Book Review: “Tithe” and “Valiant” by Holly Black

My first dual book review. I was going to do each book as I finished but… well, they're fairly linked in my mind and Valiant is… well, it's kind of the sequal to Tithe, though I've been told Ironside is the true sequel. The books are modern faerie tales and are meant for a young adult audience but, as a full-on adult who's heading towards middle age, I still loved them. So… let's get this part over with:

Recommendation: I loved them. I actually prefer Valiant over Tithe but… well, I'll explain why in a little bit. However, this is not for people who prefer lighter fare or are expecting the Disney-fied version of fairies. The tone of the books are dark, like the original faerie tales. And none of these fairies are looking to save your human ass; they'd rather put golden chains on you with a crown of thorns, strip you naked then set you in a pen for their amusement.

Tithe follows a young girl who finds out… and crap. I can't tell you any more than that without giving away the entire storyline.

And I can't remember her name. ::sigh::

But the thing is, you'll like her. Hell, *I* liked her and I'm not that fond of teenagers who are listless and just wandering. But she's not just that; she's rebellious and she's seeking and she's lost. She doesn't know a life outside of the nomadic one her mom has dragged her along in but she still holds on to old friends, keeping an identity in the one place she keeps returning.

For me, I found Tithe rather … difficult to start. It's a little too… for me, it dragged until she meets Roiben (and yes, I remember his name because it's really unusual), hurt, on the verge of death and she risks her life to save him. At that point, the book just grabs you and starts you on a race to the end.

I didn't have that problem with Valiant. I couldn't stop reading it. I think it's because I loved the character from the very beginning. When we first meet her, she's in a locker room, talking to her friend, getting ready to go to hockey practice. Then some bitchy princess comes, calls her friend names and instead of sitting back, she (like me) couldn't think of what to say back and instead punches the princess in the nose.


As I kept reading, I fell more and more in love with her. Even with all the bad choices she makes, I loved her. Because she's me. She's me if I was raised now. She's lost and she's trying to find her place and she's a little more comfortable fighting with her fists than she is fighting with her words. She's not emo; she's directionless, partly because she's not sure what she's supposed to be aiming for, where she's supposed to go. She wants to be someone else because she's trying to hide from who she is and what's happened.

Okay, this is going to sound stupid but seeing her go through … it feels so melodramatic to call it hell so I'll just call it "bad time", but seeing her go through it all and emerge more confident and more sure of herself… well, it gives me hope and I'm going to stop being so soppy now.

Read it. It's dark and it's violent and I hope that when they make a movie out of either book, they find a director and screenplay writer who has enough respect and love for the original story to not strip it of everything I love.

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6 Responses to Book Review: “Tithe” and “Valiant” by Holly Black

  1. You never came back 😦

  2. Kay says:

    soo what is the main theme of Valiant then..
    that you shouldnt hide who your really are or you cant trust people because it will bite u in the long run. help please

  3. lostdwarf says:

    Hee, i don't think it's you can't trust people. For me, the theme is "Fuck anyone who tries to be an obstacle. Be who you are, love who you are and leave the assholes on the sidelines as white noise, even if they ARE family."
    And sometimes, the strangest occurrances show you who you really are and what you're really capable of if you're willing to let it.
    Have you read it? I absolutely loved it. She even makes a brief appearance in Ironside, the "true" sequel to Tithe (in that the story is all about the girl from Tithe)

  4. Kay says:

    yeah i am curentyly reading it. 😛

  5. Kay says:

    yeah i am curentyly reading it. 😛

  6. lostdwarf says:

    Let me know what you think the theme is when you're done!

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