Valley of Dust - Karoleen Vry Brucks
I won this in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.


Summary: I enjoyed it and do plan on continuing the series. I found the plot and storyworld an intriguing breath of fresh air. It's in a compressed package that I wish was more in depth, brought more background and showed more meat instead of the lean, sometimes jumpy, telling, convenient book we have now. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book and I do recommend it. I just think it has far more potential and hope it lives up to it in the following books. '


Pros:
- interesting story that I'm curious how will continue to unfold and how the author will handle things

- likeable main characters and the villains are villains

- not the standard vampire tale popping up lately

- love triangle but it's quickly resolved and left with tension between the odd man out (which is a big plus for me since I HATE drawn out webble wobble love triangles) and is important in a different way for the plot

- the cover art is absolutely stunning

- short

Cons:
-lots of telling instead of showing

- wish there were more details on interactions,

- not much background on characters and some actions just make no sense

- often too convenient plot movement that I really didn't buy into

- I thought it was too short


Why I want to give 5 stars :

I liked the story and did enjoy reading this book. I find it interesting and using this Romani folklore is new to me. I find it rather refreshing. It reminds me a bit of Angel/Buffy/Spike and that's a huge complement since I loved those series. I find Selene more compelling and likeable than I ever found Buffy yet I'm not as drawn to Lucian or Anton as I was to Angel or Spike. I'm so glad the love triangle is a part of the plot but not in the wish-washy "I can't choose!" way, which drives me up the wall. I will be looking for the next book in series. I think it really does have great potential and am actually looking forward to reading more. I in general like the characters and thought they worked but there were moments I didn't get their actions, motivations and thoughts. It's really short so it gives some leeway for its flaws since you're not committed to a 500 page novel or anything.

Reasons I feel I can't give 5 stars:

I wish it was longer and more substantial. It didn't feel like a full book or story, more like a starting point. I wish that the story was expanded on in general and specifically not move 5 years in a paragrah. It was two pages into a chapter and the way it was done felt...off. There were also things that was just too convenient, like Selene's parent's sudden change. With what we know about them to act that way they'd probably need to be mind controlled. Unless there's more to the story, but without extra information that turn of events didn't sit right with me. Then there's how everyone just seemingly forgot an important way to find someone. I just didn't buy that excuse at all since they have a whole team dedicated to such a thing.

While the writing isn't bad, it could use improving. I found it was more telling, than showing. (This could be a style of writing of course but if so, not one I'm fond of) Because of it favored telling, there were facts that were repeated, like Selena being odd, over and over with little real insight to how exactly she was odd. There were brief moments that expanded on this and really showed how she was thought odd and what her parents did to her. I remember those moments well and found they hit home like the incident in her father's yard. I wish there were more of those moments in the book and think I would have liked, understood and connected with the characters more-so.

While I can definitely see that some things were kept hidden for the plot, I just wish everything else wasn't just told to us. Of course, all the details could be held back for the plot in future books to unfold but I don't really see that happening.

There's just so little background that the book feels like it's rather lacking in being anchored and is missing a lot of meat. I think background and really showing how a character was/is really keeps books feeling solid so a reader can be absorbed into the book. That's what happens when I read I can visualize it and really get sucked it like I'm there beside them. While I could easily make mental pictures of how things and people looked, I had a hard time visualizing their conversations and movements. I had the basis for a mental movie but couldn't make it lively. The flaws were always in the front of my mind while reading and I couldn't really let it go to get into the book.

Which it all boils down to the reason why I decided on an average 3 star rating.