The Diamond Rose: A Sentinel 10 Novel
by Daniela Valenti
Brigid Book Publishing

"Ever since the Middle Ages, the Sentinels have been ridding the world of malicious psychic residue and fighting evil supernatural forces."

Adult paranormal romance readers will devour the chills and thrills of this fast-paced but thoughtful tale. Valenti, a Canadian psychiatrist, applies her knowledge of psychology and her unconventional imagination to this debut volume in the Sentinel 10 series.

Amanda Griffith, an anesthesiology student, experiences a stroke-like episode triggered by a solar flare as she returns to her car after her last day of medical school. Soon after the incident, Amanda and her friend Lydia, a psychiatric intern, are confronted by a strangely dark, energetic apparition on a Panama beach while on vacation before they start their respective residencies. Soon afterward, this mysterious form appears in their hotel room, where Matt, a psychically attuned guest, rushes into the room to attack and destroy it. While Lydia feels overpowered and faints during the incident, Amanda instinctively feels the urge to join Matt in generating her own psychic force.

Matt immediately recognizes Amanda as the prophesied Sentinel 10. The experience launches Amanda and Lydia into an elite secret society that labors to cleanse the world of plasmids—the highly dangerous psychic energies generated by supernatural activity. The two friends are immediately whisked from Panama to Prague and recruited by a group of older, retired Sentinels. The Committee requests that the young ladies temporarily leave their medical residencies for a glamorous new life propelling them around the globe on assignments. Lydia is paired with bubbly young Matt, and Amanda finds herself entranced by her partner, James, an unbearably handsome ex-military pilot who is immersed in longing for his lost love.

As the novel opens, the prologue's beginning douses the suspense somewhat and makes the book seem like average fare in the paranormal romance genre. But as tension in the thriller rapidly ascends and chapters fly by, Valenti finds her voice. The writing takes on greater luster, fueled by her knowledge of psychology and the motives of human behavior skillfully applied to plot and character development. The series in progress will appeal to the generation who grew up with the Harry Potter novels as well as aficionados of urban paranormal romance. Both Amanda and Lydia struggle with romantic relationships due to childhood issues with their self-absorbed surgeon fathers. Lydia grieves for the cheating fiancé she had to recently separate from, and at twenty-five, Amanda has yet to fall in love with anyone. Amanda desperately craves James' attention, but due to his indifference, she falls instead for Alain, a former Sentinel with a mysterious past and a deeply troubling present who declares her to be his "Diamond Rose" for all time.

Amanda Griffith is not simply another powerful female protagonist—a character type that is typically found in both paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She is also an introspective, sensitive soul who explores the nature of true love. Readers will be fascinated with her character as the author delves deeper into these themes throughout this novel and, presumably, throughout the series. The elements of lost love, unrequited love, and infatuated love are familiar but made fresh with the recognition of the union of the noble and dark sides of human nature that only an author with an understanding of psychology can skillfully portray.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home