Sunday, June 01, 2008

Book review: Valley of Silence, Nora Roberts

The climax of Roberts' vampire trilogy, and quite possibly the best of the bunch. As typical of her trilogies, Roberts offers three heroines - one per segment - one blonde, one brunette, one redhead. As is also often the case, we have the warrior, the spiritual focus and the "weak" one.

This particular tale ends the story of the vampire queen and her quest for domination of the worlds. We're specifically concerned with two worlds: Earth and Geall, which appears to be an entire planet based on the ancient Irish Celts. Along with vampires, we have time-travel, interdimensional travel, audiences with gods, romance, war and death.

It will come as no surprise - romance novels are derivative, regardless of the subgenre, that love conquers all in the end. What's remarkable about Roberts is how she takes us on the journey. Her ability to juggle all six characters, keep the plot moving forward in what is essentially a three-act play, and bring the heroes and heroines to the fore during their own act while not allowing them to dissipate during their unfeatured acts is a particular talent.

Cian, the brooding vampire not unreminiscent of Angel, steps into the main role easily. In fact, the trilogy gives him the most character development overall. Moira, the mousy scholar-turned-queen goes from determined but hapless waif to warrior queen, spurred on by
a fierce sense of duty. Neither is without their flaws and foibles, although Cian's should be the most obvious.

Roberts also delves a bit more graphically into the topics of child molestation, rape and abuse in terms that are not for those with delicate sensibilities. Although she's been quite frank with these topics in her "In Death" series, writing under the name J. D. Robb, she's gone a bit deeper under her Roberts books.

All in all, a good read. The best of the trilogy.

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