Review: Year One by Nora Roberts
I admit to staying in my lane when it comes to choosing books to read. I know what I like so I tend to stick with the same authors. Sometimes I experiment and it's usually hit or miss. I read a Nora Roberts novel a long time ago. My mother was a big reader and enjoyed romance novels so she had one of Nora's books laying around and I gave it a read. I remember enjoying it, especially her writing style, but I didn't return to any more Nora Roberts books because romance novels just aren't my cup of tea.
However, I noticed that Roberts was stepping into the realm of fantasy and dystopian fiction with a new series and that genre happens to be my jam! When I read the premise to Year One I was hooked immediately.
From the author:
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.
I'd been on a big magic kick and I'm currently working on my own post-apocalyptic series so I opted to give Nora Roberts a second chance.
WHAT WORKED FOR ME
Once again I enjoyed her writing style. It's got just enough detail to paint the scene in a compelling way but doesn't bury you in it. Pacing was great throughout the first half of the book. The story was compelling as well and bordered on the bizarre as it closely resembled the real world pandemic that was going on outside at the time I read it. I enjoyed the rise of the magicks and reading how each group dealt with the chaos that was unfolding.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME
The before mentioned pacing that I enjoyed slowed way down as soon as the two main groups converged. There was a lot of day-to-day dealings with very little by way of moving the plot forward. Honestly, some of the fat could've been trimmed there and it wouldn't have hurt the story at all.
The other thing that didn't work, which would normally be cause to stop reading, is that I really didn't like the lead characters. In particular, the witch Lana who is the center of the entire plot comes of naive and helpless. Fortunately, she discovers better self but it only comes towards the very end of the novel. That's also where we meet the best character in the entire story, Simon Swift who only gets a handful of chapters. Hopefully he returns in the rest of the series. The only reason I didn't stop reading is because I enjoyed the story and the B characters were enough to keep me invested.
I did really like Year One and I recommend it to those who enjoy fantasy or dystopian novels. And if you're a fan of magick definitely pick this one up!