Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Review: The Rio Grand Parallax Series By RJ Mirabal

BOOK I: Tower of Il Serrohe By RJ Mirabal


The Tower of Il Serrohe pulls us into the deteriorating life of Don Vargas thrown out of the house by his promiscuous wife. He lands in a dilapidated casita which, of course, is a portal to another world. Reluctantly, Don is seduced by an alternative existence in the Valle Abajo, a valley strangely like and unlike his own Rio Grande Valley. A creepy voice in the dark of his casita drives Don to take on a quest to save the clans people of Valle Abajo from the wily Soreyes who have built the mysterious Tower dominating the landscape and magically empowering them to preempt every effort of the clans to break free of Soreye terror.

Traveling to the Valle, Don at first finds the clans are like a sophisticated mix of widely divergent races and cultures that do not work well together but are forced to unite to defeat the Soreyes...except they can't. A century earlier, Teresa, a curandera from the Rio Grande Valley attempted to defeat the Soreyes, but succeeded in only slowing them down. Now all Don wants to do is drink beer, spout profanities, and coat every thought and action with cynicism. Only the disarming beauty and quiet wisdom of a young curandera of the Pirallt clan can hope to move Don to take on this quest...that and the dogged determination of Nersite, a pint-sized story- teller and occasional warrior of the Nohmin clan. Don bounces back and forth between the Rio Grande Valley and Valle Abajo. Each time his perception of the Valle and the clans evolves until he discovers the final shocking reality of the Valle.


RJ Mirabal’s The Tower of Il Serrohe is a pull the rug out from under you read. The alternate world of “Valle Abajo” is finely created with detail in the likes of JRR Tolkien. Many authors have taken after read Tolkien creating fantasy worlds and creatures, but not all have done it right. Every creature, character Mirabal crafted has a purpose, a place bringing this alternate world come to life. To think yeah it could exist.

Mirabal’s writing is human as we follow our antagonist Don Vargas who is down on his luck to say the least. Even though its due to his faults you can’t help but pity the guy a bit as his world get flipped upside down. Mirabal takes you along with him drawing you into Don, and his journey throughout The Tower of Il Serrohe. Mirabal’s juggernaught of a plot twist will leave you slack-jawed just like Don was. When the revelation hits both you both at the same time. You both wonder why you didn’t see it before.

The Tower of Il Serrohe is an Urban fantasy read. Think fantasy meets the Southwest.

Rating: ****(4 stars)


BUY THE TOWER OF Il SERROHE Available @ Black Rose Writing Amazon Barnes& Nobles Smashwords


BOOK II: Extreme Dust Storms May Exist (Book 2 in the Rio Grande Parallax)


Five years after Don Vargas' disappearance in the alternate reality of the Valle Abajo after he brought down The Tower of Il Serrohe, his sixteen-year-old cousin, Esther, living in the Rio Grande Valley, suffers a mysterious accident and begins having strange dreams.

Nightwing-the wily bat who brought Don to the Valle Abajo-tells Esther of the return of the evil Soreyes. After sharing these details with her best friend, Markey, they both wonder if she is losing her mind. Astounding news upon her return from visiting the Valle Abajo through the portal in Don's casita convinces her to take on the new quest using her intelligence and resourcefulness against the Soreyes. New dangers threaten with rumors of evil in the far away Mountains of Sky and beyond the western horizon. Meanwhile, a mysterious presence makes itself known.


The somber end in of Tower of Il Serrohe surprised me to find there was a book 2 and going to be a book 3 in what are now called Rio Grand Parallax series.

In Extreme Dust Storms May Exist we meet young teen Ester a cousin to our hero Don from the first book that happens to be the next in line to receive the family gift…or is it a curse. Trouble is brewing again in the Valle Abajo with the return of their enemy the Soreyes, yet that may be the least of their worries. Something more sinister is lurking in shadows that could destroy them all.

Extreme Dust Storms May Exist does not disappoint as you fall back into the now familiar world of Mirabal’s creation. Reading this book though you start to wonder can these people ever deal with their own problems by themselves as now Ester starts to dream about the “Other Valley” getting pulled into their world. I‘d blame that wily bat though Nightwing.

Speaking of Nightwing he returns along with the rest of our beloved “Other Valley” residents from the first book. We are introduced to some new characters like my favorite the clever and crafty Rahki of the new Prosymin clan.

Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is a mind twisting read. Just when you think you may have figured the book out Mirabal tosses in a mind blast of a plot twist on you. Especially in the mind numbing cliffhanger. I can not wait to see what Mirabal has up his sleeve for the next installment.

RATING: ****(4 stars)

BUY EXTREME DUST STORMS MAY EXISIT @ Black Rose Writing Amazon Barnes & Noble and Smashwords



 RJ Mirabal has lived in the Middle Rio Grande Valley for most of his life. Recognized with awards for his teaching, RJ taught high school English, speech, drama and computer literacy. Now retired, he purses writing and music while volunteering with various organizations. RJ enjoys exploring New Mexico’s wilderness on his four-wheeler and traveling with his wife, Cheryl. The Tower of Il Serrohe (Finalist in 2013 New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards) is his debut novel and Book I of The Rio Grande Parallax series. The newly released, Extreme Dust Storms May Exist is Book II while Book III will conclude the series in 2016.