Valiant, Holly Black's second book of the "modern faerie tale" variety, tells the story of a girl named Val, who is thrust into a cruel situation that leads to her running away from home. She shaves her head and goes to New York City. It is there that she meets a group of eccentric street kids. All is not as it appears, however, and soon Val finds herself in the midst of a twisted world in which her new friends are strung out on faerie medicine, which allows them to use glamour*. But that's just the beginning. There's also a sword of glass, an awesome troll, some romance, and--of course--a bad guy.
Holly Black weaves the world of the fey and human with a strange and beautiful ferocity that is unique and wonderful. She combines an unflinchingly honest view of today's world with the magic of the faerie courts. When I began reading Black's "modern faerie tales", I had a bit of trouble getting into them. Make no mistake, they're very well written....I was just so unused to seeing the fey in a (modern) world so harsh. If you--like me--tend to enjoy reading romanticised faerie stories (You know what I'm talking about. Those ones. They usually involve many awesome ball gowns...or are set in Ireland...etc.), give the books a chance. They're well worth it.
I award Valiant four and a half out of five daggers.