24th Room – The Vale Legend by Christy Ellynby. Book review

24th Room – The Vale Legend by Christy Ellynby, Matador, P/B, 77pp, £7.99

Reviewed by Steve Dean

I’m sure Ms Ellynby is a lovely person, who lives a worthwhile life in a nice town. But she’s submitted her work for review, and it falls to me to give my honest opinion. Given the above, and the fact this book is vanity published, I think you can work out what comes next.

And you would be right. The first thing you see is a drawing of the Vale Manor, where the ‘action’ takes place, and something of a level-setter for the rest of the book. If you gave a nine year-old a pencil, a ruler and thirty seconds, this is the kind of drawing you could expect.

The story itself tells of Jaxon and Shay Vale, who move to the Vale Manor after the death of their grandfather. The two teenagers are, obviously, twins. The house has twenty three normal rooms, and a secret, twenty fourth, which can only be accessed if the house trusts you. The children gain access at the drop of a hat, and find in there the ghost of an ancestor and another world, peopled by the blandest set of characters I’ve ever encountered. This is also where the bad guys turn up, and, of course, are unoriginal, flat and about as frightening as a cotton wool kitten.

The story continues in the same monotonous pace, the action barely existent, the plotting trite and pedestrian. The characters are flat, two dimensional and completely predictable. It might as well have been written by the same nine year-old who did the drawing.

On top of all that, the book has been printed on the smallest of budgets, the text is centre justified, I presume to save paper. Because of this, the speech isn’t indented, and there are no paragraphs. This often results in having speech from two different characters on the same line. The story is bad enough, it certainly didn’t need spoiling further by this appalling money-saving layout.

I can understand why people might be tempted to go down the vanity publishing route, but if you can’t get your work published, there’s usually a reason for it.

Overall then, one of the worst publishing disasters I’ve ever read. A terrible story crashing into a vanity cul-de-sac.