BOOK REVIEW | Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these things. It’s also been a while since I’ve finished a book. It’s nice to finally be out of my many-months-long reading slump… but now I’m not sure if I’ve jinxed myself. Heh. Anyway, let’s get straight into this review.


With one drop of blood, the old world is gone for ever. And in its place, something extraordinary begins…They call it The Doom – a deadly pandemic that starts on a cold New Year’s Eve in the Scottish countryside. There’s something mysterious about the virus and the way it spreads. As billions fall sick and die, some survivors find themselves invested with strange, unexpected abilities.
Lana, a New York chef, has the power to move things and people with her will. Fred can summon light in the darkness. Jonah, a paramedic, sees snatches of the future in those he touches. Katie gives birth to twins, and suspects that she has brought fresh magic into the world, along with new life. But The Doom affects people differently. Along with the light, a dark and terrifying magic will also rise.As the remaining authorities round up the immune and the ‘Uncannies’ for testing, Lana, Katie and others flee New York in search of a safe haven. The old world is over, and Year One has begun.


Image result for nora roberts


Writing style

I gotta say, this is the first book by Nora Roberts, aka J. D. Robb, that I’ve ever read, and the first thing that really struck me about it was the writing style. I’m not sure if her style is the same in her other books, but it wasn’t something I was used to in general. I found that Roberts put in new details, like aspects of a character’s past, without mentioning it before, or really explaining it after the fact, and expected us to go with it. She has a really… fast(?) way of writing that really nagged at me. But I thought to myself, maybe it was because I was so used to reading in depth detail and explanation à la high fantasy. As I continued to read through the book, however, I actually began to really appreciate it because, first and foremost, I felt that she didn’t underestimate the intelligence of the reader. Sometimes not all things need to be explained in thorough detail, and I liked that it engaged my imagination in that sense, allowing me to form an image on my own.

Immediacy of emotion, connection to characters

I also think the writing style added a sense of immediacy, in many aspects, to the book. Immediacy in terms of action and pacing, but also in terms of emotion. The characters central to the story – and there were many – were likeable, and it didn’t take much for me to feel a connection to them. I actually underestimated this connection many times, until out of nowhere, Robert’s would drop a feels bomb, usually in the form of a little, almost insignificant character moment. And then I’d literally be like… “wtf? I wasn’t expecting to be hit like that.” Just ask my friends who I regularly snapchatted with my reading updates, about how many times I felt emotionally ambushed by this book. Hahaha.

Setting and premise

I have to say, I found the shift from the “old world” to the “new world” a little jarring. I think it was just a little shocking to my system that suddenly this world was filled with all these magickal things. And not just your typical “humans discovering abilities kind of deal”, but straight up elves and faeries. It was one of those things, like Roberts’ writing style, that I had to learn to ride and roll with. I do love me a post-apocalyptic word. (Just in fiction, though, not real life. :P)



Overall, it was a fun read. There’s certainly many trope-y aspects to this book, but you know what? My heart felt good after reading it. And I think that’s what matters most. It’s a similar feeling to the one I get when I read a book from The Others series by Anne Bishop (which I have yet to catch up with). There are a lot of ugly things, dark things, sad things, but beneath it all is that ever pervasive sense of hope, light and strength. I’m giving this book 4 stars!


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