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Valley of Bones (Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy)

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Eric Wilson

For millennia, two groups of immortals have roamed the earth in a spiritual chess game for human souls. Now they enter the time of Final Vengeance. On one side are the Collectors--unholy, undead entities who feed on misery and blood. In opposition are … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Eric Wilson
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
1 review about Valley of Bones (Jerusalem's Undead Trilogy)

Weak Conclusion--3.5 Stars

  • Jun 23, 2010
Rating:
+4
**Review contains SPOILERS for Field of Blood and Haunt of Jackals**

Valley of Bones continues The Jerusalem's Undead series, picking up where Haunt of Jackals ended, with Gina aka Kate Preston in a terrible car accident with a logging truck. Using her immortal half, she was able to escape uninjured, with only a few knowing she's survived and the collectors believing she's dead. She soon meets up with her mother, Nikki and from a distance is able to finally see her son that she believed died seven years earlier. Unable to physically contact him, she is somewhat content to watch him from the distance and wait until she can finally be united with him.

Meanwhile, the Collectors are still plotting to eliminate the Nistarim. Now led by Natira, the Akeldama cluster begins to explore new options in their quest to destroy mankind. As the story progresses, four other books by Wilson are brought together, weaving history with mysticism, leading to an epic showdown between two group of undead with the future of mankind at stake.

I picked up Valley of Bones fully anticipating to love it. The series had been awesome up to this point, with Haunt of Jackals being near perfect. The book starts strong, bringing Nikki and Gina together again and offers some good healing between the two. I have liked Nikki's character. She represented a large portion of the world's population who rely on themselves for salvation. She took pieces of different religions and made one that worked for her, but she never could grasp the concept of surrendering to Jesus and letting him provide salvation.

Throughout the series, the reader's been given some great insights and wonderful bits of Biblical truth. This is truly a masterful series that while original and creative, is rooted in truth. Valley of Bones continues to offer some good, though often recycled concepts, but struggles at times with presentation. Very unlike any of Wilson's previous novels, there were scenes that intruded and broke up the flow of the story. I was surprised when a couple of times the story was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a Christian living scene. Wilson has always excelled at embedding the ideas he wants to convey without lecture. I'm not sure what happened with this book, but a couple of times I felt as though I received a sermon. I've also come to expect an influx of new ideas and different thoughts, but this one largely relied on themes from the previous books and those themes were often repeated multiple times. I was rather surprised and disappointed by this approach.

While it would be nice if all the characters the reader has come to love made it to the end, but alas we get a more realistic story. At least with each departure, we're given plenty of peace, which is how it should be. Wilson does a great job of letting each character play their role and exit in a way that is in keeping with their lives. There are quite a few characters involved and at times it can be a bit confusing keeping up with all of them, especially the Collectors. Fortunately there is a list of collectors on page 119 detailing their status and whereabouts.

As I said earlier, I anticipated this book to be spectacular and absolutely blow me away. Unfortunately, as Natira so appropriately stated, "The anticipation of an event often overshadowed the event itself." Perhaps that's the problem I had with this book. My expectations were very high, but they were not met. I expected this book to pick up in 2010, shortly after the reunion between Gina and Jacob. I assumed there would be some flashbacks that filled in the blanks, but I thought the story would pick up with their reunion. When that didn't happen, it eliminated a large portion of the story that built suspense. Much of the first two books contained an ongoing tension between the Collectors and Gina. However, since we know from the last journal entry in Haunt of Jackals she and Jacob reunite, there's little concern about either of them being prematurely discovered or threatened.

While the Collectors, mainly Natira are devising new ways to bring around the destruction of mankind, those who resist are safely tucked away and for the most part doing nothing. Natira became the most interesting part of the story while the rest of the characters seemed to wade through a series of events that did little to progress the story or offer an intriguing storyline. A large portion of the story seemed to be primarily human interest, discussion of Christian living, and relationship building. None of those are bad story elements, but that was not what I was expecting and seemed rather out of place in this series.

During this part of the book, the other four novels that connect to this series are brought in and those ends tied up as well as a repeating of information from the previous books in this series, but not much new. This is a major weakness in the book. I think people who have not read any of Wilson's previous books could pick this one up and not be confused. There is so little new story, that after the opening section, the book begins to crawl and doesn't pick up again until we finally get to the reunion between Gina and Jacob, more than 300 pages in. Once that reunion occurs, though, the story picks up pace and the book I was anticipating finally begins.

For the most part Wilson has managed to make the different elements of the series work. We have Jewish mysticism combined with legends, history, and fact. Things had been placed together in a precarious balance, that though fiction, still made sense. However, some of that starts to crumble towards the end and with some baffling results

I hate to say this, but Valley of Bones was disappointing. The ending helped redeem it, but for the most part it lacked so much of what made this series great. The first two books thrived on tension, suspense, creative story, and awesome Biblical teaching. For some reason, those elements either became subdued, overused or missing all together. Perhaps more importantly, it seemed to lack passion. The first two books were infused with a passion and enthusiasm that breathed life into the characters. I want to love this book, but it fell short of what I was anticipating. It does provide a satisfying ending to not only the Jerusalem's Undead series but the Senses and Aramis Black series as well. Though Valley of Bones was the weakest of the books in this series, I still strongly encourage readers to pick up the Jerusalem's Undead series. This is a highly original, creative series, with some excellent dialog, characters, and beautiful imagery.

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