I usually read Nora Roberts when I’m after a romance fix, but spotted Year One (Chronicles of The One Book 1) and thought I’d give this fantasy story a whirl. Stories two and three in this set are as yet unpublished.
A nasty virus is activated when the a sequence of events take place at a mysterious circle of stones in Scotland. Most of the world’s population is quickly wiped out. People who are left after ‘the Doom,’ as the epidemic is called, include ordinary humans, some good and some bad, as well as others who are called the ‘Uncanny’, people with various magical powers which strengthen over time. Some of the magical people are elves, some are faeries, some can light fires and some can see into the future. Again, some of the Uncanny are good and some are bad.
The story starts with the release of the virus, then introduces the reader to a handful of characters. Lana is a chef in New York who is pregnant to Max, a famous writer and practitioner of witchcraft. Arlys is a journalist who tells the truth about how many people have died and just who is left in the White House before she is rounded up to be tested for her immunity to the Doom. Katie is pregnant with twins and Jonah is a paramedic. And so on…
As civilisation collapses, the bad people and bad Uncannys turn on the good people and good Uncannys, mostly for the fun of it. Lana, Max, Arlys, Katie and the other good characters work their way out of the city to find a safe haven with other people who are like them. Some of the characters whose side we are on die on the trip.
I was irritated by the witchcraft in this story being called ‘magick.’ That extra ‘k’ really got up my nose… If I had magical powers, I would have removed them all from this book.
I also struggled to connect with the characters. There were too many of them (even though some get killed) and the story hopped back and forward between the various plot lines too often for me to have gotten to know and care about any of the characters in particular.
My biggest irritation though, was the similarity of the plot to Stephen King’s The Stand. Year One (Chronicles of The One Book 1 isn’t as good as The Stand and I didn’t enjoy this story enough to go back for books two and three.