The Valley of the Wolves, Laura Gallego Garcia

“Hello,” a boy’s voice said.

Dana turned. A smiling boy was sitting on the rock wall, watching her pick the sticky fruit. Though he was about her age, Dana had never seen him before; but her family tended to keep to themselves, so that was not unusual. He was skinny, with unruly blond hair that fell to his shoulders, and his green eyes shone in a friendly fashion. Even so, she did not reply to his greeting but merely returned to her berry picking.

“My name is Kai,” the boy said to her back.

Picked up randomly because I absolutely loved the cover. Look at this extremely cool cover. I just like it so much.

The Valley of the Wolves

Click to enlarge (I think).

The problem with The Valley of the Wolves was that the writing was awkward and uninspiring (very possibly the fault of the translation), and the plot was – frankly – not very interesting. It was about a little girl called Dana whose friend Kai is invisible to everyone else; and then she goes away to study magic; and then there’s intrigue and deception, but it’s all kind of blah. She has to rescue her friends from the clutches of the villain – blah, blah, blah – she has a crush on Kai but he’s invisible and (mostly) intangible – blah, blah blah. I couldn’t be bothered.

If I had to pinpoint a problem with the plot, I think I would say that the different bits of plot don’t really mesh. There’s some unicorn stuff, there’s some dragon stuff, there’s some elf stuff and reincarnationy stuff, and they just don’t work terribly well as a unit. Any one of those things could have been part of a really interesting book, and it just felt like Ms. Garcia couldn’t figure out which book she wanted to be writing so she just threw in a whole bunch of different plot ideas without making a tremendous effort to blend the edges. Like when you’re eating a cookie or a brownie, and suddenly you get a bite that is totally full of flour because when the person who made the brownies was mixing the ingredients, s/he put down the mixer for a second to go check messages and then when s/he got back s/he totally forgot that the ingredient-mixing wasn’t done and then when the brownies come out there are some bites with a lot of chocolate goo (that’s nice!) or a lot of flour (less nice). Um, this simile is less than perfect, but whatever, this is more with the flour than the chocolate.

It’s really too bad. I love the cover. It’s worthy of a cast of more vivid characters and a more coherent plot. Dana looks like she could be a completely fierce character, and I love, love, love the invisible cloak he’s wrapping around her.