Valentine Bell: The Golden Year - Rowan Maness

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!


Do NOT read the blurb of this book; it gives away the whole book!


Almost 13-year-old Valentine lives on a space cruise ship that brings people to and from the mysterious planet of Vala. It stays mysterious as there is very little told about this planet in the book, except for some little weird Avatar-like connecting with nature. As people start touching the scar Valentine is born with, things start getting weird.


It reads like it is written for a younger audience than YA. The MC is 13 but she acts childish. I had to struggle to finish this book, because both the story and the writing didn't work for me. The world building is so easy, there's this ship and literally anything you can think of is on it, especially if the plot requires it. The power Valentine's scar possesses makes it easy for the heroes to save the day.


The list of crimes in this book is long, starting with the fact that Valentine, she's only 13, is forced by her foster parent to work all night and past midnight serving alcohol in a casino?! That doesn't fit in with the rest of the society (I mean, it's not slave-based, she just has to work because 'they need the money') and the whole book not once mentions some sort of schooling even though her friend Luke, who's also 13 is a engineering genius who all the other engineers turn to if they have any problems. I guess he's a autodidact then. But the only thing we find out about him in this book is that he's a nerd.


There are weird things aboard the ship, like labs. Why does a cruise ship, even if it travels through space. Secret experiments on the passengers? We will never know. There's also this other ship aboard that has enough gunpowder on it to blow up a planet! How's that supposed to be possible? How small exactly is this planet? How big is this ship? Is it save to have so much gunpowder aboard a ship with tourist on it? Why would you take enough gunpowder to blow up a planet? (Are there Daleks in disguise?)


Not to mention the fact that there is a love triangle! Apparently even non-YA can't be complete without one any more, this one comes complete with a lot of not talking, misinterpretation and walking in on each other in situations 'that are not what they seem'. Did I tell you the main characters were only thirteen years old?


The Ending suggested there are going to be more books, but they are not going to be for me. I wouldn't recommend.