This is a story I wrote on Wattpad
When seventeen-year-old Valerie runs away to New York City, she's trying to escape a life that has utterly betrayed her. Sporting a new identity, she takes up with a gang of squatters who live in the city's labyrinthine subway system.
But there's something eerily beguiling about Val's new friends. And when one talks Val into tracking down the lair of a mysterious creature with whom they are all involved, Val finds herself torn between her newfound affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.
Holly Black writes really good Faerie tales! Right now, for me, she can do no wrong. When I read the blurb for Valiant I wondered if perhaps I had found one that wouldn’t appeal to me quite so strongly—but I might have known that I would end up enjoying it anyway.
I enjoy Black’s conception of what the Faerie world would be like—I like the darkness, the slipperiness, the duplicity. Once again, we have a very young woman thrown into this world to sink or swim. Our heroine, Val by name, is the subject of the title, as her friends start calling her “Valiant.” This reminded me strongly of the Prince Valiant comic strip that we used to get in a weekly paper. The story was set in Arthurian Britain and the Prince of the title was learning how to be a proper knight and joining the Round Table. I think I clipped the weekly comics from the paper and made a scrapbook of the tale. I have no idea whether Black is at all familiar with the comic strip, but I found strong Arthurian influence in this novel, regardless. It was just a young woman, not a young man, who was earning the title “Valiant.”
If I had one disappointment (and it was only very slight), it was that things wrapped up a little too neatly and happily at the end. I prefer messy, uncertain endings, but that’s just my personal taste. Valiant was a very fast, fun reading experience.
When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin.
But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has no body, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own.
To save his friends—and his own soul—Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...
“You’re dead, son,” Jack said. “Cheer is contraindicated.”
Mr. Butcher, you are a manipulative man. Your writing made me cry, unnecessarily I might add, over a fictional character that I will never meet. And I think you took a lesson from the old TV show Dallas on how to kill a character without really committing yourself to what seems like the logical outcome.
In some ways, this also reminded me of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life in that Harry Dresden gets to find out how many people he mattered to and how much. It turns out he was more important to the whole city, including people who didn’t know him personally, that he would every have imagined. His powerful presence scared off a lot of bad guys who might otherwise have made Chicago their place of business.
Harry gets to view his life, his city, and his friends from an entirely new angle in this volume of the Dresden files. Remember the sleazy ectomancer, Mort, from an earlier volume? An almost throw-away character who served his purpose and hasn’t been seen since? Mortimer has come up in the world and I’m thinking he may continue to feature in future volumes. He makes a good addition to the cast.
I read this book much closer in time to the last one than usual because of the cliff-hanger nature of the 12th story. I had to know what happened. Butcher took so much away from Harry during the last book. Next book, we’ll see what Mr. Dresden decides to do with this new lease on life that his author has granted him.
Long ago, Susan Rodriguez was Harry Dresden's lover-until she was attacked by his enemies, leaving her torn between her own humanity and the bloodlust of the vampiric Red Court. Susan then disappeared to South America, where she could fight both her savage gift and those who cursed her with it.
Now Arianna Ortega, Duchess of the Red Court, has discovered a secret Susan has long kept, and she plans to use it-against Harry. To prevail this time, he may have no choice but to embrace the raging fury of his own untapped dark power. Because Harry's not fighting to save the world...
He's fighting to save his child.
Jim Butcher must sit up nights thinking up ways to make Harry Dresden’s life miserable! Just when you think that his life can’t get any more complicated, Butcher dreams up worse things for him to deal with.
Susan Rodriguez returns to mess with Harry’s reality—and inform him that he’s a father and his little girl is in tremendous danger from the Red Court vampires. Harry has spent the last 11 books gathering friends, allies, and frenemies. He has to call on all of them, all his talents, all his anger & power, and all of his cunning to get through this tangle.
So Butcher throws everything into the blender and gives it a good whirl. There is a lot of action, a lot of blood, a lot of characters. I was happy to see the return of Butters and Toot-Toot. Also, it was great to have Mouse get to show off his powers. Harry makes a questionable deal in order to cope with the situation and gets assistance from unexpected quarters. The book ends on a cliff-hanger, so if you object to that sort of thing, consider having the next book queued up and ready to roll. Because, let’s face it, if you’ve read this far, you’re not going to quit now, are you?
Politics have never been October “Toby” Daye’s strong suit. When she traveled to the Kingdom of Silences to prevent them from going to war with her home, the Kingdom of the Mists, she wasn’t expecting to return with a cure for elf-shot and a whole new set of political headaches.
Now the events she unwittingly set in motion could change the balance of modern Faerie forever, and she has been ordered to appear before a historic convocation of monarchs, hosted by Queen Windermere in the Mists and overseen by the High King and Queen themselves.
Naturally, things have barely gotten underway when the first dead body shows up. As the only changeling in attendance, Toby is already the target of suspicion and hostility. Now she needs to find a killer before they can strike again—and with the doors locked to keep the guilty from escaping, no one is safe.
As danger draws ever closer to her allies and the people she loves best, Toby will have to race against time to prevent the total political destabilization of the West Coast and to get the convocation back on track…and if she fails, the cure for elf-shot may be buried forever, along with the victims she was too slow to save.
Because there are worse fates than sleeping for a hundred years.
Thank goodness for Toby Daye. Yes, she’s a Fae hero who spends more time than she wants to rescuing the unwary and binding the wounds of her friends. And she even helped me—it’s true, this novel saw me through the last bit of the worst headache that I have had in many, many moons.
When I’m not feeling well, I reach for urban fantasy. It, along with pain killers, coffee, and soft lights, will see me through whatever is wrong in my world. This series is a particular favourite because I am also nuts about the Fae. Love ‘em. It all started with Patricia Briggs—I first encountered the Fae in her Mercy Thompson series—but it may culminate in McGuire’s October Daye series.
These books have perhaps become a bit predictable—Toby will end up covered in blood at least twice and will probably die/be on death’s door once. Two or three of her Buffy-like circle of friends will have something dire happen to them, which Toby must defy death to fix. Fae royalty will have to be told to get their heads outta their butts. But you know what? When you’ve got a migraine, predictable is good. It doesn’t take your best literary analysis skills to appreciate the book.
I enjoy all the various forms of Faerie found in these pages—someday I have to find time to read some folklore and get caught up on Selkies, Pixies, Coblynaus, etc. I also must reiiterate my fondness for the sea witch, the Luidaeg. She’s fierce and loving and uncompromising and loyal. And she’s got plans for our Toby girl. I’ll be reading on in the series to learn more about that, you betcha!