Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuire

Review: Valiant by Sarah McGuire
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository
Series: I wish
Release date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Egmont
Length: 364 pages
Source: ARC/purchased finished copy
Rating: That was SOOO CUUUUUUTE. Lovely fairy tale retelling!

Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he's always prized them more than he's ever loved her. Yet when he's struck ill, she'll do anything to survive, even donning boys' clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.

Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they're marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor's triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won't deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.

I think what I love best about Valiant--you know, besides the incredibly resilient main characters, the PRECIOUS ship, and the rollicking plot--is how classic it feels. This book doesn't feel anything like the majority of the fantasy YA I read nowadays. It feels like a moreold-shool fairy tale retelling like Ella Enchanted or Shannon Hale (very accurate, blurby people, very accurate indeed). So what you get is an entirely charming twist on a not-often-retold tale, The Valiant Little Tailor, with a lady saving the day instead.



My only complain, really, is that I thought it got off to a bit of an uneven start, but once I was into this, I was totally into this. I mean, Iinished it at 3 am! I was so invested in Saville's story, and especially in Saville herself.

(Who else remember when Heidi Klum played giant who fell in love with a wee Keebler elf with legal aspirations)

She's had a rough run of it. Her mother dies, and her cruel father, a tailor who loves his fabrics far more than he loves his daughter, uproots them from their village home and moves them miles away, to the capitol. But when he falls dreadfully ill and is unable to sew to support them, Saville dresses up as a boy (FAVE TROPE ALERT) and poses as his apprentice to earn work. And then, of course, the giants show up...and Saville, in disguise, tricks them and saves the day.

(BECAUSE I DO I DO POSITIVELY VIVIDLY god this film is a treasure)

But that's only the beginning. Because the giants are coming back. They're being led by a very bad dude, and very bad things are coming. There are PLOTS and ADVENTURES and GIANTS and BATTLE and BAD GUYS andddddddd... the cutest ship. So many cutes.


I'm so predictable. I swear I didn't only love this for the ship. I got so many feels, and I love Saville, and the plot is so entertaining, and the end is INSANE, but like... shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip, you guys. Shippppp. This is a lighter fantasy book--I mean, at times, because actually truly gruesome things happen and everyone is in constant peril and HOW CAN THERE BE A HAPPY ENDING?!--but it's more fairy-tale-esque than deeply angsty, yet I still managed to become so invested in this story and in these people. Lord Verras, or Galen, is very serious and noble and not particularly interested in Saville as a person, once she gets herself entirely tangled in matters of the crown. And then... he is. Because them, the two of them, they start to respect each other, like seriously, this ship is built on pure respect and esteem and it's beauuuutifullll.

He looks at me like I'm velvet.

*helpless screechy waily noise*

The plot has got quite a bit of action and momentum. There are twists, and there's magic, and there are GIANTS. A WHOLE ARMY OF GIANTS. And Saville has to outsmart them, with little help from the weak-willed king, and there's a princess who might be selfish and terrible...but has hidden depths? But basically it's Saville and Galen against a giant horde, and time is running out.

This book just made me happy like only a lovely shippy fairy tale can, so pleeeease read it? Pretty pretty please?

And now I'm going to leave this here for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

You're welcome.

(Sometimes I'm just kind of amazed and thrilled that this movie is an actual live real thing and not just one of my fever dreams or something) (god bless it)


  1. I love when she sings Somebody To Love! It's the only thing I remember loving about that movie tbh (I was SO ROYALLY PISSED at how different it was from my precious book. But that's neither here nor there). As usual, you have sold me with all the right phrases. Genderbending! Shiiiiips! Classic fairy tale feel! I will add it to the top of my TBR tower (which will probably crush me any day now).

  2. It just makes me so happy to see all these Ella Enchanted GIFs (and that video)! It's such a fun, adorable film, just saying. And I also really think Valiant sounds like a lovely read! Sometimes, it's nice to just read the kinds of stories that are a throwback to an older, different style of storytelling. Definitely checking this one out!

  3. well this sounds perfect! I'm excited!

  4. I won this arc in a giveaway and it's been sitting there waiting for me to read it. I really want to now! I'd not heard all that much about it but I'm sold now :-) I love me a cute ship. great review.

  5. I've been meaning to read this one since I picked up an ARC of it at ALA. It sounds like a lot of fun and yes, I need more girl dress up like a boy tropes in my life :)


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