Amanda's Reviews > Valiant

Valiant by Holly Black
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's review
Jan 02, 10

Recommended for: posers, wanna-bes and those looking to flush their lives away
Read in November, 2007

I hated this book from the first page.

Strong words, I know, but let's just have it out. I continued reading primarily because I was interested in contacting Black's agent to represent my own work.

Trite, lame and basically a waste of tree. The plot was blurg, the characters were frighteningly unenthralling, the writing was fair, but you can find decent writing on the back of a cereal box.

The one book's one saving grace was a troll and though the idea was cool, it was hardly enough to save the entire horrible mess.

To rant in depth, I have to start with the drug thing. Magic as a drug (seen it! and it was done better) is an interesting idea, but to depict it to young readers as being like heroin addiction seems to be pushing the line just to push the line.

And that's the big problem I have with Black. Her characters, her plot, they're constructed like cheap, ugly whores. They have to wear a hellva lot of horrid make-up and will do just about anything to make a few bucks in order to pay their pimps. From the very beginning she's throwing in Jerry Springer-esque turns in what begins to feel like a tacky attempt to hook through shock.

Okay, so street kids and drugs and people with piercings and dyed hair, yeah, I know how those things look cool to teenage kids. And being someone who has varied experience with all of the above, I can't say that I don't appreciate them for what they are and that's exactly why I don't write about them anymore, at least not when I'm writing for young adults. Underlying all of these "cool" things is generally such pain and insecurity that to write about them in the way that Black does is like covering a snake-infested swamp with a glittery plastic sheet and inviting your friends to go ice skating.

People can write whatever crap they want, thankfully we don't have to read it.

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

i lolled a little at your last few lines. well written. and i totally agree with you. Melissa Marr does this to (though to a greater extent)and it really annoys me. I think there is a time and a place for died hair and piercings and drugs, but this is not being the focal point of a book. Furthermore, here in London, where the geek - chice reins, piercings and died hair are actually a little passe.I don't see why faery fantasy should always go hand in hand with freaky looking people. Does little jane normal not get to have faery adventures too?

I also write for a teen audience and am very careful not to glamorize drugs, smoking and drinking. I just don't think teens need any more encouragement. also i really don't get her humour. I can see it's supposed to be funny, but i'm not really laughing.

Amanda Thanks for the feedback, Siena.

I started reading Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr and couldn't even get through the first chapter.

And I agree, the plain janes of the world are too oft overlooked in fantasy land.

I've had my hair dyed every color of rainbow, had my tongue pierced and done my fair share of experimenting. It's not that I think those are bad things, but I'm not an adovcate for them either.

I'm a writer and it's my job to stay true to the characters and the story. And basically, I thought Valiant was a crap story and all the freaky people and shock-and-awe tactics were just there to make a bad story seem interesting and exciting. And here in the States, as pop music, talk shows and the WWF proves, cheap costumes and plenty of drama sell, sell, sell.

Oh, well.

Good luck with your writing! I wish you the best.

message 3: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz I agree with you here. I was just curious as to the book that did magic as a drug better?

Judith It's not a total waste of tree! Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to read this absolutely entertaining review. Your review >>>> the book.

message 5: by Liz (new) - rated it 2 stars

Liz Lol.

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