📚 Year One by Nora Roberts

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Chronicles of The One, Book 1

Description⎮Reviewed May 2018

Narrator: Julia Whelan
Length: 12 hours 20 minutes
Publisher: Brilliance Audio⎮2017

Synopsis: A stunning new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author – an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives…

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed – and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river – or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.


3.75★ AudiobookYear One was a strange one, for me. Nora Roberts is one of the biggest names in fiction and I was excited to finally experience her writing. But her library of work is so large that I didn’t know where to begin. Year One is her most recent release and after reading the synopsis, I thought it sounded perfect for me.

But before even pressing play on this audiobook, I made two mistakes that greatly impacted my listening experience. The first was setting my expectations too high. Whenever I first read a “household name” author, I always end up being disappointed because I just cannot contain my expectations. They run away from me. It happens every time and Year One was no exception. Oh, the writing was beautiful, to be sure. Roberts certainly has a way with words. But the story itself was just a little too much for me.

My second mistake was not understanding what I was getting into regarding Year One‘s genre. The synopsis gives off a strong Dystopian vibe and it’s possible that, after picking up on that vibe (and digging it), I didn’t fully comprehend what else was being said. In other words, the Fantasy (magical) theme completely blindsided me. Don’t get me wrong, I like Fantasy just fine. I just didn’t know how to deal with this odd (to me) combination of Science Fiction/Fantasy.

That’s partially on me for not realizing what I was getting into, but I also think a lot of it was on the storytelling. Even after I figured out what was going on (“Oh, okay. Apocalypse + Witches= Year One. Cool.”), I still couldn’t get into it. There were too many seemingly random themes sewn together with the thinnest of thread. There are only so many times I can say something like “A magical baby savior?! Okay, cool.” What I’m saying is that Year One pushed me to the limits of my ability for suspension of disbelief. At a certain point, I actually thought “What’s next, zombies?!”. And honestly, I wouldn’t have been completely surprised if zombies had shown up out of nowhere, but maybe Roberts is saving that for the next book…

With that said, I did have an easier time adjusting to what was thrown at me once I stop listening for a while, processed what I had heard, and came back to the audiobook. I made it through 11 of the 12 hours before tabling the audiobook for a few months. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I didn’t want to finish the story (and review it) in that frustrated state of mind. As it turned out, I enjoyed the last hour more than I thought I would. Because of that, I won’t 100% rule out the possibility of continuing the series. At least now I know what I’m in for.

Narration review: Julia Whelan was the best thing about this audiobook. I feel like I’ve said that exact sentence before, but what else can I say about her that I haven’t already said? The woman is unreal. She’s easily one of my favorite narrators and I’ve heard her carry so many audiobooks, just on sheer talent alone. If you love audiobooks, but have yet to hear Whelan perform, you need to reevaluate your priorities. Thank me later. ♣︎

$ Available at Audible/Amazon, Scribd, and Audiobooks.com

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