Title: The Valley of the Lost (Deltora Quest #7)
Author: Emily Rodda
Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1st October 2001
Synopsis: Lief, Barda and Jasmine, searching for the seven lost gems of the magic Belt of Deltora, have almost reached their goal.
Six gems now gleam in the Belt, but the last must be found before Deltora can be freed from the tyranny of the evil Shadow Lord.
The companions have faced many terrors with strength and courage. Now they are about to meet dark mysteries that strength and courage alone cannot defeat.
If they fail, their quest will be lost, and they will remain forever trapped in the swirling mists of the Valley of the Lost.
Onwards the intrepid trio venture, towards Tora as they uncover more secrets about the fate of Endon, his queen and the heir to the throne of Deltora, whose presence will unite the lands and be revealed once they have fitted the final stone, the diamond, to complete the belt and unlock the powers that have for many years been hidden and kept from the one person who can reunite the kingdom.
Lief, Jasmine and Barda have come so far – and now they face their final trial – gaining the diamond from the Guardian. To do this, they must be honest and fair in the game they must play with him and try to keep others from thwarting them in their quest to reunite the gems with the belt. And this is where the plot twists come in – two – that evolve throughout the rest of this book and then in the final book that at first, will have readers cheering and breathing a sigh of relief before yanking the carpet out from underneath you.
In doing so, it gives the adventure more energy and a sense that all is not what it seems for Lief, Barda and Jasmine – whose bond has never broken throughout the series. When a new threat rears itself over the three companions, they must work with the people of the seven tribes of Deltora to find a way to keep themselves safe so they can finally defeat the Shadow Lord.
In the penultimate book, Emily Rodda has started to bring all the threads of the previous six books together as Lief, Jasmine and Barda start to discover secrets linked to the stones and those they have met. It is all cleverly done, so not everything is revealed at once, and like a treasure hunter, the reader gets to discover new and exciting facts as they read on throughout the series. The series has danger, adventure and excitement in equal measures, with enough variance to each story thus far to keep readers interested yet at the same time, with the familiar plot thread running through to connect them all.
Once the final stone has been found, and placed in the belt, it is the start of the journey home to Deltora, to finally defeat the Shadow Lord. There are more challenges to come, and more puzzles to solve on their journey home. In this one, the stakes get higher as they get closer to reuniting the stones – creating an exciting story that seems to just fly by as you read it.
Another great book in the Deltora Quest series, which is perfect for any aged eight and over, because it is filled with adventure and friendship, games and puzzles to solve as the series starts to come to an end. It has been really fun reading these books and discovering a new adventure with the characters. I’ll be reviewing the final book and doing a wrap-up post for the omnibus here soon.