Book Review: “Year One” by Nora Roberts

“You get up in the morning, and do what you have to do. You get up, thinking for just a split second, everything’s the way it was. Then you know it’s not. It’s never going to be, but you get up and keep going.”

(YEAR ONE by Nora Roberts, Chapter Six, page 96)

“Year One” by Nora Roberts offers readers a disturbing glimpse into human nature when civilization as we know it ends and a world with new rules and ancient magicks emerges.

Year One

From the Good Reads synopsis, “The end has come. The beginning comes next.”

It’s the New Year and amid the revelry a sickness has begun to spread. It hits fast and spreads even quicker. They call it the Doom. Within a few weeks the world has been decimated—more than half the population is dead, infrastructures have collapsed, and the Uncanny are among the immune. The Uncanny have powers and abilities. There are witches, faeries, elves, and others, some light and some dark.

Max and Lana practiced witchcraft before the Doom. Now immunes, their powers have increased and they find themselves trying to get out of New York away from the savages and evil attempting to take over the city. Also heading out of the city are Arlys and Fred, a journalist and a young intern who both worked for the same television station plus their friend Chuck, a tech genius. This trio eventually meets up with another group fleeing the city: Rachel the doctor, Jonah the paramedic, and Katie a young mother who just gave birth to twins and adopted a third baby left orphaned by the Doom.

“Year One” is told from multiple POV’s and spans a full year in time. If you pick up this book expecting the typical Nora Roberts romance, it’s not there. Romance takes a backseat in “Year One” — even though we do get a nicely developed relationship between Lana and Max. This novel focuses more on the breakdown of order and the chaos that quickly follows. There’s the rise of magic as tech dwindles and dies. And there is the fear.

Author Roberts has created a very disturbing reality in “Year One.” She explores the dark side of humanity, both the “normal” humans and their prejudice against any type of Uncanny or person who may be perceived as an Uncanny plus the dark Uncanny who simply are evil. She takes readers on a frightening journey, but also manages to give us hope.

There’s a nice balance in “Year One”. While we see the horrors and atrocities, we also get to see the good. The people who learn to live together, pooling resources and relying on all types of abilities—supernatural as well as natural. Faeries, elves, and witches living and working with policemen, teachers, and lawyers to build a new society that’s safe and welcoming for everyone.

“Year One” by Nora Roberts is epic and a book I highly recommend, especially if you’ve enjoyed her books like The Sign of Seven Trilogy and The Guardians Trilogy. Here is a great link to a list of all her books by published date. If you’ve never read a Nora Roberts book, this actually is a really good one for a start.

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