4,0 de 5 estrellas
a dark, magickal mix of Zombieland and Heroes
Revisado en los Estados Unidos 🇺🇸 el 14 de diciembre de 2017
(Edit: In case that first line, which was there from the start, isn't enough of a warning, let me be clear--
I DISCUSS MAJOR SPOILERS.
HEY, GUYS, THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.)
I was thoroughly impressed with the ingenuity and world-building in this novel. It’s probably been done before, but I’ve never seen the end of the world caused by dark magic. A deadly virus spread with crazy ease and speed, killing billions of people—but also unlocking supernatural abilities in others. And there were also ordinary humans who just seemed to be immune to the virus. No zombies, thank god; I’m so sick of zombies. We didn’t get a whole lot of explanation for the magickal side of the story yet, about what happened ages ago to have begun all this. But that’ll come.
I had a hard time wrapping my head around romance queen Nora Roberts writing an end-of-the-world book, and I didn’t have faith in the quality of the work, since her stand-alone last spring crashed and burned, so I didn’t take Year One seriously—and decided to peek at the ending. Now I can’t decide if I’m glad I knew up front that Max dies or if I wish I’d been ignorant so I could have enjoyed my time with him without wondering if he would die on the next page, or the next. I can’t imagine I’d have been surprised by his death—I mean, Lana having dreams of wandering alone and heartbroken wasn’t exactly subtle—but I did read the book with a sense of dread, knowing it was coming.
But it’s done. Max, who was easily my favorite character, died, and I was insulted on his behalf by the lack of significance Roberts gave the moment of his death. I don’t now if she underestimated how much readers would care about him, or if she was trying not to ruin the momentum of the scene, wanting it to happen as quickly for us as it was for Lana, but she presented the death of a major character rather apathetically, in my opinion.
As I think on it, I wonder if I just don’t have closure. We left his lifeless body bleeding in the middle of a cornfield, never saw the reactions of the others, never saw him laid to rest, never saw his friends grieve for him. Lana grieved for him, but it was kind of a glossed over, off-camera thing.
Speaking of, I wish Roberts had included at least one more chapter that described Lana’s emotional transition, her grief for Max and her growing feelings for Simon. I liked Simon, he was a solid guy, but I did not get to know him well enough to accept him as Lana’s new love. The development of their relationship was MIA; Fallon was born, then BAM—time jump, and they’re declaring their love for one another. It wasn’t fair to us, after spending 370 pages falling in love with Max, to have Simon shoved in our faces in less than 50.
Also, I understand the symbolism of Lana moving on from Max on New Year’s Eve, closing out the year along with that chapter of her life, but I can’t get behind it. I don’t believe you can just decide to be done grieving; just decide to be done with any emotion. If she wasn’t ready to move on, then she wasn’t ready, and there was no reason she couldn’t have taken her time. Again, I’m insulted on Max’s behalf that her New Year’s resolution was to put away her emotions for him. It just feels wrong to me, a little callous. But Roberts wanted it wrapped up so the plot could progress. Whatever.
I’m not entirely clear on what the focus is here, storytelling-wise. Obviously the over-arching plot is Fallon saving the world, aka the “Chronicles of The One,” but the goal of this book was a little ambiguous to me. If Roberts wanted to tell us about the purge and how/why The One was called into action, then we didn’t need anything from Arlys and Jonah’s points of view. Because if they’re not included in the next book, if we never see them again, they were a massive waste of time in this one. Similarly, why did we meet Starr, then, if we were only going to know her for two seconds? Why did we need to go behind-the-scenes of the founding of New Hope, when all that was pertinent to Max and Lana—and therefore The One—was that they showed up there? I really believe we’ll see Arlys and the others again; I can’t imagine Roberts wrote them for the sake of writing them.
…Actually, yeah, I can believe it.
I personally think the first book should have ended after chapter sixteen, after their first harrowing escape, and the second book could have started with New Hope, given Lana and Simon’s relationship time to breathe, and gone from there. But Roberts contorted the story to fit the “year one” theme for some reason; the next book, scheduled to release next November, is titled Of Blood and Bone, not Year Two, and I highly doubt it will continue a by-year theme, so why she was so set on doing it for this one, I don’t know.
But other than those things—Max’s death, Lana and the rushed ending, and the possible irrelevance of the mass of secondary characters—I really, really liked this book. Roberts’ delivery was smooth and skilled; her wonderful talent was apparent here, and, having disliked her last release, I reveled in it. I lost my favorite character, but the others are equally likable. Overall, this is not what I would have expected from Roberts, but I look forward to seeing what comes next in the chronicles of The One. My money’s on a thirteen-year time jump and Fallon goes off to train with the weird guy from the epilogue.
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