Year One (The Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts #FridayReads ‘As This World Ends, A New One Begins’ #PostApocalyptic #Fantasy

Author: Nora Roberts

Publication Date: 5th December 2017 by Piatkus

Category: Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Fantasy, Book 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.

The story begins in Scotland in the run up to New Year, with the extended MacLeod family on an annual trip to their farm. As Ross MacLeod and his twin brother, Rob, were out in the fields shooting pheasant for the pot, they could have no idea of the horror that would be unleashed that day.

Back in New York Jonah Vorhies, a paramedic, and his partner rushed Ross MacLeod, with his wife in attendance, to hospital. Jonah knew Ross was already dead. He’d ‘seen’ the events leading up to this moment, even as he hated this…thing…whatever it was he had…he couldn’t stop it.

Across the river, Lana Bingham experiences an unexplainable and huge surge of her powers. She and her partner, Max Fallon, are witches but Lana’s abilities had never equalled Max’s. Until now.

Arlys Reid, a national news reporter, with her intern, Fred, tries to keep her reports up to date without causing more panic. The newspapers however are full of reports of deaths, murders, suicides, attacks, as well as acts of kindness. There is meant to be a vaccine available which never seems to materialise. When Arlys gets word of the true tally of deaths her outlook changes.

Her heart jumped. “More than two billion? Where’d you get that number?”

“I’ve gotta keep that under the vest. But it’s real, Arlys, and it’s going up a lot faster than the people in charge of this clusterfuck are saying.”

“But…Jesus God, Chuck, that’s nearly a third of the world population. A third of the world population wiped out in weeks?” Sick, she scribbled the numbers down. “And that doesn’t count the murders, the suicides, the people killed in crashes, fires, stampedes, the ones who’ve died of exposure.”

As the plague, known as The Doom, spreads, the world descends into chaos with magic rising, both good and bad. The authorities that remain want the gifted and the immune taken as test subjects, before they are hunted and killed by fanatics and those possessed of dark magic. A state of disorder and lawlessness takes over, with pockets of small groups trying to survive by whatever means possible. 

Year One is a departure in genre for Nora Roberts which makes a welcome change from the previous paranormal trilogies which had become quite formulaic and, although the magickal element is still there in spades, the pandemic storyline gives it a whole new perspective. Romance is very much in the background, with the focus on the survivors – how they cope and coexist (or not) in the aftermath, as well as forming as a steep learning curve for those with enhanced powers.

There’s a large cast of eventually connecting characters, loveable, hateable and those you can empathise with.  All have their own stories and, in the main, are well defined and individual, developing as the story progresses. The story is full of emotion, a mixture of light and darkness, told from several of the major characters’ points of view, which, as well as giving a wider angle on the story, helps the reader keep each group in order. No-one knows whether the next person they meet will be friend or foe or where exactly their journey will end, but there is a promise which will determine what comes next. I hope the next book picks up with those characters, some of whom we get to know well, whose stories were left hanging. An intriguing read.

I chose to read and review Year One  based on an advance reader copy of the book supplied by NetGalley and Clara Diaz (Little, Brown Books)

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including Come Sundown, The Obsession, The Liar, and coming in December 2017, Year One — the first book in The Chronicles of The One. She is also the author of the futuristic suspense In Death series written under the pen name J.D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.

You can keep up with Nora via her website and Facebook

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