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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
An Achare hunter, an outsider, takes the lead to save his people and his family in Where the Valley Meets the Sky (The Kalanosi Chronicles) by Ben Merrick. The peaceful life of the Achare is threatened by advancing warring clans. A quiet man called Rennik must make the treacherous journey to uncover the magnitude of the threat against his clan. When he returns, the community is split by opposing views. The aggressive Ciqala wants nothing but war. He wants his people to stand their ground, but what chances do they have of surviving? Rennik believes they should embrace their nature as nomads. What is the use of staying where they will be annihilated? In this mesmerizing tale, he transforms from a silent outsider into a skilled leader. Can he protect the ones he loves in the crucial moment of danger?
Where the Valley Meets the Sky is a wonderful tale, and the author captures the heart of the Achare clan with expertise, exploring cultural elements in the narrative. Readers have a great understanding of the threads that bind this clan together. The imagery is strong, whether it is about Rennik observing and guiding his younger brother as they hunt the oryx or the elders pretending to watch the children when in truth they are only there to remember what it was like to be a child. The place of hunting and storytelling is prominent and the wisdom in the art of storytelling is indisputable. For the clan, it is about the hero sacrificing himself for what is right, protecting the child's innocence, and unveiling the mystery of the hero's journey. The characters are well-written, the setting is vividly drawn, and the plot is cleverly imagined. The story is filled with traditional wisdom and a philosophy that guides the nomadic people. For instance: “A good hunter knows to take the shot when it’s right.” This seems to be the principle that has guided the protagonist as a hunter. Can he follow it in times of crisis? Ben Merrick establishes himself as a great storyteller, crafting a tale that explores the human spirit and the bonds that hold a clan together, even in the most challenging of times.