Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Year One: Chronicles of The One Book 1 by Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts delves into the world of apocalyptic fiction with her latest trilogy, Chronicles of The One.  I didn't want to wait for it at the library, so I bought it--and there it sat.  My usual MO, right? When I started it earlier this month, I made it to about page 60 before I set it down for a few weeks. This past Sunday, it was gloomy outside; I finished another book and saw this staring me in the face.  

And I was hooked.  Completely hooked.  It's a fast read, and full of characters that you do care about.  The basic premise is this:  one man, out pheasant hunting during the week before New Year's on his Scottish farm, kills a pheasant, and somehow, with that one act, unleashes what's called The Doom onto the world.  People swiftly die of a horrible flu, and it spreads so fast, within two months the world has completely gone to shit. TWO MONTHS and 80% of the world's population is dead.  It's chaos, with those folks who have survived divided into the good guys and the downright horrible guys.  Two of the main characters, Lana and Max, live in New York City.  Lana, a chef, and Max, a popular author, are both talented in white magic.  As they escape New York City for Pennsylvania, they join others who also show some strange abilities: elves, empaths, faeries (yes, folks who can sprout wings and fly).  Somehow, this horrible destruction has amped up powers in survivors that they either didn't know existed, or were very weak before the Doom.  They are known as the Uncanny, and there are the purity warriors who want them dead.  It's a modern witch hunt against any who have powers. A big theme in this novel is prejudice, judgement at first glance, and the ugliness that fear can generate. 

Lana is the crux of the book; she carries the key to a new world. There are plenty of purity warriors and those who have chosen the dark side of magic that want her dead. Can Max keep her safe?  

I loved all the characters in this novel:  Lana, Max, Fred, Chuck, Arlys, Rachel, Katie, Jonah.  So many more, but they are the biggest supporting characters.  Some gifted, some not.  Oh, the government (what's left of it) is busy rounding up as many survivors as it can--to study them.  So not only does this group  have to avoid the dark side, the purity warriors, and raiders, they have to avoid the government, too. Bad things happen to good people. Not everyone who survives the Doom survives the fallout.  

Of course the story ends with so much more to tell, and I have to patiently wait for the second novel.  I've read some reviews online that compare it to Stephen King's The Stand. I've read The Stand, and it is, in my opinion, the best apocalyptic novel around-hands down.  In no way does this even approach the complexity and downright awesomeness of Stephen King.  But, it is a good read, and fans of Nora Roberts won't be disappointed.  She always writes a pretty solid story. Yes, there is romance, but it takes a back seat when the world is dying.  This is not a romance novel, but more along the lines of fantasy or maybe even fiction. 

Rating:  5/6 for a solid, well written novel about the destruction of life as we know it, and the aftermath.  Mingling magic and the modern world, this was a quick read (even though it clocks in at over 400 pages) and, quite frankly, hard to put down.  I will try to be patient and wait for the story to continue...

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 


  1. Perhaps this will be the book to get me introduced to Nora Roberts. My mom loved her books and read them all up to 2009 when she died (my mom, not Nora of course.) I like your review.

    1. Thank you Judy! I've read a few Nora Roberts trilogies; some have been very good; one I read was not my favorite. I felt it wasn't her best at all.

  2. Thanks so much for this review Sue. I have never read Nora Roberts because I don't read any romance or contemporary women's fiction but this one sounds right up my alley. I would have completely overlooked it, given the author, if it wasn't for your review. I just put it on hold at the library. Thanks!

    1. Let me know what you think of it Kathleen. I think you'll enjoy it. Nora Roberts always writes a solid story, and even her romances aren't sappy, but solid and not gushy. The element of magic is pretty interesting, and I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out in the remaining novels!