Book Review: THE CHOICE by Nora Roberts

THE CHOICE by Nora Roberts cover featuring bluish-grey clouds in a circular formation centered above mountains and a winding river

The Choice, The Dragon Heart Legacy #3, by Nora Roberts
ISBN: 9781250272720 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781250272737 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250859327 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781250859310 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B09Q75MDWK (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B09NTKJXFR (Kindle edition)
Publication date: November 22, 2022
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Fiction | Fantasy | Romantic Fantasy

The conclusion of the epic trilogy from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Awakening and The Becoming.

Talamh is a land of green hills, high mountains, deep forests, and seas, where magicks thrive. But portals allow for passage in and out—and ultimately, each must choose their place, and choose between good and evil, war and peace, life and death…

Breen Siobhan Kelly grew up in the world of Man and was once unaware of her true nature. Now she is in Talamh, trying to heal after a terrible battle and heartbreaking losses. Her grandfather, the dark god Odran, has been defeated in his attempt to rule over Talamh, and over Breen—for now.

With the enemy cast out and the portal sealed, this is a time to rest and to prepare. Breen spreads her wings and realizes a power she’s never experienced before. It’s also a time for celebrations—of her first Christmas in both Talamh and Ireland, of solstice and weddings and births—and daring to find joy again in the wake of sorrow. She rededicates herself to writing her stories, and when his duties as taoiseach permit, she is together with Keegan, who has trained her as a warrior and whom she has grown to love.

It’s Keegan who’s at her side when the enemy’s witches, traitorous and power-mad, appear to her in her sleep, practicing black magick, sacrificing the innocent, and plotting a brutal destruction for Breen. And soon, united with him and with all of Talamh, she will seek out those in desperate need of rescue, and confront the darkness with every weapon she has: her sword, her magicks—and her courage…

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In the first book in this trilogy, The Awakening Breen “O’Ceallaigh” Kelly learns about her “true” heritage. She’s a child of the Fey, a demigod, and a child of Man. Her father, Eian, and paternal grandmother, Mairghread, both served as taoiseach or leader in the world of Talamh, the land of the Fey. Her grandmother resigned when she discovered the true nature of her partner and father to her son. Her son died fighting his father, Odran, and the evil he has wrought. Breen not only learns her heritage, but she uncovers her creative nature as a writer as well, writing one middle-grade book, and obtaining an agent and a publishing contract. As she grows her writing skills with her second middle-grade book and an adult fantasy book, she also grows her skills as a child of the Fey. Learning spells, how to heal, how to ride a horse, combat with a sword and later a bow and arrows, Breen is simply becoming more.

In the second book, The Becoming, Breen is accompanied back to Talamh by the current taoiseach, Keegan O’Broin, and her bestie, roommate, and “brother from another mother,” Marco Olsen. Both Breen and Marco become enmeshed in the battle of good versus evil in Talamh. Breen continues to grow her relationship with her grandmother, meets other family members, and learns more about herself and her paternal grandfather, Odran. As she adapts to living in two worlds, Breen also begins a relationship with Keegan and must deal with the black jealousy of Keegan’s former bed partner, Shana, who eventually turns to the dark and Odran.

As mentioned in my review of The Awakening, this series is somewhat reminiscent of several of Ms. Roberts’s other fantasy trilogies, namely The Cousins O’Dwyer and Chronicles of The One. All series where someone is “awakened,” discovering their previously dormant magical talents, and then must accept the duty that comes with their awakening, namely to fight against evil. For Breen, this means protecting Talamh and all worlds from the madness and despotic nature of Odran. The Choice presents Breen, Marco, Keegan, family and friends battling that ultimate evil and his minions. Of course, The Choice isn’t just about the fight against evil, it’s also about living life to its fullest no matter what. Marco has fallen in love with one of Breen’s Talamhish cousins and is planning a wedding. Breen has tried to make amends with her mother but has had to give up on that for now (what can I say, she’s an optimist). There are plenty of ups and downs in the battle against Odran and Breen’s Fey skill development. I forgot to mention, there are dragons folks! Dragons, trolls, elves, weres, faeries, merpeople, magicks, fights against evil, and romance, what’s not to love! I particularly enjoyed watching Breen’s development from a shy, anxious young woman to a strong, talented, and kick-a$$ woman. There’s a lot to unpack in each of these books, but Ms. Roberts provides fantastical storylines, wonderful characters, and amazing action, not to mention a great resolution. I found all three books to be fast-paced and engrossing reads. If you’ve read The Awakening and The Becoming, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of The Choice to read. I re-read the first two books before my initial reading of The Choice. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve already re-read this trilogy (and am looking forward to re-rereading it soon). ♦

Happy Reading, y’all!

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 248; THE RETURNED Review

The Returned by Jason Mott
ISBN:  9780778315339 (hardcover)
ISBN:  9781459236639 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00ATMP806 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: August 27, 2013 
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA


Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That’s what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave’s lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they’ve settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time… Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people’s loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it’s a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he’s their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.



Mr. Mott attempts to answer the age-old question “what if you could talk to the deceased one last time” in The Returned. However that one last time lasts quite a bit longer than anyone could ever imagine. 

Harold and Lucille Hargrave are currently in their seventies and live a peaceful (relatively) life in rural North Carolina. They’ve been married for more than fifty years and mourning the tragic death of their son for fifty years. Jacob was celebrating his eighth birthday when he died in a tragic drowning accident. He’s been buried and mourned for decades. His parents are moving on with their lives until they begin to hear of “the returned.” They wonder what their reaction would be if Jacob were to return. Their hypothetical question becomes reality when an agent for the International Bureau of the Returned knocks on their door accompanied by their son, Jacob — still the same age as when he died, eight. Soon others from their town are returned. As more and more people “return” the government isn’t quite sure what to do with them. Before long, the International Bureau of the Returned and the US Government commandeer the town of Arcadia and begin to turn it into a camp for the “returned.” Harold refuses to leave his son in the camp alone and he quickly becomes a prisoner of these new internment camps. Regrettably, there are those that aren’t happy with the “returned” and see them as demons or devils. These factions begin to picket for the rights of the living vs. the returned and their actions slowly take a violent turn. 

Mr. Mott presents a unique story and it’s presented in such a way that it is impossible to judge the living or returned negatively. People want to know where these returned came from? Why aren’t they returning to the place of their death (Jacob returned to China before being relocated back to the US)? And then there’s the big question, why have they returned? These questions are left to the reader to answer. The Returned isn’t a true science-fiction or paranormal story, but a fantastically told contemporary story that deals with a slightly science-fiction or paranormal element. The “returned” are alive. They eat, drink, sleep, and bleed. This story presents an interesting view on life, death and how far some are willing to go to be with and protect their loved ones. It also raises some intriguing questions about life after death. The “returned” literally and figuratively turn the world upside down for the living. 

I found The Returned to be an engrossing read that captivated my attention from the very first word to the last. I actually read The Returned and its three prequels (The First, The Sparrow, and The Choice) in one sitting (yes, they are that good!). I found the characters to be very realistic and all-too human with their quirks and idiosyncrasies (loved Harold and Lucille). Although the subject matter may seem to be a bit far-reaching, it made quite an impact on me. Consider I read these more than two months ago and I can still vividly recall the characters, settings and action. If you’re looking for a well-written story that presents something a little different then look no further. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Mott in the future.

FYI: The Returned has been optioned and is the inspiration for a new television series. The series “Resurrection” is scheduled to air beginning March 2014 on ABC here in the US.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. 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.”

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