The Diamond Rose: A Sentinel 10 Novel, by Daniela Valenti
Daniela Valenti, 1777427304, 258 pages, 2020
I love a good paranormal-romance, mostly because as an intuitive person that’s how all my life usually feels, if only in my own mind. I can always relate to the trials of learning how to use one’s powers wisely while encountering spirits, energies, and deities with their own agenda. I appreciate when a fiction book strengthens my confidence in my own intuition from inspiring me with how a strong character handles what comes their way; sometimes it’s just more relatable than reading a nonfiction book on a topic because I can develop a connection to the characters and use them as inspiration. Therefore, I was thrilled to discover The Diamond Rose by Daniela Valenti, which is the first book in an on-going series, that kept me hooked from the start with a relatable, intriguing plot. I could not get enough of this book and am already eagerly awaiting the next one coming out in 2021!
The premise of The Diamond Rose is the protagonist, a medical student named Amanda, suddenly develops psychic abilities during a solar flare. Luckily, her best friend since childhood, Lydia, also has her psychic powers activated so she’s not alone in this venture. Together, the women are encouraged to join the most powerful secret society in order to learn how to control their powers and receive protection from a mafia-like Committee. The fact that the Committee is the most powerful, filled with secrets, and may or may not have its Sentinel’s best interest at heart only adds interest to how this will play out in the long-run within the series. Meanwhile, Amanda struggles with feelings for her stoic, handsome, and ripped partner James, while also fending herself from the attraction of Alain, a rogue assassin stalking her. The mixture of intrigue and romance set the stages for Amanda as she navigates this new way of life in a way many modern women can relate to – drinking her tea, lots of baths, and frequent shopping.
What I liked most about The Diamond Rose was the cast of characters that Valenti brings to life. From the start, she develops layered-interactions between the characters, generating enough conflict to be engaging but also a sense of teamwork. It made me wish I had my own team of psychics to tackle energy-suck plasma and mind-controlling bad guys with! The variety of characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, make for a force to be reckoned with. You can see they are a team, but there’s still alliances that are forming, which keep it interesting as you keep guessing at what may transpire between them.
I especially appreciate the focus in the plot on Amanda’s relationship with her best friend Lydia because it demonstrates a healthy and mature friendship between women. Too often, women are pitted against each other as competitors, portraying them as envious or not to be trusted. I found it refreshing to see the dynamic between these two, who openly share their opinions on the other’s love life (is the guy ever really good enough for your bestie?), work through their disagreements, and continue to be honest and loving with each despite differences of opinion.
Beyond the variety of characters, there’s also competing secret societies, each with their own agenda that add even more complexity to the story. The book perfectly satiates readers’ curiosity about these rumored secret societies, so often alluded to in modern times, while laying a web that ties another main character, Basil, and his family to these different organizations.This is just one example of the foundation laid by Valenti that keeps the readers questioning what lay ahead for the characters further into the series.
Another unique feature of the book is Valenti’s profession as a psychiatrist, which allows her to expertly weave in psychological and medical concepts. Being that many of the characters have a scientific background, she creates the perfect counter of reason and logic to all the paranormal happenings, which adds humor and keeps the story grounded in a reality that seems plausible to the reader. Valenti’s use of contrasting perspectives enables the reader to see the characters’ perspective from a scientific view-point and also supernatural one, especially in disagreements between Lydia and Amanda, and leaves the reader’s reflection on whose point is right.
My favorite part of the book was when the Sentinels get their initial training. I have been very into studying defense and protection magic recently, and Amanda gave me a lot of inspiration for accepting my abilities and learning how to protect myself with them. I used the technique for turning off psychic receiving that Amanda got in training in real life with much success. It was fun to engage with the experience of the characters in this way and to imagine what it’d be like to be a Sentinel myself.
One-downside of the book for readers may be their frustration with Amanda’s romantic choices. Just like a good friend, you’ll be screaming “Why are you putting yourself through this heartache?” when she full-fledge throws herself into a rather toxic relationship. Since it seems Amanda’s childhood wounds are only healed by utterly consuming love, she tosses all reason to the side and dives in headfirst to an “unconditional” love affair with a domineering suitor. It’s a classic mash-up of toxicity and bonding over abuse that fuels the love, in my opinion, and this may have some more level-headed women smacking their palm to their face saying, “Girl, get a grip.” However, by the end, the twist of events certainly seems to be a set-up for the evolving plot in the upcoming books. As much as I wanted to hate on Amanda for her choices, I also have experienced my fair share of flings with the bad boy. Being that she’s young, I hope to see her mature as the series goes on.
The only other thing worth mentioning about The Diamond Rose is that it’s lacking any BIPOC in it, which is a bit disheartening. I think a little more diversity would make it more appealing to a wider range of audience. Amanda is a very much “basic white girl,” though still with enough depth to make her an interesting lead.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Diamond Rose and read it under 24 hours (I even stayed up late one night because I wanted to know what would come next). I think Valenti is off to a great start with the series – I’m already invested in the characters – and I look forward to seeing what’s next for the Sentinels. This book perfectly blends the suspense that comes from a good thriller with the romance at the heart of chick lit. I highly recommend it for anyone whose is seeking a paranormal-romance, especially for those who are looking for a fictional role model to inspire them as they hone their psychic abilities.
Alanna Kali is an astrologer, numerologist, and pioneer spirit that loves to explore life through the lens of depth psychology. She has a passion for studying the humanities and social trends. Her academic work is centered upon reuniting body, mind, and spirit through eco-psychology. She loves reading, spending time in nature, and travel.