Monday 27 April 2009

Morrigan's Cross

It seems that Nora Roberts is a very popular writer. My eldest daughter loves her books and a couple of friends do as well. Not having read anything by her it's been hard to judge and perhaps I've been rather influenced by her reputation of being a formulaic, light, fluffy type of author. I'm easily put off when I think an author's work might not be my cup of tea, which is silly as it's not that difficult to grab a book from the library and test the waters. Which is exactly what I did and the book I grabbed was Morrigan's Cross, the first in Roberts's fantasy 'Circle' trilogy.

The story begins on a cliff-top in Ireland in the 11th century. Hoyt Mac Cionaoith, a young sorcerer, is battling with Lilith, the queen of the vampires. She has just turned his twin brother, Cian, into a vampire and he wants vengeance. Hoyt narrowly escapes with his life and is told by the goddess, Morrigan, that Lilith is planning to take over the world and it's up to him to stop her. He has to find five other people and form a circle of six warriors who will fight in the war to come. The snag is that these people will not be found in the here and now; he will have to travel one thousand years, through a time portal, to the 21st. century, in order to find them.

Using an ancient stone circle, Hoyt does just this and is transported straight to New York and the home of his brother who is now, of course, a one thousand year old vampire. Cian is not interested in helping him, claims he has no feelings for his brother at all in fact. Into their lives comes Glenna, a witch, who knows there is a war coming and that she will have an important role to play; between them, Glenna and Hoyt manage to persuade Cian to help them.

The next step is to move to Ireland, Hoyt, Glenna, Cian and his friend, 'King', to a property Cian has there, which turns out to be the twin's home from when they were children in the 11th. century. Here they must try to find the other two to complete the 'six' and then train themselves for the war that's to come. Not easy when the house is surrounded by vampires, watching their every move and constantly attacking. They have no choice in the matter though as the very future of the world is at stake.

Hmmm, well. I can see why people love her books - the fact that I didn't really love it is down to me I think, not the author. I say I didn't 'love' it and I didn't... but it was fine, I didn't dislike it intensely either. The plotline was interesting enough and the setting was okay though I didn't really get a strong impression of 'Ireland' from it. Trying to put my finger on why I'm a bit 'so so' about it is hard. I think it might come down to the fact that it was just a bit too 'girly' for me. And yet, I like some romance in my reading! It makes no sense. Perhaps this book was a romance with a fantasy element, rather than a fantasy yarn with a touch of romance? I honestly don't know. I do know that the romantic element didn't really make me 'feel' anything much. Because I didn't really care too much about Hoyt and Glenna I found it hard to feel all hearts and flowers about them as a couple. I'm guessing this is something lacking in me because Nora Roberts has many, many fans who clearly adore her work. Oh well.

Will I read more of her work? Probably. The story ends rather abruptly (so this is not a stand-alone) and I'm interested enough to want to know how it all ends. The library will provide me with the answer, but I'm in no hurry, I must admit. I guess I'm never going to be numbered among the legions of fans of Nora Roberts.

This is book 9 for my Support your local library challenge being hosted by J.Kaye. And as it's a fantasy novel will also count for Carl's Once Upon a Time III challenge... for which I've now read 5 books, but plan to continue on as there are other books in my pool that I want to read.


DesLily said...

it's funny.. although I did read a book with a vampire and werewolf in it (Gil's All Fright Diner).. and enjoyed it... when anyone mentions vampires or zombies.. I have no interest what so ever to read it. I love the old vampire movies, though I know todays books are nothing like those..i just have no interest to read them.

BooksPlease said...

I have not read any Nora Roberts, but I bought one last year in one of the motorway service stations - can't remember now what it's called. It was one of those Buy One Get One Free offers - something like that. It's just gone in the pile of tbr books, although I remember thinking it looked interesting, or I wouldn't have got it at all.

It's hard to get enthusiastic over a book when the characters don't interest me and I'm easily put off by that sort of reputation too, prejudiced I know, but still ...

As you noticed I'm joining the non-fiction challenge. I must have missed your post on that, but I've had a look now and your books look interesting. I must write my post soon.

Kailana said...

I think this is a trilogy, actually... I don't think Roberts writes standalone books... I haven't really read much of her as Roberts, but I have read some of her Eve Dallas series that she writes under the pen name J.D. Robb. They aren't stellar, but they are enjoyable!

Cath said...

Hi Pat! I think, like every other genre of book, that there are vampire books and vampire books. Some are excellent and some are pretty dire. But if it's not your thing then none will appeal. It's not like there aren't plenty of other books for you to read. :-)

Margaret: I felt it was time to try a Nora Roberts so that I could at least say I had read *one*. And it wasn't *that* bad... just not that good either. 'Average' really, and I have to admit I was hoping for better.

Look forward to your non-fiction post.

Kailana: You're right, this was the first book in the 'Circle' trilogy. I'll eventually try some of her thriller type books and the romances - maybe I'll like those a bit better.

Anonymous said...

There's nothing lacking in you... Nora Roberts may be popular, but the only thing that makes her stand out as a writer is the sheer number of books she manages to put out. I find her writing pretty formulaic and bland, myself.

Cath said...

Anon: it doesn't help that I followed the Nora Roberts with Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which is wonderfully written and packs such a punch that it's literally going from one extreme in books, to the other. I'm glad I'm not the only one finding NR bland. It's a shame because I actually really wanted to like her book.

Daphne said...

I've heard that these are good -- I might have to check them out although like you, I usually shy away from this sort of book. If I see it on the library shelf, I might grab it!

Cath said...

Miss D: A lot of people like these books so it's well worth checking them out to see if they're your kind of thing. I'd say the library was an ideal place to try one. There are several other fantasy series apart from The Circle... a 'garden' series where the titles all have flowers in them... The Three Sisters trilogy etc. You could try any of those.