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Valiant

A Modern Tale of Faerie
Narrated by: Renee Raudman
Series: Modern Faerie Tales, Book 2
Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
Categories: Teens, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
4.5 out of 5 stars (367 ratings)

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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
    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

  • 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • 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 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Awaiting the merge!

The second of a series with an interesting blend of accessible humanity and fantastical creatures. The use of foul language seemed to pick up in this book, a bit over used, and the narration in this one was a step down, but I'm hopeful for the concluding tome.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully written

This a great story. Wonderfully written. The author just keeps doing a fabulous job in taking you to a world of fairy’s. Loved it! I can honestly recommend this book. The narrator did an awesome job as well.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

excellent story of rebellious youth

really enjoyed this tale of runaways living on NYCs subway tunnels, while actually being a tale of betrayal, magic, family, fear, courage, venality, mystery, thrilling derring-do, and unexpected romantic love.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

No series consistency

Got the book expecting continuation from 1st book. there was no tie with characters or storyline. Story line is horrible unexpected more teenage runaway druggie than modern magic.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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

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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    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.

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    4 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

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  • Overall
    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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.