After a severe drought, earthquakes, and wildfires decimate the California landscape, the U.S. Government declares the state uninhabitable and no longer under the protection of the United States. Yet, some people have chosen to stay. Among those hardy few are Ezekiel Thorppe, his family, and their small church group. They feel that God has called them to stay and minister to the others who still consider the wasteland of California their home. For years, the group has managed to interact with the few people around them in relative safety, while maintaining their secret, underground residence. But God doesn’t promise His people ease and comfort, and the Holdouts will have to find God’s path through political, physical, and spiritual upheavals to stand for Him.
Sounds like a great book, doesn’t it? Exciting, dramatic, kind of relevant for these crazy times we’re in…
Unfortunately, I was disappointed by The Valley of the Dry Bones (which, I have to say, completely shocked me, since I’ve been a Jerry B. Jenkins fan for years.) The description of the book made it nearly irresistible, and I’m sure I would’ve purchased a copy had I seen it on a bookstore shelf. Then I read an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of the book, and now I’m sorry to say I won’t be buying a copy or enthusiastically recommending it to my friends.
The characters are not only relatively typical (not much unique about any of them, let alone the lineup as a whole – I kind of expected new characters to turn up and behave as they did), but they were rather caricatured. Some of their personality quirks were inflated to almost extreme proportions – there was no question, no surprise as to who the “good” guys were, who the “bad” guys were, and who among them would have changes of heart.
And some of the scenes were so over-the-top with melodrama, I actually rolled my eyes while reading them. About a fifth of the way into the book, I found myself seriously hoping it would get better and, when it didn’t, just wanting to finish. Then when I did get to the end, it reminded me of one of those “based on a true story” movies, where it just ends and then they give you a sentence or two about what the characters are doing now – almost as if Jenkins got tired of the story, too, and just wanted to wrap it up quickly.
I really felt like Jenkins was off his game with this one – it just didn’t sit right with me, and that makes me sad. Therefore, I really can’t recommend you run out and buy this book when it is released on May 31st. If you’re curious, wait to check it out from your local library.
Thanks anyway to Worthy Publishing and NetGalley for the free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review (obviously). All opinions are my very own! 🙂