Valiant is not exactly a continuation to Tithe – there are some cameos of previous characters, and slight nods to the story, but this book is pretty much about Val, and could be read independently of Tithe. But the theme is the same; there are faeries and a certain darkness and grittiness to it.
I liked this book, even more than Tithe. I was actually surprised by this – Tithe had been a good book, but not exactly mindblowing. But Valiant benefited from me not being so easily shocked now – when I read Tithe I certainly wasn’t expecting some attitudes and ideas to be present in a YA book, but this time I knew better than to assume anything.
To Holly Black, just because it’s YA it doesn’t mean it has to be sugarcoated. Valiant shows kids in a place no parent would like to see them in, but the truth is it happens (sans faeries, I suppose). There is despair, there is anger, there passiveness. But it isn’t overly angsty – there are quite a few funny parts, and they are not just for comic relief.
Midway through the book it seemed to me it would turn into a Beauty and the Beast kind of story, and while there are some elements of it, it is not important. The story is devoted to Val, her new-found friends and the faeries.
The pages flew by, and no matter how sleepy I was, I wanted more. I really liked how it wasn’t about the romance; it was about Val and the other kids, and about the mystery. Sure, it was easy to figure out who the culprit was, but it was not so blatant that it would make my eyes rolls at the characters for not figuring it out.
I really liked the characters, and especially Val – I didn’t feel she was the typical kickass heroine, but she wasn’t meek or weak either. She had her own strength, but was pretty much a normal kid.
Valiant is a very good book, and now I really want to read Ironside, and everything else by Holly Black. What sold it to me might not appeal to all readers – dark fairytales and alternative lifestyles are something that I enjoy; but if it doesn’t squick you, do give this book a try.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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