2019 Book 344: THE RISE OF MAGICKS by Nora Roberts

The Rise of Magicks, Chronicles of the One #3,  by Nora Roberts 
ISBN: 9781250123039 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250123060 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781531834630 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07L2QR5WD (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 26, 2019 
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press


After the sickness known as the Doom destroyed civilization, magick has become commonplace, and Fallon Swift has spent her young years learning its ways. Fallon cannot live in peace until she frees those who have been preyed upon by the government or the fanatical Purity Warriors, endlessly hunted or locked up in laboratories, brutalized for years on end. She is determined to save even those who have been complicit with this evil out of fear or weakness—if, indeed, they can be saved. 

Strengthened by the bond she shares with her fellow warrior, Duncan, Fallon has already succeeded in rescuing countless shifters and elves and ordinary humans. Now she must help them heal—and rediscover the light and faith within themselves. For although from the time of her birth, she has been The One, she is still only one. And as she faces down an old nemesis, sets her sights on the enemy’s stronghold, and pursues her destiny—to finally restore the mystical shield that once protected them all—she will need an army behind her…





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Book one of The Chronicles of the One, Year One, introduced the Doom and the apocalypse that caused a catastrophic change in humanity and reintroduced magick, both light and dark, to the world. The virus known as “the Doom” wiped out over 80% of the population in just months and caused at least half of the remaining population to manifest various magickal properties, either faerie, elfin, witch, shifter, etc. Most could handle this change and became aligned with light or white magick but many couldn’t handle the change and lost their grip with reality or became overwhelmed with their powers and became aligned with dark magick. Many unaffected by the virus became aligned with a group known as the “Purity Warriors” that blamed the “magickal” folk for the “Doom” and wanted to kill or enslave them all. 

Max Fallon, an acclaimed author, and Lana Bingham, a chef, were both witches before the apocalypse with mild powers. Afterwards, their powers blossomed and they both became much stronger and along with numerous others, they survived and made it safely to begin a new life in New Haven. Max died protecting Lana and their unborn child in an epic battle against his brother and dark magick and Lana safely escaped from those seeking to do her unborn child harm. In the second book, Of Blood and Bone, 13 years have passed and Lana has made a new life for herself with a new husband and more children. Her eldest child and only daughter, Fallon aka “the Chosen One,” is preparing to go off with a magickal warrior to be taught what she needs to prepare for the ultimate battle between good and evil. Fast forward a few years and Fallon has returned to her family and is ready to not only do battle but take back Washington D.C. and New York from dark magicians and the “purity warriors” but also retrieve magickal beings that have been incarcerated, experimented upon, and taken as slaves. Fallon, her family, and those at New Haven are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best in book three, The Rise of Magicks.

The Rise of Magicks was a fast-paced read and much like both the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, a story of young people, with the help of their elders, fighting to overcome evil and overthrow a corrupt regime. This series is definitely post-apocalyptic and dystopian in nature and the second and third books have all the hallmarks of being YA or NA in nature, with the The Rise of Magicks adding some romance to the equation. I’ve read and enjoyed almost every Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb book out there, but I’m somewhat torn about this series. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, Year One which set everything up and heavy on the surviving the apocalypse. The second book, Of Blood and Bone was a bit heavier on the magick and describing the post-apocalyptic world but still enjoyable. The Rise of Magicks had to have the epic battle of good versus evil but there was just something about it that felt a bit off for this reader. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy reading it and liked the conclusion well enough but it felt a bit contrived or forced. I felt I knew what was going to happen well before I read about it and therefore wasn’t very surprised with too much of the action. Was it a good read? Yes, it was still a good read and it nicely tied up the loose ends from the previous books. I enjoyed getting to read about the characters we were introduced to in the previous books, especially Arlys, Fred, Rachel, Jonah, Katie, etc. Perhaps I expected a little too much from this final book, although I enjoyed reading it I was just expecting to be blown away by the conclusion and I wasn’t. That didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment, but it didn’t rank as high as I had hoped. If you’ve read the first two books in this series, then I recommend you read The Rise of Magicks so you’ll know how things end. If you’re a Nora Roberts fan and enjoy reading her paranormal writings, then you’ll definitely want to add this trilogy to your TBR list. I’m happy I read all three books. Who knows, I may reread this trilogy in a few months and be pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy all three books. 


Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 254: FLIGHT OF SHADOWS Review

Caitlyn Brown is not a typical young woman. She thought that she was deformed but has learned that she has been genetically modified. This modification allows her to extend and retract wings. Although she has made it “outside” she knows that she won’t be safe as long as the government is still hunting her. Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer continues Caitlyn’s quest for truth and help.

Flight of Shadows begins with Caitlyn working the night shift at a hotel in what was formerly known as Washington, D.C. This is now a walled city-state and only the “Industrials” (workers with minimal human and society rights usually sporting facial barcodes) and the “Influentials” (extremely wealthy) are found inside. What should have been a routine room cleaning becomes an attempt at subjugation and possible rape and results in proof of Caitlyn’s physical modification.

Unfortunately Caitlyn is on her own in the city and she is still being hunted by Casper Pierce (a National Intelligence or NI agent) and Mason Lee (a bounty hunter from Appalachia). Caitlyn knows that they don’t necessarily want her alive, they just want to harvest her eggs and possibly some blood. Her genetic modification is much more than just having wings, but only a few people are aware of how different she is compared to other “experiments.”

Theo and Billy are outside the city walls, working in a smelting factory and living in a soovie park. Apparently since cars are only owned and used by the “influentials,” the “illegals” (workers or refugees without rights) are residing in cannibalized SUVs, vans and minivans in soovie park ghettos. There’s no electricity in most “soovies” and running water is hard to find.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the sick are always at the mercy of “death doctors” that euthanize the ill and dying while hoards surround the occupied soovie to scavenge the dead’s property.

Although Caitlyn suffers greatly, she is fortunate to come across people always willing to help her. In Broken Angel she had Billy and Theo, and now she has Razer, a wealthy street-smart kid that helps her hide and escape detection by the NI. Flight of Shadows reveals more about Billy and Theo and spends a little more time discussing their trials while waiting to reconnect with Caitlyn. Mason Lee is still a bad guy on the hunt for Caitlyn, Billy and Theo. He also hopes to get revenge against Pierce for breaking his arm, forcing him to run and the suffering he incurred as a result of his run from Appalachia. 

The caste-like society is more prevalent in Flight of Shadows, and the disparity between the have and have-nots is highly visible. Although the city-states don’t govern as tightly as the religious leadership in Appalachia, the rules regarding the various castes are just as rigid and unjust. And like most societies, past and present, those with money are allowed to abuse the system at will. This dystopian future is shocking and abhorrent but regrettably one is able to see the seeds of this future being sown by present actions. Caitlyn does escape in the end and is joyfully united with her father, Billy and Theo. The program that created her is destroyed but will its destruction be permanent or is the government just biding its time before they begin again? Although Flight of Shadows is filled with abject poverty and grave injustices, it ends with hope and a sense of purpose. 

Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 253: BROKEN ANGEL Review

Imagine a world in the not too distant future, with a truly dystopian big-brother-is-watching type of society. Add in a caste-like system in the new city-states in the United States, and a government sponsored, human genetic manipulation program. Now imagine that there is a sovereign theocratic “country” bordered by these city-states and you get just a hint of the setting for Broken Angel by Sigmund Brouwer.

Broken Angel is the first in the Caitlyn Brown series and focuses on the life of a young girl. Caitlyn knows that she is different and honestly believes this difference is due to her physical deformities. Her father, Jordan, has kept her relatively isolated but knows that she must venture “outside” Appalachia to receive the medical assistance she requires. The only things that can potentially stop their escape to “the outside” are the bounty hunters on their trail. Jordan forces Caitlyn to run by herself, hoping that she’ll stick to the map he’s provided and his instructions. He hopes to lay a false trail giving her time to get as far away as possible.

After Jordan is captured, Sheriff Mitch Carney acknowledges that all is not as it should be in his small town. People are required to carry vidpods (presumably similar to iPods) at all times to receive special notices and bulletins from their leader, Bar Elohim. Each town in Appalachia is limited in size to three thousand people, because smaller towns are easier to control. Cars are few and far between due to government fuel rationing. In addition, cars are equipped with monitoring devices so that the religious leadership can determine where a vehicle has been and/or monitor all conversations. There are no phones, no televisions and no contact with the outside. There is a death penalty for reading, owning books or teaching others to read. Horses and some people are chipped so that the leadership knows where they are or can track their movements.

Casper Pierce is a government agent from the outside sent into Appalachia to capture Caitlyn. He is assisted by a local bounty hunter and thug, Mason Lee. Pierce and Lee don’t get along at all and the situation is exasperated when Pierce intentionally injures Lee to make a point.

Deputy Billy Jasper has always done as told and the leadership told him to begin working as a deputy. He doesn’t know why exactly but goes with the flow. Unfortunately Billy gets caught between Caitlyn and some bounty hunters and reluctantly joins her in her quest to reach the “outside.” Theo is another runaway, a visually impaired, that is running from the harsh treatment received as part of his sentence to work in the factory. Billy, Theo and Caitlyn make for an unlikely trio but it works. Their fight to survive and elude the bounty hunters forges a strong bond of friendship and trust.

The idea of genetic modification is hinted at throughout the story, but I felt that the primary focus was on providing the groundwork for the next installment in this series. Broken Angel is a well-crafted dystopian read that openly discusses the problems with religion as a force majeure. The characters are all well developed. It’s difficult to discern the good guys from the bad guys for a while but it is important to take each person at face value because circumstances change rapidly and someone that might start off in a bad light becomes heroic. There’s a lot going on in this story and the subplots often overlap, but this never causes any confusion. Broken Angel starts a little slow but quickly picked up and kept me engaged until the end. Thankfully I was able to immediately begin reading the next installment in this series, Shadow of Flight.