Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: Valley Of Dust by Karoleen Vry Brucks

Valley of Dust
by Karoleen Vry Brucks

Even as a little girl, Selene had always been adventurous, climbing trees and finding new adventures in every nook and cranny. She was never accepted by either gender—all children thought she was too outspoken and strange. Little did she know how different she truly was until an encounter with a mysterious stranger changes her life forever. Readers can witness the intriguing events unfold in Valley of Dust, a novel by Karoleen Vry Brucks.

From the moment that Lucian saw Selene, he knew she was special and that she was his destiny. He sent his brother, Anton, out to watch over her and protect her while she was still unaware of her true nature. Lucian, however, didn’t foresee that Anton and Selene would be mutually attracted to each other. Will Selene come between the two brothers? How will she handle the truth about what she is and the power that courses through her veins? Readers can unravel the exciting answers as they explore the Valley of Dust.

This was a hard review to write, as I like to be nice, but do need to point out stuff I didn’t like about this book, but also point out what I did like as well.

Let’s start with the Good

This book has a pretty good concept of the Strigoi, which after I looked it up I found it comes from Romanian folklore, they are also known as immortal vampires, but suck energy from people not blood. (In this story that energy source varies from one person to the other) Selene is an elemental strigoi so she sucks life from the elements, like plants. (leaves them in dust)

The plot is interesting; with many twists and some action that keeps you interested. But I found some of the things that happened to be a little too convenient. I really didn’t like Selene too much; she just didn’t sit well with me. First off, she’s still a virgin at like 20 something, and just gives it up way too easy and it all just seemed too strange to me.

I loved Lucien, he is a great guy, and he put up with more from Selene than any man I ever heard of. Sorry, but if the wife shut the husband out for 5 years, they won’t be sticking around, and for sure would be cheating, lol. So he is an angel in that area and she didn’t deserve him.

I really would have liked to see more character development; there is none at all, just bits and pieces. I would also like to learn more about the other characters pasts as well. I am really curious about all of them, and would like to hear more of Selene’s deeper thoughts and her past. Like why was she on the outs with her parents, and was shocked that all of a sudden they are fine with her. Just all didn’t make any sense. I also really think the author could have made some of the dialog smoother and easier to understand, and more depth.

Like I said, the story itself has promise, just really isn’t written as well as I would like. (more like a school term paper, trying to make it as short as allowed, that’s the feel I got)

Ok, now some of the bad, and want to mention more for constructive criticism, and not a bash on the author. Like I said, this story has a ton of promise, and is still worth reading (also some of these mistakes could have been corrected as I have a copy that may not be a polished up and corrected one that is sold.)

One is the biggest things that got to me, was the choppy sentences, like for example, this scene is so choppy : “Right after that he was gone. I was speechless. I did not want him to stay, but for some reason it was odd to see him go.” You see what I mean? For one, she uses “I did not” all the time, instead of Didn’t, where it would have been a much better fit for Didn’t instead. “I didn’t want him to stay.” Sounds much better than “I did not” in this case, and most of the cases in the whole book. If you were to try to read this book out loud, it would sound awful, this could never be read as an audio book that’s for sure.

I also found the book way too short, it felt like so much was left out. We span about 10 years or so in 150 or so pages. Also the book ends so abruptly as well. It just ends, with no lead up to it or anything. It took me by surprise for sure.

There was zero character building at all, and what little back stories I read about were so small and ill placed, they really didn’t even make any sense to me. I had so many questions too. Who were these gypsies and why do they hate the strigoi? How were live strigoi chosen and why were undead strigoi made and how? Later in the book it’s stated that there is no explanation for this, but that’s just not good enough, as the whole story is about this, so it just felt too unfinished to me. Too many questions, with no answers.

Also, she spelled Jane Austen wrong, which bugged me ( 2 times even) she spelled it Jane Ausin, and its Austen.

Another thing, the Detective, Michael Jones had 2 nanes I guess, as he was called Michael Jones, and then he introduces himself as Detective Brown, but then called Michael Jones again. So which is it? I am guessing Jones, but not sure. This can all be just my uncorrected proof I may have.

There was just a lack of overall foundation for me. So overall I give this 3.5 stars out of 5 (at goodreads I put 4 as there is no ½ stars) for the concept of the story. It needs an overhaul in my opinion. These are all things that can be corrected with a good editor and maybe add some more foundation to this story, which is quite good overall. Get some beta readers as well, before publishing in my opinion would be a good idea.

The thing is, I do not even know if there is another book at all, but the story is not finished, so would think there would be. As of writing this review, I see nothing of another in the works.

I received this book from the author for my honest review.

This review is also posted at Goodreads, here, and Amazon, here.


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