Book: The Mystery of Valehollow

"The Mystery of Valehollow"

Welcome to Valehollow Estate.

Genius Detective Lorelai Wang and her assistants Chloe Karan and Dr. Mara Spencer have been summoned to the ancient mansion. Their mission: find the missing millionaire, Austin Sisley, and uncover the mysterious forces troubling Valehollow Estate.

As Lorelai delves deeper into the estate, myths become reality, and supernatural forces begin appearing. Strange happenings and sightings abound, and soon Detective Lorelei begins to question not only the case itself, but her own sanity.

On the one hand, I have to applaud the creation of a local choose-your-own-adventure book. It’s well-paced, it’s thrilling, and you really don’t know what you’re going to get every time you make a decision that will alter the course of your chosen story. For that alone, I would recommend this book to any kid or anyone to read with their kids. But we both know I don’t just stop there when I write about a book I read–

My main problem with The Mystery of Valehollow is this: I really, really didn’t like the audience surrogate: Lorelai Wang. I find her obnoxious and full of herself–and I found myself rolling my eyes at the things she says and does…unless she does it out of a reader’s decision. That’s the only time I’m okay with her decisions. But for the most part? I wish we could’ve had the Mara Spencer character as the lead instead. She might be a know-it-all, but she’s not as annoying self-aware of her genius.

And then there’s the girl friday–best friend Chloe. As a comic relief, she doesn’t work. Mostly because she’s nonsensical. But whenever she’s in the picture, I keep finding myself confused as to what is actually happening, and if her opinions has anything to do with what is actually happening in the novel.

Hating on the two characters we spend the most time on actually makes me feel bad. Because it makes The Mystery of Valehollow seem a bad book, when it’s only the two characters who are insufferable due to their too quirky and too over-the-top personalities. The rest of the book is fine–especially for a book written with kids in mind (I’m assuming.) It has the right amount of adventure, a right amount of problem-solving, and it really tests one’s observational skills. (Also, the artworks from artist Jed Siroy are properly creepy when it needs to be.)

I guess I’m only hoping now that if another Lorelai Wang Case File book comes out–writer Ace Vitangcol would tone down Lorelai’s annoying traits… And maybe find a new best friend for the self-aggrandizing hero.

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