The Valley Of Dry Bones (An Audiobook Review)

1.5/5 stars.

I requested The Valley Of Dry Bones audiobook from christianaudio for Derek and I to listen to on vacation.

Before I jump into this, I have to say that I have read books by Jerry Jenkins in the past, and I have enjoyed them.  He is most known for co-writing the Left Behind series, and I read another series from him that I enjoyed.  He typically knows how to keep a story moving, and I like that.  But unfortunately, this book is not representative of his books as a whole, in my opinion.  I just have to say that first.

The plot of this book follows a small group of people that stays in California after a severe, permanent drought renders it uninhabitable.  The back cover copy hints at a mystery involving possible terrorism.  Amidst all this, the leader of the group, Zeke, starts to hear the voice of God in a prophetic way.  Somehow from reading the book description and the title, I thought this would be some sort of fictional parallel of the prophet Ezekiel, in the Bible, but that's not what it was at all.  

I'm not sure how to even describe the plot because so little happened in this book.  It was mostly internal conflict and an elder election among members of the group.  It was extremely slow.  There were a lot of words to tell very little action.

The writing in this book was mostly "tell", and very little "show", and for the first time I realized why that fiction writing rule is so important.  There was no mystery at all, because we were told almost everything that was going to happen before it happened.  The story could have had a lot more suspense if it had been written differently, and that was a shame.

I was also left confused about a few things.   For example:

1) Why are they in California when it's so uninhabitable? It was supposedly to act as missionaries to the people who were left, but very little missionary action seemed to happen before the very end.  Throughout this book the characters were very concerned with hiding and keeping outsiders out of their compound. Why were they so inhospitable toward certain outsiders if they were supposed to be ministering to them?  What's the point of being there if you are just going to hole up with your own little group?

2) How did this drought happen (besides it being an act of God)?  The main character was supposed to be a scientist who saw this drought coming, and came up with scientific ways to grow food and live in this extreme desert.  I wanted to read more about that.  Instead, any descriptions of the drought were vague, the characters spent very little time outside, and there were negligible descriptions of the environment and the mechanics of existing there.  It left me feeling like this whole concept was really improbable.

The plot line that involved Zeke hearing from God really had no biblical basis, in my opinion, aside from the references to prophesying in Joel 2:28.  Like I said, I thought there would be more parallels to Ezekiel or something of that nature, but instead there were (once again) vague references to this being some sort of signal of the end times approaching.  What this "prophesying" added to the plot was minimal, and it didn't wrap up well enough for me. I did appreciate that all the words that were supposed to be from God were actual Scripture verses.

That narrator was good, and I liked the different voices he did for the characters.  But his narration was a bit on the slow side, in my opinion.  I actually listened to most of this book on 2x the speed, and I could still understand every word.  However, I think he did a good job with a difficult story.  I think my feelings on the book being slow were more because of the writing than because of the narrating.

Note: I received a free copy of this audiobook as part of the christianaudio review program.  This is my honest opinion.

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Amanda @ Anchored to Sunshine said...

Oh no! 1.5? EEK! I hate when I read duds :(

Callie Nicole said...

I know, it's depressing to waste all that reading time on something I'm not enjoying!

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