Valentine is the first in a smart, witty and page-turning YA series with a paranormal twist for fans of Holly Black and Sarah J. Maas.
Four teenagers – all born on the same Valentine’s Day – begin to disappear. As the bodies mount up, Pearl Linford has to work out what in the supernatural hell is going on, before it happens to her.
Finn Blacklin is the boy with whom Pearl shares a birthday, the boy she has known all her life and disliked every second of it, the boy her subconscious has a totally annoying crush on. Finn is also the Valentine: a Seelie fairy changeling swapped for a human boy at birth. The Unseelie have come to kill the Valentine – except they don’t know who it is. And now both the Seelie and the Unseelie think Pearl is the Valentine, and if they find out she isn’t, she’ll disappear too.
Pearl must use all her wits to protect herself. Finn must come to terms with his newfound heritage. And then there’s the explosive chemistry between them that neither of them know quite what to do about . . .
Cover image and description both sourced from Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32334268-valentine?ac=1&from_search=true
Because that particular play one words (you’ll get it once you read the book) epitomised what I loved about this book!
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when this book arrived at the Bookshop for me, and to be honest, I was really apprehensive.While I have read some truly amazing young-adult fantasy, I have also read some that is truly terrible. I hadn’t heard anything about Valentine, or it’s author, and I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much. I think the book actually spent about a month sitting on my bookshelf before I got around to reading it, but once I started, I almost couldn’t stop!
Within about 3 pages, my fears had evaporated, as I was drawn in by the authors witty writing and intriguing characters. I’ll admit, there were a few predictable moments, but there were many more surprising and intriguing moments that left me rapidly turning the pages, desperate to figure out what the hell was going on. The concept of a Seelie changeling was one I personally hadn’t read about in any other book or series, and the way McAlister incorporated different aspects of the fairy mythos was something I definitely enjoyed.
I think the only problem I had with the series was the fact that the romance was such a major part, as lately it is just something I have gotten tired of. That being said, I know there have been many a time where I have lapped up every moment of a romance, so I’ve kind of put it down to me just being a bit crotchety at the moment! While I was slightly annoyed at the inclusion of a romance, I did love the way it was played out, especially Pearl’s annoyance at her attraction to someone she dislikes. I can well remember the feeling of betrayal when my subconcious would insist on daydreaming about someone despite my concious self believing they were a complete jerk!
An aspect of the story that I particularly loved was Pearl’s unusual family. While I was slightly confused for a few pages, I quickly caught on, and I loved seeing a family that differed so far from the stereotypical 2-parents-3-kids-1-dog being so positively represented. I found both of Pearl’s siblings to be really interesting characters, and I am looking forward to finding out more about them as the series continues.
An unusual and intriguing fantasy with relatable characters and a witty writing style, Valentine quickly drew me in, and I am looking forward to following the development of the story in subsequent books. Also, a huge amount of love for the fact that the author is Australian – there aren’t very many Australian fantasy books out there, and I think that Valentine is a brilliant addition to the slowly-growing collection!