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Saturday, October 28, 2006

**** Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts. Contemporary paranormal romance.

I don't know what it is, and heaven knows I've tried to figure it out, but I'm just not happy when Nora does paranormal. I read the reviews, hoping something will click, but either I'm the only one it affects this way, or nobody else can figure it out either. Or at least those who have, haven't written reviews explaining it. A lot of people put it down to just not liking paranormal. Click around here a little bit--you'll see nothing could be further from the truth.

Oh. Note to
PW: this isn't her first paranormal series. Not even close. There are the Donovans, the time travel duo, the 3 Sisters Island books, the Gallaghers, the Key trilogy, all those novellas in the Once Upon A... series, not to mention paranormal elements in the MacKades, Born in Shame, the Dream trilogy, the Night series (mmmm... Nemesis...), Carolina Moon, Midnight Bayou... and others I've forgotten to mention.

Anyway. Morrigan's Cross is the first book in a trilogy about a group of six who have to battle the ancient vampire Lilith and her demons, who are out to take over the world. "Morrigan" comes from the Celt goddess Morrigan, who appears to 12th-century sorceror Hoyt. He's angry and dismayed at his failure to save his twin brother Cian from being turned by Lilith, and she tasks him with putting together the group of 6 to defeat the vampires, first giving him the magical oomph to make the crosses that will protect his family, then whisking him away to the future, our present, New York.

There he meets his long-lost brother Cian and his right-hand man King, contemporary witch Glenna, Larkin & Moira from Gealle (another time, another place), and they begin training for the fight ahead.

There are some good scenes between the brothers, and Cian in particular is well-drawn. He's now over 900 years old, and it shows in his character. He'd said good-bye to his family centuries ago, and now here's his brother, his twin, offering love and asking for help.

There are also some amusing scenes as Hoyt comes to terms with the 21st century--in particular, the driving lessons.

But... It starts very slow. It starts back in the 12th century, and I found myself losing interest and skimming, waiting for the story to start. And Hoyt and Glenna as a couple seems more of a given than a romance. We're asked to just accept that because they've seen each other in dreams and they have similar magical powers, that they've fallen in love--we don't see it happen. Or I didn't.

And, as usual, the spells drove me nuts. Glenna's were the rhyming type where the rhythm doesn't always work. (see a previous TT--it drives me nuts) But Hoyt's were worse. They didn't rhyme, but they were long, and seemed like they ought to rhyme. I really, really wished that he'd just used single words or brief chants instead. The point was made, several times, that Hoyt's approach to magic was different from Glenna's, but the only difference in their spells were that hers rhymed and his didn't. Nails on the chalkboard, every time.

If you accept that Hoyt and Glenna are in love (and you pretty much have to, otherwise, you just spend the last half of the book complaining), their road to HEA was good--they had some serious complications to overcome: they're in the middle of saving the world, and Hoyt's fully expecting to be whisked back to the 12th century afterward.

Other than Cian (and King), the secondary characters were fairly bland and uninteresting, and to tell you the truth, if it were any other author besides Nora, I'd be reconsidering reading the rest of the trilogy. A latecomer to the book, demon hunter Blair, showed promise, but Moira seemed mousy and ineffectual, and Larkin, the shapechanger, seemed mostly talented at blending into walls (not literally--I'm apparently still thinking about Nemesis). It's been explained to me that secondary characters, even ones who are supposed to star in their own future books, have to take a back seat, but, well, I disagree. Not if it makes me not want to read the next book. It's also been explained that they perk up in the next book, Dance of the Gods. I certainly hope so.


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Can I ask you what you did like about the book, because you still marked it pretty high?
Mostly, it was the development of the story between Hoyt and Cian. That, for me, was worth read the book.

And for Nora's writing, which, once we get to the present-day, anyway, just sucks me in.

I guess I was expecting more from this, so I focused more on what disappointed me than on what I liked. :-/
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