Jimmy Valvano once famously said you should do three things every day: laugh, think, and have your emotions moved to tears. I can say without exaggeration that the latest book I’ve read made me do all three over the course of the finale to this YA science fantasy series. It gets a five-star review from me on Amazon (link here)
Battle for the Valley is the third book in the Old Sequoia Valley series. If you haven’t yet read the first two — Hunted in the Valley (Book 1) and Secrets of the Valley (Book 2) are its predecessors. You’ll want to scope those out before getting to Battle, but in brief, they are so worth it.
If you don’t want any information spoiled regarding book 3, don’t read on. 🙂
Ravyn, one of two main characters, has been altered with a special gift, as many have in the Old Sequoia Valley, as a result of the Blood Plagues in years past (likewise her co-star and unofficial husband, Thorne). Both have previously been kicked out of their respective clans in the Old Sequoia Valley. Ravyn’s gift, the ability to heal from virtually any wound, is coveted by General Wolfe who, through manipulation and foul play, wants to control the Valley by way of these altered people. Ravyn had previously been his first experiment, also known as Test Subject One, to create an army of super-soldiers to control at will in his efforts to claim power over the Valley. He tortured her in order to extend her power to his zombie-like soldiers, and Ravyn and Thorne suspect he has cut deals with the other clans to keep them under his control. Ravyn has escaped his grasp twice coming into Battle, and knows he must be stopped before his plan for conquest is realized.
At the start of Battle, Ravyn, Thorne, and the other former Warriors from the Peton tribe have narrowly escaped Wolfe’s compound deep in the Valley. They first have to fight for their lives in order to escape, then decide how to bring Wolfe down for good. Meanwhile, Wolfe’s grandson, Audrick, serves as a scientist in the compound, and will lead the audience through his actions to work against his grandfather from behind the scenes.
What I Liked
Coming into this story, I knew I’d be going for a ride to wrap up the series. However, I genuinely did not expect all the twists and turns that took place in Battle. There were chapters that left me requiring a breather for a few minutes before picking back up again. In short, this book provides exactly the kind of punch you’d expect from a finale; it leaves no loose ends, and it doesn’t wimp out on bringing each thread to its conclusion
What to Be Aware Of
Although it is a YA trilogy, there is a decent amount of violence present in the story. Weapons of all kinds — guns, blades, and even explosives — feature prominently in Battle.
Likewise, regarding the aforementioned twists and turns: many of the central cast reveal their true colors in many ways. Just when you think you know somebody…
I was introduced to this series a little more than a year ago, and have been anxiously awaiting its conclusion. Truly, this did not disappoint. It’s always a little sad to leave a series I’ve become invested in, but I look forward to new ideas C.R. Pugh will put out there for readers to enjoy. If you’re looking for a new series to invest in, make it this one.