Of Blood And Bone by Nora Roberts (2018)
This is Book 2 of the Chronicles Of The One, and takes us into a world where our civilisation has ended. There’s a new reality and it ain’t pretty. Life is chaotic in these changed times. Magic is everywhere, released by darkness fermented by the likes of Trump and his cronies. The old ways, the lost ways have returned. Elves, fairies, witches and warlocks are once again beginning to dominate. They are known as Uncannys. Those without any such gifts are worried, as well they might be. Who would want to tangle with a freakin’ witch?
The remnants of the US government are rounding up all those with any form of preternatural or supernatural powers. That’s no easy task as some of the powers are very dangerous and almost uncontrollable. There are both good and bad with extraordinary talents. Those who have given themselves to the darkness are waging war with the government, as well as terrorising the rest.
But there are old prophecies still. Stories that speak of the rise of The One, a girl who will emerge from the mayhem to lead humanity against the evil in the world. Only she will be able to stand against the darkness. Only she will unite the forces of good against deepening malignancy. Her name is Fallon Swift.
We first meet Fallon in this tale when she is thirteen. Living with her mother, step-father and three brothers on a quiet farm, they have avoided the dangers that pervade the land. It’s a peaceful, idyllic existence, a world away from the wars being waged elsewhere in the US. But with the arrival of Mallick, a warlock of inestimable age, Fallon must leave her family to prepare for the coming battles she must lead.
She spends two years under Mallick’s tutelage, learning to explore her powers and expand upon them. Fallon turns out to be the most powerful witch Mallick has ever encountered which, as she’s the chosen one, makes sense. She doesn’t just learn magic, Fallon also learns how to wield a sword and shield, but strangely not an AA-12 full auto shotgun which Rebel Voice considers preferable to a wand.
Elsewhere, in the township of New Hope, other survivors of the global pandemic known as The Doom struggle to build a society they can defend against those who would destroy all. Twins, Tonia and Duncan are also Uncannys. Together with others like them and those not, they form an attack force designed to take the fight to the hostiles as they save those being victimised by the evil out there. The twins are the same age as Fallon and Duncan suspiciously appears to be being groomed by the author as a love interest for our special girl.
Cue incidents and accidents as Fallon comes of age and accepts that her future lies in the town of New Hope, where she must lead the people in a final battle against the blanket of darkness slowly covering the purity of light. It fairly formulaic.
This is not the best story you will ever read. Rebel Voice is a fan of Nora Roberts, especially her Eve Dallas series. But Nora, who is Irish-American, has a habit of becoming mundo squishy when the mood takes her, which is all too often. This book should be read with either a box of tissues beside you, or a bucket, depending upon your constitution.
We have the usual mucky family love where mawkish language abounds. We have the usual sticky friendship issues where mawkish language abounds. We have the usual squelchy social dilemmas where mawkish language abounds. You get the idea? Nora should have titled this, The Mawkish Adventures of A Girl Who Will Fall In Love And Get Shagged By Her Handsome Man When She Comes Of Age. OK, it’s not quite as catchy, but it’s much more accurate.
Books like this should come with a health warning: Beware of soggy material inside.
Rebel Voice could write this story progression. Fallon and Duncan get it on a few years down the line when they’re of an age to make it decent. Fallon’s parents live, as do her brothers, but only just. Tonia makes it but some of the characters of New Hope that we get to meet do not. Mallick might make it or he might not. That will hinge upon the mood Nora is in when she writes it (Rebel Voice has just checked to find that the concluding episode of this series has just been released in November. It’s called The Rise of Magicks). Wonder if Mallick got slaughtered?
If you really enjoy stories where reality and all good sense is suspended, and then smothered in magic and emotional dressings, then you’ll love this book. If you fancy a dander into a fantasy world overlapped with this one, then grab this book. If you want a solid read then, setting Nora’s fine writing aside, this is not a great piece of work. Give it a miss.
Rebel Voice thinks of this book as The Hunger Games meets The Lorien Legacies meets Who Will Love My Children meets Conan The Barbarian meets Fever meets Finian’s Rainbow. This mish mash is not a true reflection of just how good a writer Nora Roberts really is. It should net her a good few quid though. Guess Nora has bills to pay.
Sult scale rating: 5 out of 10. Of Blood And Bone is well-written and the characters consistent and fairly strong, it’s just that the entire premise is stretched and the overly sentimental language detracts from what might, possibly, have been a good book. Nora’s love of Ireland permeates this story and shapes the plots and characters. As much as Rebel Voice is pleased that such an eminent novelist demonstrates a grá for the auld sod, it can become a bit tiresome when used in this way. It becomes Hollywood Oirish instead of just plain old Irish.
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