“Sometimes we seek that which we are not yet ready to find” – Libba Bray
Even though we may not like to acknowledge it, we all walk around hiding behind a mask. That layer of curtain between us and others is often used to mask our own insecurities. The ironical thing about these insecurities is that, it’s not our failings and our shortcomings that we are afraid to reveal to the world but rather it’s our strengths and things that make us who we are that we are afraid to show. Being honest, being ‘you’ troubles a lot of people because we think for others, of how they will perceive us even before they had a chance to get to know us. So it’s no wonder that old adage, the truth will set you free still holds true. Revealing your true identity will liberate you and set you free, even if it causes a few heart aches in the process, it’s still the right way to move ahead.
Author Kerr-Ann Dempster’s novel ‘Beneath Scarlett Valley’, the first book in the Scarlett Valley Series narrates the story of two beautiful sisters, Harper and Cassidy. Apart from being pretty which they don’t try to hide from the world, they have a far bigger secret which they have managed to keep to themselves for centuries. They are in fact a special species, half human and half creature called Furor. They never age, can heal themselves and have an insatiable bloodlust to kill, not to dominate or feed but simply because it’s in their nature. But to replenish their immortality, they need to drink from the Source of Immortality; otherwise the fire coursing through their veins will consume them from within. This search leads Cassidy to Scarlett Valley high school which is believed to be the place where the Source is hidden but she has to first deal with the many distractions in the form of handsome hunks, unrequited friendships, obnoxious teachers and a whole different breed of creatures called Seer whose mission it seems is to keep the location of the Source hidden from the Furor.
Even though Kerr-Ann Dempster’s novel is a mix of mythology, YA romance and a lot of thrills, she has been able to provide due justice to all segments equally. She has captured the high school scene very well, especially that of a new student, not to mention a clear misfit trying to fit in within the microcosm of the outside social life that exists within the walls of any high school. Another thing she has got spot on is the relationship between the sisters Harper and Cassidy, the conversation pieces between them, the little nuances in their interpersonal dealings are all nicely dealt with and it just proves one thing, it doesn’t matter if you are an angel or a monster but sisters everywhere act and talk alike. Now Harper sometime does comes across as the manipulative kind but Cassidy’s co-dependency ensures that Harper isn’t to blame entirely for the faults in their relationship.
The writing is precise and goes from point A to B without much fuzz, the chapters are small and easy to read and as far as the structuring is concerned it is very well edited and this has ensured that the pacing of the book is in tune with the requirements of the genre. Highlights worth mentioning are Cassidy’s and Mr. Bruckner’s ‘confrontation’, which comes like a bolt out of the blue and will shock you and provides the necessary energy and impetus to the story which then kicks into overdrive from there on. The writing in the climax scene is just brilliant, it has got everything going for it and all the right emotions have been packed into these few pages, the heartbreak and the betrayal too has been captured nicely. Sebastian and Cassidy’s relationship graph has been treated very well and has got all the essentials that one would expect to see in such romances and should find ready acceptance with the readers.
The clean language and imagery should widen the appeal of this book to all sorts of readers both young and old. And in the end, even though revelations like Liam’s real identity and the transformation of the Wick brothers doesn’t end the book on a cliff-hanger note, it still leaves you in anticipation for the sequel which is bound to come out in a few months time.
Print Length: 301 pages
Publisher: Ink City Books (August 3, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.