"This is what we are," Brannaugh said, still glowing from the shock of energy. "This is what we have. The nights grow longer now. The dark conquers light. But he will not conquer us."Oh, would you believe how much this pains me? Writing this out, spelling out my feelings this way, a way that doesn't make Nora Roberts sound like the god of romance and storytelling and romantic storytelling I know her to be. She's fueled my dreams of love and fulfillment since I was a girl of preadolescence and I still firmly believe she is a queen among authors. But even royalty have an off day, I suppose.
To be fair, I knew that beyond the first book, Dark Witch, I was going to have a tough time. There was something so specific and individualized about the way I loved Iona and her story that I knew it wouldn't translate the same throughout the series. And it didn't help that these characters whom I knew would arise from the role of secondary to primary characters failed to win me. It was the love of Iona and the promise of her future with Boyle that drew me away from my doubt and trapped me into really liking the Dark Witch after the rich opening chapters.
Without her intense draw, it's too easy to see how dull I find the rest of the story beginning with Shadow Spell. Because the remaining characters felt like a gloomy day that left me begging for the sunshine that was Iona and because most of the plot is made up of uneventful, boring dinner conversations of supposed strategy instead of actual action, I found myself yawning and flipping quickly through the pages--so quickly, in fact, that the words could only be skimmed. Barely.
In truth, this read felt more like a DNF sitting since I can't recall over a quarter of the book, just a blur of words as I hastened to reach the ending I desperately wanted. Wanted not due to real worry or excitement for the conclusion, but due to eagerness in actually finding one at last. Folks, it's a sad day when I'm begging for a new Nora Roberts book to end so that I can chuck it aside.
I will be checking out the final book, just to see how that final couple stops prolonging the torture of not being together and to convince myself that it was just this installment that bothered and not the whole story idea. And let's face it: I'm always excited for a New Nora no matter what, even when I'm disappointed by the last.
Paperback / 319 pgs / March 25th 2014 / Berkeley Penguin / Goodreads / $17.00
My copy was purchased on Amazon.com.