Book #14 – Valiant by Holly Black
A book from one con or another, not something I’d usually pick up. Young adult, though not something I’d recommend to my niece. Times have changed and passed me by, but I like the innocent confusion that older “young adult” novels have. The same audience could read Valiant and Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark, both have pretty heady subject matter, but Westmark is less gritty. That might unfortunately label Alexander as behind the times.
Valiant starts a little slow. There’s a good amount of character motivation set up. Some of it is…tiring, if you get tired of adolescent drama, no matter how sordid. When the mystery plot gets rolling though, it’s good. The solution to the mystery is not obvious, and Black paints some nice details into her world. I was worried that the ending would be too rushed, or that it would be open (knowing there were other “Modern Tales of Faerie”), but it was just how it needed to be, so kudos there. The writing was solid with just enough adornment.
Something I noticed about her writing: During actions bits, she’s not afraid to step away from the action and let her character contemplate some of what’s going on. Do other writers do this during their action? My action needs work…