Saturday, June 4, 2016
The Valley of Dry Bones- Jerry B. Jenkins
Description: In The Valley of the Dry Bones, Jerry B. Jenkins overlays the ancient End Times prophecies of Ezekiel onto the landscape of modern California. After a 17-year drought, multiple earthquakes, and uncontrollable wildfires, the state is desolate. The United States President declares the state uninhabitable and irreparable, directing California's 39 million citizens to relocate. From the air, California looks like a vast abandoned sand box, but to a few groups of people, it's their home. With less than 1% of the population remaining in California at their own risk, the holdouts encounter a clash of cultures, ethnicities, religions, and politics that pits friend against friend with the future of California at stake.
My Thoughts: I've never read the Left Behind Series, so I wont be able to compare the two. I have to say that this book reads more like a semi-dystopia than an end of times, even though the characters repeatedly reference the end of days. Because California is currently suffering a drought, I found the concept of this story to be an interesting 'what-if' and enjoyed the almost Mad Max scenery.
Being that the characters are missionaries, suffering through some stuff that would definitely take some spiritual strength, the dialogue did not come off as overly preachy, though there were some scenes that leaned that direction. A few of those were when Zeke discussed his calling with his daughter and her character was used to simplify the concept, another was when Zeke and Doc were rebuked by their pastor and he reminded them of their roles, which came off more forced than natural.
There were other situations that struck me as hilarious, such as when Zeke decided to spout Biblical prophecies at government agents without the prompting of God. I could well imagine the scene, where Zeke thinks he is doing the work of God, only for God to remind him not to get cocky.
The world building is both extensive and somewhat lacking. There is a lot of effort put into how the holdouts are able to survive and stay sane yet not as much to explain other questions, like why the holdouts' children have not been taken if they are keeping them in a place deemed uninhabitable. As well, the beginning sets up a highly intense ending where Zeke presents the gospel to world leaders but with the ending not quite living up to expectations.
I did enjoy much of this book and am glad that I was able to read it. I expect that many of Jenkins' books are far better and do suggest this to anyone interested in the question of just how far you are willing to answer God's call.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.