**** - The Liar of Red Valley
THE LIAR OF RED VALLEY WALTER GOODWATER ****
Do not trust the Liar.
Do not go in the River.
Do not cross the King.
In Red Valley, California, you follow the rules if you want to stay alive. But even that isn’t enough to protect Sadie now that she’s unexpectedly become the Liar: the keeper and maker of Red Valley’s many secrets.
In a town like this, friendships are hard-won and bad blood lasts generations, and when not everyone in town is exactly human, it isn’t a safe place to make enemies.
And though the Liar has power—power to remake the world, with just a little blood—what Sadie really needs is answers: Why is the town’s sheriff after her? What does the King want from her? And what is the real purpose of the Liar of Red Valley?
THE REVIEW ****
It’s very rare to see a standalone fantasy book rather than a sprawling, epic, multi-part series. The amount of pages that you need to introduce world-building, backstory and societal conventions as well as make everything come to life can make sandwiching in a complete plot very difficult.
The Liar of Red Valley makes this a little easier by having a world very similar to our own with a few added fantasy elements. There’s a part of California called ‘Red Valley’ which is ruled by a creature called the King. Magic blooms in the town and Liars can make people believe anything – for a price, the dead can be raised and time can be ignored. When Sadie’s mum – The Liar of Red Valley dies, it is up to her to take on the legacy and fix some mistakes made along the way.
Sadie is a good main character, she’s feisty and determined and has flaws so we as a reader can empathise with her. I was initially a little frustrated about how much of her mum’s work she didn’t know, when the reader who has been introduced to the concept for only a few chapters seems to have more of an idea than she does. However, there is a brilliant twist which comes towards the end which I did not expect and also allowed some of the previous plot holes a way out!
I really liked some of the monsters in the book – the Laughing Boys for example were particularly creepy. I also liked the idea of the faces that lived behind fire and could manipulate it to burn in unnatural ways. The stakes always felt very high, although sometimes the chain of decision making didn’t make much sense. I enjoyed how it was a self-contained story though even if the ending felt a little too neat – I would have liked a bit of a cliff-hanger or small twist right at the end.
Overall, The Liar of Red Valley is a fun, self-contained fantasy which allows for some much-needed escapism. Thank you to NetGalley & Rebellion – Solaris for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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