As one American family enjoys their break at their Scottish holiday home, a terrible sickness is released when blood is spilt on ancient magical land. The sickness travels with the family back across the oceans and within an alarmingly short period of time, more than half of the world’s population is dead. The virus seems to be unstoppable.
Nora Roberts hands down is a fiction writing juggernaut and anything this author puts out is always going to be welcomed with great glee by her army of fans. The news that Roberts was turning her talents to the post-apocalyptic (which well when done well, is my absolute favourite of all genres) was a real boost for the genre and well received by the reading (and reviewers!) community.
What you will quickly discover as you dive in is that this dystopian novel is unexpectedly populated by fantasy characters like elves and fairies, sensitives and telekinetics etc. The novel would have worked well as a straight post virus work, or as a fantasy novel. YEAR ONE is a uncomfortable blend of both that does not quite hit the mark. Going into this read I wasn’t anticipating the fantasy elements, and it was quite disappointing to encounter them. Can’t help but feeling a little cheated by the inclusions of characters that have such handy superpowers at their disposal to deal with any challenges that come their way.
Roberts always creates characters that you will want to invest your time in, and this is the min strength we see again in YEAR ONE. They won’t all survive, and the readers will have an interest in seeing through which ones will make it with or without newly acquired abilities. It is not a dark read as the fairy elements are a bit ridiculous and lighten the mood. As a beach read it serves very well and the impetus in picking up the next novel is to see where everyone ends up – what new alliances will be formed, who will go on to lead, who will be able to adapt and survive.
REVIEW - CITY OF LIGHT, Keri Arthur
Kicking off her new urban fantasy series with a bang, Australian author Keri Arthur introduces us to Tiger who has lived her life in an abandoned government facility since the war between her people and the shifters. The last of her kind, but still accompanied by the dead who still walk the hallways, Tiger endeavours to stay out of the way of those who live in the post-apocalyptic towns above. Tiger has good reason to live the solo life. She is dechet, a created hybrid of shifter and vampire, and one of the few remaining witnesses to the great war that has decimated the world.
Does it sound like there is a lot going on in this novel? There is. Vampires, shifters, wraiths, hybrids, rifts; the reader needs to keep sharp as to what Tiger must do in order to break through every obstacle in her rescue efforts. It’s a little exhausting. A debut fantasy novel must in some ways keep it light on the rules and regs, so that we can easily pickup up the vernacular and have some sense of confidence in knowing how everything works. It’s not so easy to visualize the landscape in CITY OF LIGHT; some elements seem to contradict.
Arthur has created a world still going through the process of change and if you like futuristic Wild West novels, you’ll enjoy what the author has crafted here. Tiger uses sex to obtain information and she has a romantic interest also in this series entry which is an appealing lead into the next Tiger novel. Tiger herself is a bit of an uber super hero; the kitchen sink approach has been used here in that many standard fantasy elements have all been thrown into the one novel. Tiger is purposeful, independent and interesting with her strong self-survival skills and has the stones to be a strong action lead. The melancholic “left behind” setting of this novel is well crafted and the action sequences are again very good. A solid entry into what will be no doubt another successful action series for author Keri Arthur.