Saturday, January 20, 2018

Book Review: Year One by Nora Roberts

Year One
Author: Nora Roberts
Series: Chronicles of the One (Book 1)
Publication: St. Martin's Press (December 5, 2017)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: People who were afraid that Nora Roberts's new venture was going to go somewhere they didn't want to follow should be reassured by YEAR ONE. This book is contemporary fantasy like quite a few of her recent trilogies. There is much less emphasis on a man and woman finding each other and going through trials until they get to their "happily ever after." That doesn't mean that there is no love and no romance however.

The story begins with a New Year's celebration in Scotland when an unknowing, careless act unleashes magick on the world. The magick unleashes a plague that kills the majority of people living on the Earth over the course of a few months. Governments, civilization, and infrastructure all fail for lack of people to keep it running.

This story follows some of the people who survive.

Lana and Max are New Yorkers. Max is an author and Lana a chef. They are also both witches who practice the Craft. After the plague begins, they find their powers growing. They support the Light and the concept that magick should do no harm. Not all of those who develop magick feel the same way. There are many, both human and Uncanny, who embrace the Dark. Lana and Max flee New York looking for a safer place to build a new life. Along the way they pick up Eddie and his dog Joe. They find Max's brother Eric and some others who have gathered in a mountain cabin owned by the parents of one of Eric's companions.

Arlys Reid is a television reporter. She is trying to hold things together and get the News out because she believes in the public's right to know. She has a trusted source named Chuck who is feeding her news he has gathered as a hacker that lets her know that things are much worse than she is being told. When her broadcast partner kills himself on air, Arlys decides to tell the viewing public what Chuck has told her and to get out of town. Fred, her intern who has become a faerie, decides to go with her. They have a dangerous time walking the subway tunnels to Chuck and then head out of New York in Chuck's humvee.

Jonah Vorhies is a paramedic who has always been able to tell if his patients are going to live or die. He's the one who bring Patient Zero to the hospital. When things get bad, he goes to the hospital one last time to say goodbye to Doctor Rachel Hopman and arrives in time to help a young mother deliver twins. Now his plans have changed, he needs to get Rachel, Katie and her babies, and another orphaned baby out of New York too.

The survivors of all three groups finally get together in a West Virginia town they rename New Hope and things are going well until the dark forces - Purity Warriors who want to kill all the Uncanny and the Dark Uncanny - find them forcing Lana to run to save her unborn child who is destined to be the world's savior. It left me wondering what happens with the characters I have come to know who are still in New Hope and makes me hope that Roberts will return there in later books in this series.

Nora Roberts's books always have strong relationships. This book is no exception. The themes of people needing each other and depending on each other and fighting for the good are woven through the whole book. People banding together to form communities are key here. The contrast between the builders and the destroyers is clear.

I can't wait to see what happens next for this series and these characters.

Favorite Quote:
"I have a theory," Arlys began. "Major, monumental crises bring out the best or the worst in us -- sometimes both. And sometimes these major, monumental crises have no effect on certain types. Which means, no matter what the circumstances, assholes remain assholes."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.


  1. I look forward to what happens next too, especially those left behind in New Hope.

  2. I liked this first book and want to see what happens too. :-)


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