Skip to main content

Valiant

Valiant by Sarah McGuire has so many elements I love in a book: fairy tale elements, a brave yet flawed heroine, a determined hero, kingdom politics, and a land in peril. There was so much I enjoyed about the book. (Not the least being I actually read a book I liked! After weeks of hating everything.)

Saville has always known her father loves the fabrics he sews as a tailor more than he's ever loved anything or anyone else including her. She resents those fabrics, her father's trade, and the life they've led her to in Reggen. She is determined to escape as soon as she can. When her father has a stroke shortly after their arrival, Saville sees her opportunity for escape disappear. In order to save them from destitution, Saville makes a dangerous gamble disguising herself as a boy and gaining a commission from the King himself. But Reggen is a city on the verge of disaster. Reports are coming in of an army of giants razing towns and leaving no survivors, led by a dangerous human Duke claiming he is the rightful Emperor. Saville is skeptical until her young errand boy finds himself captured by two scouts larger than the oak trees they stand next to. In a daring game of trickery, Saville convinces them she has greater strength and finds herself the champion of the city-a position that comes with it the hand of the princess. When the King and his advisors discover her true identity, she is kept at the palace half prisoner and half assistant to Galen Verras, the cousin of the king and only person in the castle actively working on a solution. Together Saville and Galen make startling discoveries about their foes and make great sacrifices to save the city and the people they love.

Saville is my favorite type of heroine. She is brave, smart, hard working, and loves with all of her heart. She is also scared, impetuous, and hurt by her father's attitude toward her. I love how she came up with such a daring plan to save her and her father, but was actually not all that great at pretending to be a boy. I also adored how she was unable to suppress her compassionate nature and was moved to help people even when it might have been wiser for her to retreat. Galen is a wonderful complement to her. He is also intelligent, brave, and hard working. He can sometimes be too cautious though and this balances well with Saville's utter lack of caution at times. I enjoyed his complicated relationship with his royal family members as well.

The supporting characters are interesting and add a lot to the story as well. The king, the princess, and the young boy Saville saves (Will) all have important roles to play and are layered characters. There are also fascinating dynamics at work in the camp of the giants. The villains are little one note and predictable, but given the fairy tale style of the story that works okay.

Saville's story gripped me from the beginning. It was interesting to see her character react to the challenges she faced as each new life altering event occurred. Once she was in the castle, things slowed down a bit. I did like the slow development of the relationship between Saville and Galen, but felt this part of the novel dragged overall. The end sees the excitement reach new heights though and I adored how it all resolved.

On the whole this is a fun book which is why I enjoyed it so much. The sentence level writing is not the best at times. There are a lot of unnecessary run on sentences and stock phrases that tend to drive me crazy used. (Including the ever annoying: "I released the breath I didn't even know I'd been holding.") Still this is a great book to give fans of fairy tales, adventures, and for those who like a dash of romance.

I read and ARC made available by the publisher, Egmont, at ALA Midwinter. Valiant is available for purchase now.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by  The Broke and the Bookish  and now hosted at  That Artsy Reader Girl . This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List From Most Recent to Least: What books have recently caught your eye?

Shorter Musings MG Fantasy

Here are some shorter musings on recent MG fantasy reads. Anya and the Dragon   by Sofiya Pasternack This book is fun. It is a book full of adventure, an obvious bad guy, some more complicated morally gray area characters, and a strong, brave heroine. It is also a book about friendships, community, and fighting for what is right. All things that usually work for me really well. While I enjoyed this, I did feel it was a little overlong and there were certain plot points at the end I didn't love. However, there were things I thought were done really well, such as Anya's Jewish faith and the idea that power needs to be challenged. In the end it was a middle of the road read for me, but it is one I will certainly be recommending to dragon and fantasy adventure lovers I know! R is for Rebel   by J. Anderson Coats This is tough because I usually really like Coats's books. I had such a hard time with this one though on so many levels. It's difficult to get into because t

Serafina and the Black Cloak

Serafina and the Black Cloak  by Robert Beatty is a thrilling tale of mystery and adventure set at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in 1899. Having lived in Asheville and visited the house several times, there was no way I was going to pass up a chance to read this. (Also it's MG fantasy, always a bonus for me.) Serafina lives in secret in the basement of the Vanderbilt's spacious vacation home. She has lived there most of her life. Her father worked on the house as it was being built and is the mechanic who runs the massive generator and keeps the electricity going. Serafina is the chief rat catcher, slipping through the halls of her massive home secretly and quietly. She is light on her feet, sees well in the dark, and is quick enough to catch the vermin and keep them out. Serafina knows she if different and strange. Her father insists she stay hidden. But all that changes when one night Serafina witnesses a horrible crime. A little girl, a guest in the house, is fleein

YA Book GIVEAWAY!!!

On Tuesday I posted my Top Ten Books Read so Far in 2013 and promised to highlight more of this year's favorites and offer them in giveaways. This is the YA giveaway. This is open to anyone who lives where Book Depository ships for free . Book Choices: TO ENTER: Leave a comment below saying which book looks most interesting to you and leave a way I can reach you if you are the winner. (email address or twitter handle-If you are using Twitter it would be helpful if you followed me, @brandymuses , in case I need to DM you.) Entries after Monday, July 1 8:00 PM EST are invalid. The winner will be drawn as close to 8 as possible.  Yes, I still do my giveaways the old fashioned way.

Shadowshaper

Shadowshaper  by Daniel José Older is everywhere. Best of lists. Award buzz. Blogs everywhere. It's one of those books everyone is reading and talking about. I had it on my TBR but decided I definitely needed to read it before the year was out just so I could weigh in on one of the most talked about books of 2015 if asked. It is deserving of every good thing said about it. Every. One. Sierra was looking forward to a relaxing summer break. Her plans involved hanging out with her friends and painting. They did not involve being chased by zombie like creatures and threatened by a magical power connected to her family's heritage she has never heard of. When murals begin fading all over her Brooklyn neighborhood, Sierra is perplexed. When her grandfather, who had a stroke, begins to apologize and starts repeating strange phases and insisting Sierra get the help of a boy she barely knows to help her finish her mural, Sierra is concerned but mostly about her grandfather. Then at a