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Friday, November 24, 2006

**** Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts. Contemporary paranormal romance.

This is the last of the Circle trilogy that started with Morrigan's Cross and continued with Dance of the Gods. The concensus seemed to be that this would be the best of the series and everyone seemed to be waiting for Cian's story.

So when I wasn't thrilled, I wanted to know why--what other people saw in this book that I didn't, and vice versa--and it was off the the Amazon reviews to try to figure it out. The positive ones drooled over Cian; the negative ones complained that there were *gasp* vampires. I don't know why I bothered.

It did make me think more about my reactions, though, which was, after all, the purpose.

First, the good stuff. I liked the interactions between the group of 6, and basically the characters in general. The four stars is primarily for the characters, including the bad guys. The vampire leader Lilith, her 2nd in command Lora, her "son" Davey, and their wizard ally Midir were nicely creepy, believable, and 3-dimensional. They were vain and selfish, but cared about each other. I didn't agree with the reviews that said they weren't evil enough. Evil with human characteristics is so much more interesting than just pure evil.

Also, Cian and Moira were in a pretty impossible situation--always a good plot for a romance. He's an immortal vampire, content with his life in 21st-century earth. She's a mortal, queen of her people, in Geall, an alternate world that's mostly like medieval earth.

I appreciated Moira's growth once she became queen, and how she proved herself to her people, stood up for them, and motivated them.

But I think this trilogy dragged on too long for me. The war that was supposed to provide the bulk of the conflict in this book didn't. I didn't really care about any of the people involved in the earlier skirmishes; and the outcome, and even the course of the big battle at the end were predictable and thus lacked tension.

There was very little tension in the romance plot, either. Cian and Moira initially tried to deny their feelings for each other, but Moira decided to sieze what happiness she could, and didn't have much trouble convincing Cian. Any complaints about their relationship from the other 4 or from Moira's subjects were dismissed easily.

And oddly, despite the fact that in Morrigan's Cross, Cian was a fascinating character, he had very little to do in this book. It's primarily Moira's book, about her becoming queen, her personal growth, her battle to save her people, and her tragedy of loving someone she couldn't have a happily-ever-after with. Cian was just a secondary character here.

As for the ending... I know plenty of people like paranormal stories that end like this ****spoiler**** with the vampire/werewolf/whatever becoming human again **** but when it happens, especially without a lot of effort on the character's part, it feels like a cop-out to me. In fact, I think I'd have liked this book better--or at least felt it was more honest--without the happy ending. Don't get me wrong--I do not at all advocate pushing the envelope of romance genre conventions by eschewing the happy ending--with an other-than-happy ending, I'd have called it something other than romance.


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Hi great investigation into the way this book worked and didn't work for you.

I missed ya yesterday! for TT...even though it was quiet in TT land...I joined in.

Hey I just posted a link to the New York Times Most Notable Books of the Past Year, thought you might be interested.

I hope you are feeling better this week too.

Thanks, Candy. I'll stop by and check it out.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I LIKED the way Cian was able to have his happy ending with Moira. :D

There was a moment when I read the scenes with Lilith and Davey that had me going 'EWWWWW!' but other than that, I enjoyed it. Not a re-read choice for me like the Born, Jewels, Three Sisters, Dream and Chesapeake Trilogies, but I liked it a LOT more than Dance.

Hee. You know I like happy endings, but this one just didn't work for me.

The problem with Nora's books is that I expect to LOVE them. So when I don't, it bothers me more than it would with a book I had no expectations of.
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