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Jennifer's Blog

I am a writer of science fiction and fantasy and also an avid reader of (mostly) the same. Expect to see reviews from me of speculative fiction books from well known and less well known authors. (Many of my reviews WILL be cross posted from Goodreads).

Valley of the Raven

Valley of the Raven - Ken Ramirez Marked as Young Adult Historical Fantasy. It's closer to middle grade than young adult and is set in the present day - so not sure exactly what the publisher was thinking there.

This is a well written adventure story reminiscent of Swallows And Amazons. Unfortunately, it's marred by the author's apparently uncontrollable need to constantly stop the story and preach to his audience on the twin themes of "There Are Good And Bad People Of All Colors!!!!!!" and "Protect The Environment!!!!!" The book uses the trope of "kids are smart, adults are stupid" - and over-uses it. Yes, kids like that, but this book takes it a little bit too far into the realm of super-competent children and particularly dumb adults.

The "Good And Bad People Of All Colors" theme leads the author into what I suspect is an unintentional appearance of the White Savior trope. Oh, and watch for the ridiculous DEM towards the end.

Ramirez writes well, he really does. But he needs to learn that even young people don't enjoy being preached at in every chapter. The blurb on the back says he "subtly shares life lessons about responsibility" - but there's absolutely nothing subtle about it.

It's a shame. If he'd toned it down, this would be a really good book that I'd recommend to younger teenagers and their parents. As it is, I don't feel I can, because I am pretty sure a 13 year old would be just as annoyed by the preachiness as me. I know I would have at that age.

(Received copy free at World Fantasy Con)
Sorry, Mr. Ramirez. I can't recommend this one.