Speaking of breath-taking fantasy…. (Be sure to read the pieces on Megan Whalen Turner & Milla Vane/Meljean Brook too!)
I don’t think there’s a romance fan out there who doesn’t love Nora Roberts. Her books are amazing, her fierce defense of the romance industry is inspiring, and her talent/productivity/work ethic is simply jaw dropping.
But even for Queen Nora, I think her recent trilogy The Chronicles of The One was outstanding.
The world-building, creativity and imagination in the series was magnificent, but as always, where Roberts really excelled was in fleshing out the relationships, reminding us what a good life looks like, even in the midst of constant danger.
After a mysterious virus kills 80% of the planet’s population in a matter of weeks, and many of the survivors turn magical, the world suddenly becomes a battleground between good and evil.
When the main characters in Book 1 unite, they do so intentionally, with an eye to establishing community, shelter, safe haven and fellowship. Yes, they train as warriors, but they also grow crops, establish schools, breed life stock, bake bread and take care of each other. They express love, respect, tolerance and interconnection to their families, blood and otherwise, and expand those values around them to create a new society.
Meanwhile, not surprisingly, darker factions around the globe conquer each other, lock magical creatures up, make horrifying power grabs and in general make the planet a terrible place. The exceptions are the ones who, over the course of the three books find their way to one another and increasingly grow an army to fight for the light, led by the powerful witch Fallon Swift, the baby conceived the moment everything changed, and raised to be the leader who’ll conquer evil—with a little help from her friends, and a grand romance along the way.
(She is the Queen of Romance for a reason.)
These books were fantastic fantasy, and some of my favorite reads in the past few years.
(And of course all of her books are worth a read!)
THE ONE – Book 1 of The Chronicles of The One
A stunning new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts—Year One is an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…
It began on New Year’s Eve.
The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.
Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.
As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.
In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.
The end has come. The beginning comes next.
(This review is part of Read-A-Romance Month. Hope you’ll come back every day to check out my book recommendations. You can find the calendar here. Also check out The Romance of Reading, a Facebook “book club” where we’ll have great authors guest hosting every week.)
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