Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Valley of Dry Bones by Jerry B. Jenkins

This novel was rough going for me. It did not grab me at the beginning, I kept waiting for something exciting to happen in the middle, and I wondered what the point of the novel was at the end.

The novel takes place in the near future in a California that has been ravaged with nearly two decades of drought and ruinous earthquakes. The federal government has abandoned the state and most people have left. Pastor Bob, Zeke, and a handful of other Christians have stayed to ministered to the remaining poor and Native Americans.

I liked the future setting, the drought and earthquakes a real possibility. I thought the community was unrealistic. They lived underground in a rather sophisticated dwelling, producing their own water, food, and (I guess) fuel. Granted, they had some engineers among their group, but how did they build this thing to start out with? Earth moving equipment? Construction materials? Pipes, electrical wiring, hydroponics equipment, showers, and lights? With the few in the community, this kind of project would have taken years. That whole aspect of this novel was just too unrealistic for me to accept.

There is very little “action” in the novel. The plot mostly consists of people talking and thinking. Pastor Bob is resigning his position and a new pastor must be chosen. Zeke wonders if it should be him since he is beginning to hear from God. There is another fellow, Doc, who thinks he should have it. There is some character growth and spiritual maturation as the novel progresses and decisions are made.

As I ended the novel, I was unsure of the point of it. I did not learn any survival skills. I did not find any insights into hearing from God and being obedient to His revelation. I did not gather new understanding of how to live together in a small and enclosed community. I did learn a bit about Native American ceremonies but that seemed rather irrelevant in the end.

There are the examples in the book of being obedient to God and the calling He has given. There is also the example of friendship and commitment to one another. The novel is character driven by design. You might like the book if you like reading a character driven dystopian novel with little action and relatively little suspense.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Jerry B. Jenkins is a bestselling and award winning author who has written 189 books. This is his 131st novel. You can find out more at http://www.jerryjenkins.com/.

Worthy Publishers, 336 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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