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The Penance of Valentine Cash

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods meets Jennifer Mason-Black’s Devil and the Bluebird in this modern adaptation of the Greek legend The Twelve Labors of Hercules for young adult fantasy readers.

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Book cover for a fantasy novel. Image has an aurora borealis and two ghostly figures.

Valentine Cash is dead.


When she dies in an accidental collision she caused on the cusp of musical fame, Valentine is offered a deal: Complete a series of difficult tasks to get her life back. Fail, and she dies a final, everlasting death. Guided by Route 66 the Mother Road of America on her quest, she tackles one herculean task after another, giving up a piece of herself with each trial.


Valentine begins to understand that the fame she once sought won’t bring her happiness or belonging – and if she fulfills the penance, she must decide what’s more important: Her old life or restoring the lives of the strangers who died alongside her.


The young and the ancient, the tangible and the mythical, collide as Valentine learns the true meaning of redemption, connection, and the enduring power of the human spirit.

Five Star Review from Reader's Favorite!


"The Penance of Valentine Cash is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and contains some moderate fantasy violence. Penned by author Rebecca Rook, this enchanting and action-packed novel spins a modern twist on the Greek legend of The Twelve Labors of Hercules. Valentine Cash, in her pursuit of musical fame, meets a tragic end and is offered a chance at life again. The catch: she must complete a series of challenging tasks. Led by Route 66, the iconic Mother Road of America, Valentine faces herculean challenges, sacrificing a part of herself with each trial. As she grapples with fame's true cost and the impact of her actions, she discovers that the value of redemption and the power of the human spirit transcend time and myth.

Author Rebecca Rook has crafted an atmospheric and immersive fantasy novel that was a truly captivating experience from beginning to end. I adored the slick and intelligent blend of mythology and contemporary themes, creating a narrative that captures contemporary YA readers but also feels suitably grand in its proportions as it resonates with the struggles and triumphs of the human condition. Valentine's journey is both fantastical and deeply relatable, exploring themes of redemption, identity, and the interconnectedness of lives through emotively penned narrative moments and some really excellent speech and thought presentation. Thanks to the confidence and delicacy of the author’s narrative structure, this novel goes beyond the simplicity of a modern retelling to produce a poignant reflection on the consequences of one's choices and the transformative nature of redemption, all in a format that is easily digestible and still action-packed for its target YA crowd. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Penance of Valentine Cash for fantasy fans everywhere, and I cannot wait to see what more this talented author has to offer."

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