Apr 17, 2011

About Books Blog 38: Promised Valley Rebellion



Author: Ron Fritsch
Genre: Historical Fiction

Favorite Line

“The season for treason approaches.”


Prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods gave it to them.
When the farmers’ king refuses to allow the marriage of the coming-of-age prince to the daughter of the farmer who saved the king’s life in the last war with the hunters, her brother decides he has to help his sister and the prince, his boyhood friend, correct the flagrant injustice.

That decision leads them and their youthful allies into a rebellion against the king and his officials, who rule the kingdom from their bluff-top town. The far more numerous farmers in the villages below, who despise the officials but not the king, and who admire the prince, are in a position to determine whether the rebels will succeed or face execution for treason.

What I Thought Of This Book

Promised Valley Rebellion was not my cup of tea. For every element I liked I equally had qualms with something. I found the historical setting interesting. It is rare for someone to write a story within a prehistoric setting. It was the reason why I picked up the book in the first place. As I got further in the novel I discovered I liked this idea more than the book itself. It was put together in a way that I found extremely ambiguous. I just felt like it was all over the place, in terms of characters, plot, and concept.

I would have liked each event in the novel to propel the tale. Cultural insights, sub-plots, and character back-story are fine. However, if they don’t move the story forward the reader feels like they are backtracking all the time. In the middle of the book where most books start to get exciting, this novel was still mentioning things that I thought would have been better placed at the start of the book. The habit of placing events in strange places continued up until the very end of the novel. This made it difficult for me to focus on the build of the story arc.

In addition, I didn’t understand the general concept the novel. There was nothing wrong with the concept. This book is the first in a series meant to explore the idea that civilization and history, with their countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, could have begun differently. My issue with this is that I didn’t grasp this concept while reading the book. I seriously didn’t get it until after I had completed it and read interviews of the author. I think the reason why I missed the concept was that I felt that the story focused many other viewpoints that had nothing to do with the idea the author was trying to get across. Every writer brings his or her personal viewpoints to a novel. However, the author should tell a collective organized story first, so that the reader understands the idea. At times, I felt the author focused on personal ideas that didn’t entirely coincide with his universal concept. Thus, the idea became muddled for me.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style, yet in some places the author was good at creating interesting moments between characters. There was occasionally some amusing dialogue in the book as well. However, these moments were few and far between. By the time, I reached the sections I was so frustrated with the things I sited above that I couldn’t enjoy the good moments. To add to my frustration the pages of the book kept falling out. I suppose the book and I were just not a match made in book heaven. In truth, I probably would have set the book down after the first few chapters, if I weren’t so adamant about finishing a book before reviewing it. Reading this was more like work than pleasure reading for me. In the end, I was glad I challenged myself to complete it, because I learned more about what I like and dislike in writing. Remember these are just my personal opinions. Someone else might try Promised Valley Rebellion, and find it an excellent literary match for them. Unfortunately, that person was not me.

Facts I Found Interesting

As you can guess the prehistoric characters in Promised Valley Rebellion don’t have your average names. www.promisedvalley.com supplies an alphabetical list of characters to help the reader remember the names, and to keep track to the characters’ connections to each other.

The Movie

Usually, I give my opinion of whether I think a movie would work if there is not a movie yet. Though I believe you can guess my thoughts on that by the book review, so I won’t reiterate.

Music To Read By

I didn’t listen to any albums for the book. I actually found myself watching and listening to many TV shows involving music. I was particularly fond of watching the Ovation channel’s late night showings of Fame and Later With Jools Holland. This book was one of the few that stumped me in the playlist department.

That is it darlings. Hope you enjoyed reading this, even though the book wasn't my taste. I'm finally back to reviewing. I know I've been promising that Jane Eyre review for weeks now. The fact is that is that I thought it would be a short review, and it has turned into something that is far from short. I will get to posting it eventually. I hope this week. Gosh three weeks work on one review would be just silly. See you later all. Keep it shiny!

1 comment:

Ron Fritsch said...

Thank you for reading my book, Jazz, and for your honest review of it.