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Valor, by Taylor Longford
18-10-2011, 12:59 AM
Post: #1
Valor, by Taylor Longford
Sometimes I feel that the reader in me has become a casualty to the writer in me. It seems like so many years ago when reading a book meant just losing myself in its story and revelling with its characters. No longer can I do that. No longer, as I read, can I quieten the writer in me. The writer who feels envious of every instance of fine writing penned by others, and irritated at every poor writing blessed by fine success.

These days, I’m pursuing War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, and I’m simply mesmerized by the sparkle of its genius. But that also makes me feel worse and worse about my own writing. I lag so far behind!

Recently though, I read a book that, after a long while, just made me forget myself and I could see myself dreaming and fantasizing like a young girl. No, it’s not any great masterpiece by some celebrated author. Rather, it is a little fantastic tale woven up by someone who, I’m sure, is a dreamer like me. It did not fill me with envy because I have never yet tried writing a fantasy. And nowhere did I feel irritated because I found the book quite decently written.

Authored by Taylor Longford, the book is titled Valor. It belongs to the genre of fantasy. And it truly is pure fantasy, not just because it has magical creatures, but because it spreads out the sweet and secret fantasies of every young girl’s heart.

The young girl in this book is MacKenzie. She is sixteen, and hates her red hair and what she considers quite plain looks. Her working mother is a busy woman and stays out most of the time. Her step-father is a shady character who is involved in smuggling of artefacts. MacKenzie isn’t fond enough of this man to call him a father, so she calls him step-person instead. She is worried about his ‘work’ and fears it might land her mother in trouble too. However, it is just because of this ‘step-person’s’ doings that she meets the creature who is more fantastic than her most fantastic dream.

This creature is a gargoyle. His name is Valor, and he is more handsome than any other man MacKenzie has ever seen. He, along with his brothers, was trapped into their stone forms by evil and ugly harpies. Valor and his brother, all of whom are as super-handsome as he is, were freed when Mackenzie’s stepfather unearthed them from a wall and shipped them from Britain to his home in America. Valor is the first to arrive. And as soon as he regains his real form, then starts a fantastic tale of romance that is as delightful to read as Cinderella and Snow-white stories were in childhood.

Though the story is about characters 800 years old, it is written in fresh and contemporary style. The one area where the book could have, and should have, been bettered is its plot. It feels a bit slow for at least the first half of the book. While I read, I kept on expecting some crisis to arrive. But the expected crisis was delayed till the last few chapters. The major portion of the book is devoted to showing the development of relationship of Valor and MacKenzie. This should have been tightened with thrilling events dispersed in a better way through the book.

However, I don’t think I enjoyed this book so much for its story. The story is cute and sweet. And this was the first time I was reading about gargoyles and harpies. But still the story had a flavour of predictability. The reason I enjoyed this book so much was surely because of its delightful characters. The perfect, magical, super powerful, protective and loyal, and yet a tender and vulnerable hero. The whole pack of his brothers who all have their vivid personalities. And of course, MacKenzie, who is blessed with everything a girl would rather not have (bad hair, plain face, smuggler as step father, dangerous neighbour and an absent mother) but ends up having what all other girls can only dream about. She is fresh, frank and brave and has a good heart, of course. Yes, it’s definitely the characters that won me over, simply because it was pleasant to spend time with them, to think of them. They were a bunch of hugely romantic companions. And when I had gone through the book, I actually found myself missing them, especially the hero Valor.

But I was also happy to note that the ending of the book clearly hinted at the sequel. And as I later looked at the author’s website, this proved to be true. The author intends to tell the story of Valor’s brothers in the forthcoming sequels. I’m already looking forward to them.

In short, it’s a sweet and happy book, a very simple love story, simply told. Much like the stories mothers tell their kids to make them go to sleep smiling and have happy dreams. If you are looking for rib-tickling humour, or college fun and romance typical of YA fiction, then this book is probably not for you. But if you are in mood of something sweet, highly romantic and dreamy, do give it a try.

The book, as yet, is only available as an ebook. And here’s the link to it:

Author of general fiction novel Dream's Sake

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