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The Modern Tales of Faerie is an Urban Fantasy trilogy by Holly Black, including the books Tithe, Valiant and Ironside.

Tropes used in Modern Tales of Faerie include:
  • Accidental Murder: Ravus accidentaly killed Tamson in a duel, which is the reason that he was exiled from the Seelie Court. However, it turns out that Mabry had weakened Tamson's armor prior to the duel because Tamson knew that she was working for The Unseelie Court.
  • All Trolls Are Different: Trolls are slightly larger and much uglier than most faeries, with greenish skin, protruding teeth, and black-and-gold eyes. They turn to stone in sunlight, but will recover when no longer exposed. Troll blood breeds true even when mixed with human. Ravus, the one major character who's a troll, is a little intimidating but a genuinely good guy, although it's indicated in other books that this isn't true of all trolls.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Averted with Kaye, not so averted with a lot of the other faeries.
  • Big Applesauce: The books take place in New York and New Jersey, usually commuting between the two during the novels. New York is also where the exiled fae are sent.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Luis
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In Ironside, Roiben gives Kaye an impossible task -- to find a faerie who can lie -- in order to keep her from becoming his consort, and by extension, a subject of the Unseelie Court.
  • Break the Cutie: Roiben, after he comes to the Unseelie Court.
    • Also, Kaye, to some degree, and Ethine, after Ironside.
  • Can Not Tell a Lie: Faeries can only "Bend the truth until it snaps under its own weight." i.e, they can't lie per se, but are very, very fond of leaving out important information or "little details" that could be willfully damaging to the hearer. This becomes a plot point in Ironside when Kaye is required to find a faerie that tell an untruth for Roiben's quest. 'Cause she's a wily girl, she uses a paradox of sorts to solve the riddle.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Kaye
  • Coming Out Story: "Mom, you know the forbidden love Spock has for Kirk? Well, me too."
  • Courtly Love: Played straight and subverted with Roiben.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Oh, Ravus, where do we start with you? First, your mom and siblings beat you repetively as a child to get you to fight, then when your dad saw you all as trolls he took off, prompting your mother to disown you, then you accidentally ran your first and best friend through with a sword, then you got exiled to New York/Ironside, and now you're accused for poisoning fey with your medicine. BOY, IT MUST BE GREAT TO BE YOU!
    • Also, Luis and Dave. Their father killed their mother, shot Dave in the chest, then committed suicide. They now live on the street running errands for the fey.
    • We don't even know that much about Roiben's past, but from the time he sets foot in the Unseelie foot onwards, there seems to be no end of darkness and troubles.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Played somewhat straight with Roiben and later Kaye and Ravus who end up as part of the Unseelie Court (Night/Dark Court), but are usually good and moral characters. The Unseelie Court as a WHOLE is pretty messed up, though.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Though usually The Stoic, Roiben gets several snarky moments. Kaye says that she "liked him more before he had a sense of humour".
  • The Dog Bites Back: Roiben to Nicnevin. Corny to Nephamael. Lastly, Ethine to Silarial
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Reversed example with Val after she shaves her head in Valiant. Even lampshaded where it is pointed out that in her reflection, it is now a young delicate boy looking back at her.
  • Egg Sitting: In Valiant, Ruth and Val take care of a flour sack together, which prompts Jen to call them lesbians.
  • The Fair Folk
  • Fantastic Drug: Never, the fairy medicine in Valiant, also has some very potent and magicial effects on humans when they shoot it up.
  • The Film of the Book: Both Tithe and Valiant have been picked up. Tithe by Jim Henson Company, and Valiant by MTV.
  • Fridge Brilliance: Luis being gay completely explains all the times in Valiant when he ignored Lolli and why he never reacted when she came on to him, despite being a deprived teenage boy and her being good looking and easy.
  • Geeky Analogy: Corny comes out to his Star Trek-loving parents by saying "You know that forbidden love Kirk has for Spock? Well, me too."
  • God Save Us From the Queen: Nicnevin, Silarial, too because she cares about nothing but getting her way.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Roiben's got a bunch, revealed in his Shirtless Scenes. Corny gets a few from his night with Nephamael
  • Hot Mom: Val's mom tries to be this, and actually ends up as a Stacy's Mom / Mrs. Robinson. Ravus also points out that in his childhood, his mom was very beautiful, although YMMV, considering that since he and his mother are trolls, he might have been looking from that perspective.
  • I Know Your True Name: Faeries can be controlled by their true name, therefore full names are a closely guarded secret.
  • Important Haircut: In Valiant, Val shaves her head on the train after discovering her boyfriend's affair with her mother.
  • Insubstantial Ingredients: Ravus's alchemy requires such ingredients as 'The Breath of a Dying Man' and 'Summer Sunlight'. Note that these can be found in cigarette stubs and cut grass, respectively.
  • Interspecies Romance: Val and Ravus.
  • Invisible to Normals: Faeries cannot be seen by humans unless they have The Sight.
  • I Will Protect Her: Roiben, toward Kaye. He doesn't always tell her though.
  • Kick the Dog: Lolli kicks the cat she stole into the path of a train when she gets sick of her mewing. I can imagine she lost a lot of fans at that point.
  • Light Is Not Good: The faeries of the Seelie court are almost as dangerous as those of the Unseelie.
  • Literal Ass Kissing: Used as a joke, a CMOA and as Nightmare Fuel in Tithe: after finding out Rath Roiben Rye's True Name, the main character sarcastically tells him to kiss her ass, and doesn't realize he's magically compelled to obey.

 "That is the nature of servitude, Kaye. It is literal minded and not at all clever. Be more careful with your epithets."

  • Literal Genie: How the Literal Ass Kissing incident occurs. Another example is when the big bad gets Rath Roiben Rye's true name and orders him to grab the escaping heroine. Roiben promptly grabs her hair... and then lets her go again, snarking, "You may be well versed in following orders, but you are a novice at giving them."
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Roiben
  • Morphic Resonance: Faeries keep a trait when they transform. The troll Ravus, for example, turns into a human with golden eyes.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Subverted. When Luis starts acting weird, it's barely remarked upon since there are other, more serious things going on. Turns out it's not Luis; it's Dave, using Never to glamour himself into looking like his brother.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: The pointy-toothed, people-eating kind. Although they can be bribed with raw steak and jewelry.
  • Parental Abandonment: Seems to be the norm in the faerie kingdoms, as seen in "The Land of Heart's Desire"
  • Porn Stash: Corny has one of yaoi. Kaye winds up reading some at one point.
  • POV Sequel: Sort of. The sequel short story "The Land of Heart's Desire" in "The Poison Eaters" is written around Roiben, as opposed to Kaye.
  • Shirtless Scene: Roiben has several.
  • Shout-Out: Ruth has a "Still Not King" badge on her bag in Valiant, a Shout-Out to Cassandra Clare's The Lord of the Rings fanfic The Very Secret Diaries.
  • Straight Gay: Corny. Also Luis.
  • Strange Girl: Kaye, although a lot of the female human characters are like this.
  • Taken for Granite: How Val saves Ravus. He can only survive about an hour with his heart cut out, so Val rips open the curtains and exposes him to sunlight, freezing him 'til nightfall to give her some extra time to save him.
  • Tomato in the Mirror
  • Troubled but Cute: Roiben.
  • True Sight
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Roiben.
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