Thursday, January 11, 2007

Valley of Silence

by Nora Roberts
Book 3 of the Circle Trilogy

It's never a good idea to stay up late reading a book when you've just started a new job. You run the risk of waking up late the next morning with horrible black bags under your eyes, hair sticking up at odd angles, and the title of a book creased into your cheek. It was worth it though. It's safe to say that Valley of Silence was the best book of the trilogy.

Cian and Moira's story was a much more compelling read than the other two; the love story more moving; the danger more urgent. It still suffered from the problems of the other two books: i.e. too much dialogue and not enough action. There were more conversations on why Moira and Cian couldn't be together than was needed. But because the love story between Cian and Moira was so great, those problems were less annoying than in the other two. I enjoyed reading of their struggle to love each other, knowing that it could go nowhere and would end in pain. I also enjoyed reading a story in which the characters were emotionally honest with each other and with themselves. Those are the type of characters, the kind of people, I can respect.

I also respect, Roberts' willingness to show the gray area that lies between good and evil. Roberts, as so few popular authors do, has the courage and the wits to show that what we would call evil can have sympathetic facets. "Evil" can love, it can know pain, it can know fear, it can feel the need for family. I appreciate Roberts including the sincere affection between Lilith, the Vampire Queen, and Lora, her companion.

What I didn't appreciate, however, was the detail that Lilith sleeps with the five year-old vampire "son" Davy. I didn't see the point in including such a nasty detail. In particular I could have done without this sentence: "In the moonlight he [Davy] saw the battlefield, and the beauty of it made him shake as he did when his mother let him put himself into her and ride as if she were a pony."

I had to read that sentence at least twice over to make sure I'd read it right. When I was sure I had, I wished I hadn't. I mean really Nora, was that necessary? I can handle uncomfortable plot lines but that little detail just wasn't needed. I'd gathered that Lilith and Davy were "lovers" already, I didn't need it thrown in my face. And it just seemed incongruous with the style of the rest of the story. In many ways, this trilogy is a way for Roberts to push the envelope but I think she pushed it a little too far with Davy's storyline.

In any case, I suppose I should also add that the conclusion of the book, and the trilogy was satisfactory but predictable. But then what popular romance story isn't predictable? They all mostly end one way, happily ever after, which is why I read them when I just want to feel good. After all, I saw the resolution to Cian and Moira's love story coming a mile away. But it was great romance reading nonetheless and one I'll return to again. I wish the other books had been as good as this one, I wish this trilogy had been as good as the Three Sisters Island Trilogy or the Key Trilogy, and I wish there was time enough to stay up reading all night and still get a good night's sleep. On a completely unrelated topic Cian says, "But the hours mattered, every minute of them." Damn right they do. Now, I'm off to get some sleep.

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