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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Key of Knowledge

***** Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts. Contemporary paranormal romance. Re-read.

This is the second book in the Key trilogy, following directly after Key of Light. Check that review for the trilogy premise.

This time, it's librarian Dana Steele's turn to find a key, and much to her dismay, author Jordan Hawke appears to be inextricably bound up in her quest.

Dana had grown up around the three best friends--her stepbrother Flynn, Jordan, and Brad, but in their teens, her friendship for Jordan turned into something else. Then Jordan's mother died, and shortly thereafter, Jordan left town for good, breaking her heart. Now he's back, they're spending a lot of time together because of the quest, and feelings are resurfacing she'd thought long dead.

I always love reunion stories, and this is no exception. It's even better than most, though, because we delve more deeply into the characters' emotions than usual, particularly their doubts and concerns. Dana worries that what she's feeling for Jordan is remembered emotion, or nostalgia, or simply due to the excitement of the quest. And she's still afraid she can't trust him with her heart.

Even more unusual for this kind of story is why Jordan left. It's not the stereotypical paternalistic leaving-for-her-own-good that you see so often. He left for reasons of his own, emotionally true reasons, that really had nothing to do with Dana. I'm not sure why, but that, more than anything else, is what made this story stand out for me, and pushed it to 5 stars.

As for the quest, now that the group has already found one key, the opposition is heating up, and the evil sorcerer Kane is acting more directly. As I mentioned with Key of Light, I didn't have a problem with the paranormal aspects of this trilogy. The whys and hows of the Daughters of Glass becoming trapped and the keys freeing them aren't all that well explained, but I didn't feel that they needed to be. The quest was just a metaphor for what each heroine needed to find in her own life, anyway.

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