Monday, May 10, 2010

New to Me author: Holly Black

Most people have heard of The Spiderwick Chronicles I'm sure since they're making it into a movie but I wasn't familiar with Holly Black's work at all until I picked up Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale from the library a few weeks ago. I have since devoured Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie, and Ironside: A Modern Faery's Tale and today, after visiting the library again, I brought home with me White Cat and The Poison Eaters, both brand spankin' new books from Ms. Black. I am very excited to have them in my grubby little hands. I would drop the book I'm currently reading to start these babies but I can't do that to Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews. That would just be so wrong.

Welcome to the realm of very scary faeries!
Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother's rock band until an ominous attack forces Kaye back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms — a struggle that could very well mean her death.

When seventeen-year-old Valerie Russell 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. Impulsive Lolli talks of monsters in the subway tunnels they call home and shoots up a shimmery amber-colored powder that makes the shadows around her dance. Severe Luis claims he can make deals with creatures that no one else can see. And then there's Luis's brother, timid and sensitive Dave, who makes the mistake of letting Val tag along as he makes a delivery to a woman who turns out to have goat hooves instead of feet.
When a bewildered Val allows Lolli to talk her into tracking down the hidden lair of the creature for whom Luis and Dave have been dealing, Val finds herself bound into service by a troll named Ravus. He is as hideous as he is honorable. And as Val grows to know him, she finds herself torn between her affection for an honorable monster and her fear of what her new friends are becoming.
Bestselling author Holly Black follows her breakout debut, Tithe, with a rich, harrowing, and compulsively readable parable of betrayal, abuse, friendship, and love.

in the realm of faerie...
...the time has come for Roiben's coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure of only one thing—her love for Roiben. But when Kaye drunkenly declares herself to Roiben, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest to find a faerie who can tell a lie.
Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth—that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother's shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But when Kaye returns to the faerie courts, a battle of wits and weapons is being waged over Roiben's throne, and she soon finds herself at the center of it all.

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers—people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail—he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

From the dust jacket:
In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to her Modern Faerie Tale series (Tithe, Ironside, and Valiant) in two darkly exquisite new tales, "Going Ironside" and "The Land of Heart's Desire." In the first story, "The Coldest Girl in Coldtown," a girl is drunk on the street - but for a reason you'd never guess. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market, introduces a girl poisonous to the touch, and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match.

These twelve stories, two of which are published here for the first time and each of which is illustrated by Theo Black, have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and have been reprinted in many "Best of" anthologies. 

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black's much-anticipated first collection of stories, and her ability to stare into the void - and to find humanity and humor there - will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

See? Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside were all good enough for me to stay up and finish them before I would put them down. Granted, these YA novels only take me a few hours apiece to read but I liked all three nonetheless. All three books about not-so-nice faeries, I enjoyed Tithe and Ironside the best as they both focused on the same set of characters. Fans of the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr would probably enjoy this interpretation of modern faeries. The heroine, Kaye, proves that green chicks are cool. Just ask Captain Kirk :)


Angiegirl said...

*grin* That last line made me laugh. I'm so glad you discovered this series. I love it, too. VALIANT is my favorite, but together they form such a great trilogy. I'm really looking forward to reading WHITE CAT.

Jen said...

The green-skinned girl was one of my favorite things in the Star Trek reboot but I've always been a Trekkie :)

I've got another new to me author waiting to be read and I heard of her on your site: Sharon Shinn. I have the first three in the Samaria series plus The Shape Changer's Wife. One of these days I hope to start Archangel. There really are too many books I want to read and not enough time to read them.