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 - THE OBSESSION, Nora Roberts
Photographer Naomi Carson has surprised even herself with her urge to buy a house and put down roots. A fixer upper in a beautiful rural town seems a perfect clean slate on which to begin her new life and she feels at long last that she can relax and plan for the future. Naomi soon finds that with making personal connections comes complications, but they are welcome ones to someone who has spent most of her life leaving as small an emotional footprint on the world as she can.
Best selling author Nora Roberts excels in churning out the whip fast reads, and THE OBSESSION is another book where the dialogue is snappy, we have a savvy and feisty heroine, and the love interest is uber masculine and good with his hands. You will be half way through this novel before you know it, caught up in the evolving relationship between the two leads whilst not losing sight of the fact that there is someone waiting and wanting to bring all that happiness down.
There is quite a contrast between the present day Naomi scenes, and the first few chapters set in the past where the horror all began. It is relayed in such a teen thriller fashion that you are almost expecting a punch line or to find out it was some horrible dream. These introductory chapters don't gel with the bulk of the book, which is breezy modern romance. The book finds its pace when we have Naomi in her new home, making renovation plans with her builder, pottering around with her photography and meeting the townsfolk. Naomi is a trauma survivor and it is in the many smaller details of how she builds this new home for herself where satisfaction lies for the reader.
There are no surprises in this novel and the crime aspect is almost unnecessary, other than as a way to explain why Naomi is gun shy of relationships and is starting out anew. Fans will enjoy this read and care for both Xander and Naomi, and Naomi's family and the townsfolk as well. A sweet winter read about moving on and not letting the past limit your future happiness.