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In The Valley of Shadows: The Spectrum Trilogy Book 3 Paperback – September 23, 2013
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This highly anticipated third book, In the Valley of Shadows is even better than I expected.
A descriptive storyteller Connor breathes life into her characters & imagined lands, creating some of the most beautiful and most horrifying characters you will meet in literature. An impressive story with a delightfully frightening ending I highly recommend this imaginative crossover trilogy to readers who enjoy fantasy, horror, & science fiction. I wish I could quote directly from the ARC but readers will just have to wait to read it for themselves.
Reviewed by Libby Bridges, Author Exposure.com
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The alchemist isn’t the only one who is invested in protecting the twin brothers Adam and Assyrian. Inanna, their grandmother, has plans to not only keep them safe, but to secure the ancient royal lineage possessed through their mother, Logan. Just as papa Adam was Artemisia’s, he was also Inanna’s. Inanna finds herself crossing into magical worlds that, at times, test her powers. With her family, she travels to the Realm of Nine where a fierce battle between two old clans will determine the fate of all those dear to her.
No one is safe. Everyone is a target. In the Valley of Shadows will have you guessing the conclusion all the way up to the very last page.
Crystal Connor once again has taken on an ambitious cross-genre tale. And, for the most part, she hits the nail on the head. There’s a little something for everyone: science fiction, fantasy, suspense/thriller, horror, and romance. She does a great job of keeping up with all her characters and story lines, which can be very difficult with this many people involved. The extent to which she’s gone to for researching the mythical and legendary characters/creatures is impressive. As always, Ms. Connor’s commitment to diversity is welcome and refreshing.
However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a few flaws (which it pains me to do since I’m a fan). There are some editing issues that, if corrected, would give the manuscript a more polished look. And admittedly, there were a few times when I got lost. There had been some time between when I read Artificial Light and In the Valley of Shadows. In the beginning, I found myself a little confused because there was almost no reintroduction of characters and their back stories. So, I think it would be challenging for a reader if this was their first book out of the trilogy. This is meant in no way to take away from the story, but as maybe something the writer would consider for her next projects.
I highly recommend this book. Make sure you start with The Darkness first. The finale will make you either happy or sad, depending on which female protagonist you were rooting for. I, for one, was pleased as punch.
The Darkness: The Spectrum Trilogy Book 1
A Spellbinding read that is filled with the Power, Darkness, Greed and Destructive forces that surround two strong and powerful women. Artemisia is an alchemist and a scientist. Inanna is a powerful sorceress of dark magic and the mixture of the two is well balanced and deeply intriguing. You become so absorbed in their power struggle as each character is not only powerful but, also highly intelligent which makes for a deeply engaging read that keeps the pages turning in anticipation for what lies just around the corner. Both Women are deeply fascinating and although they are quite diverse, they embody many similarities as well. You end up battling with yourself about who to root for but, in the end you secretly would like to see them both win. Although both women are considered self-absorbed and ‘evil’; you find that small spark of connection they have with humanity buried deep within themselves resulting from their desire to be mothers and their sincere devotion to One special Child, Adam.
Adam is a very unique character. You get the understanding that he was a genetically engineered being that was created in a lab atmosphere and treated as an ‘experiment’. His exact origins are mysterious yet, you still see him as a creation of humanity. You immediately have a gut-wrenching connection with this small being that has spent his life in a cage and treated so cruelly. Initially, you understand this child’s fear and lack of bonding is going to certainly play a big role in his character development. It was quite captivating as you watch his character develop throughout the book and see the diverse relationships he forms with each one of these women; whom he calls ‘mom’. It was a tear jerker moment to see him rescued from his ‘cage’ finally and I found it equally riveting witnessing his ‘powers’ emerge.
Artemisia’s involvement with the Skyward Group brings to light the sinister motivations behind this powerful elite group. It will really make you question today’s scientists and all the controversial, hidden agendas they are secretly working on behind the secret curtain in ‘OZ’. I found their ‘agendas’ to not only be profound and thought provoking but, also in reality, not so far off the mark, so to speak. It certainly brings to light a question of experimental science vs. ethical, moral action toward the advancement of humanity and the universal law of causality.
The ending was extraordinary; a surprise ending that comes out of nowhere and leaves the reader awestruck at how a complex storyline can be so flawlessly brought together in the end. It could not have been anymore perfectly delivered. It leaves the reader satisfied and anxiously awaiting the next book in the series ‘Artificial Light’ …
Sinister, Riveting and a Damn Good Read!
Artificial Light: The Spectrum Trilogy Book 2
‘Artificial Light’ is a remarkably exhilarating continuance of ‘The Spectrum Trilogy’ which picks up a few months after ‘The Darkness’ concluded bringing along with it many of the characters from ‘The Darkness’ and adding in quite a few new characters that are exciting and brilliantly intertwined with the characters we have come to ‘love to hate’. This journey expands the dark universe with many wonderfully crafted twisting storylines that will completely captivate any reader for hours on end.
I found it to be a very engrossing and exciting read. Ms. Conner does a fabulous job creating much more depth in the world of her creation and she certainly has no trouble immersing her readers into it. You find yourself delving into the depths of this sequel with the vivid imagery, the thickening plots and the dark mysteries that entice your every emotion. It is a truly gripping saga with many complex characters, new revelations and new battles between the powerful forces surrounding these unforgettable people.
Our Adam, now a father of twin boys is finding they come complete with their own special abilities and the instructions are missing! Our favorite Alchemist, Artemisia finds her latest obsession in the form of a convicted Doctor that has conducted many dark experiments that teeter on the brink of the immoral. A doctor that has found the secret to ‘rebirth’ by the disturbing act of cloning consciousness. Artemisia and her skyward group set their sights on getting their hands on this phenomenal information no matter what the cost. At the same time we see our favorite sorcerous, Inanna is back with a vengeance and teaming up with the most powerful witch of all, the immortal and deadly Abigail. Together they are a force to be reckoned with as they set out to engage in an ancient yet, ongoing battle to avenge the deaths of their ancestors. This storyline was both intense and gripping as we witness an ancient vendetta come back to life.
I found the Serial killer storyline to be an intricate and equally compelling voyage that will portal you right into the heart of a sinister dimension. Here we meet an excellent new character and homicide detective Kenya O'Callaghan. We courageously follow the footsteps of this driven homicide detective as she is feverishly tracking down a brutal and demented serial killer that is turning her city into a bloody playground! She is very likable and adds a real authentic feel to her character as you connect with her through the suspense and thrill of the hunt. This storyline provides exceptional attention to detail, vivid imagery and mysterious clues. Utilizing facts, evidence, and intelligence combined with a little bit of supernatural insights really brings a heightened feeling of suspense to the saga as well. .
Terrifying, action-packed, edge-of-your-seat suspense, deliciously disturbing and a ‘Wicked’ Good Read!
(Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!)
In The Valley of Shadows: The Spectrum Trilogy Book 3
As my journey with ‘The Spectrum Trilogy’ comes to an end I must commend Crystal Conner for being one of the most intriguing and talented authors I have ever read. She has a way of bringing the ‘unimaginable’ to life and I must add that once you take the plunge and delve into the ‘rabbit Hole’ she created you will find yourself irrecoverably lost within an all-consuming journey that entices you to keep exploring up until the very end.
Now, let’s get down to business…..
‘In The Valley Of The Shadows’ we find the continuation of the thrilling Spectrum saga coming to its final Mind Bending finale. And as always, Crystal Conner doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I think the final book was the best book yet and I am now a dedicated fan. I found it to be deeply fascinating ‘living’ in this complex and diverse, dark yet, strangely exhilarating dimension she so masterfully crafted.
“Nature will always find a way to correct the errors of man, Always.” …One of my favorite quotes in the book and it essentially speaks the truth; as in my first review, I mentioned the Universal Law of Causality and the consequences of man playing ‘God’ will eventually lead to Natural repercussions. This theory is well characterized and played out throughout the third and final book of this series exquisitely. Sinister government infiltrations, cloning children in ‘batches’ for collecting intelligence and using them to infiltrate organizations spread out across the world, the creation of super soldiers, assassins, and mind readers, Just how severely will the repercussions affect the powerful and elite? Will it all come toppling down? Has man went too far this time?
You will find yourself appalled at the treatment of these children and it is still heartbreaking to witness the death of a child, even if they are just a ‘number’, a prototype. The Flashbacks into ‘times past’ reveal how Adam came to be and the revelation gives a chilling look into the highly intelligent thought processes he already possessed as a small baby. Now, ‘They’ were coming. Now, ‘They’ are after his children…the offspring’s of their creation, Adam.
In this riveting Final showdown The Author does a spectacular job weaving us in and out of the storylines crossing both time and space. We visit the medieval times of Inanna and Abigail’s ancient lineage where we explore the ancient world filled with sorcery, dragons, and castles and learn the deep secrets of their bloodline. We have front row seats to terrifying battles in hellish realms filled with demons, hounds of hell and non-stop sword slinging action. We follow the journey of present day mercenaries and the corrupted elite and their quest for Adam’s children while we witness the relentless pursuit of power by Artemisia and the Skyward Group that will stop at nothing to win their war.
Crystal Conner does an amazing job weaving us in and out of alternate realities while keeping her storylines both, engrossing and moving forward at a fast pace. Keeping the storylines clear while still entwining certain aspects of each one is a very hard job for any author to accomplish while keeping their readers captivated attention but, she did it and that is exactly what makes her work so polished and masterfully crafted!
As sad as I am to see this saga come to an end I will be faithfully watching out for new books by this Author. I highly recommend this series to all my friends and anyone who loves an epic mind bending, supernatural, dark, Sinister, twisted and unforgettable adventure that knows no limits! Brilliant Work!
The series begins with The Darkness: a story about two women who find their lives drastically altered by crossing paths with a child who has been genetically engineered and produced for a science experiment. One woman, Artemisia, leads the Skyward Group that kidnaps the test subject; Inanna, a powerful witch, essentially rescues Adam, and instantly realizes the natural talent that child has. The ending was completely unexpected.
In Artificial Light, the story follows the lives of some of the characters from The Darkness, revealing a new set of problems, weaves a rich tapestry of drama, mystery & the supernatural with all new horror and suspense.
In The Valley Of Shadows was the most unexpected delight within the series; not only does Connor continue with the drama surrounding Adam and his children, but she uses flashbacks that blend fantasy, action and mystery to explain the origin of the ancient war lying beneath the current battle. It is rare to find an author who can work so seamlessly with so many sub-genres of fiction within one story, and produce such an excellent horror finale.
I also recommend ...And They All Lived Happily Ever After!: A Smorgashboard of Atrocities to fully appreciate the talent of Crystal Connor.