, but felt a little thin. While well formed I missed the twists and turns and intrigue from other books by Holly. I'm happy I read it, but it's not a must read.