(Book one in The Circle Trilogy)
Cai said: Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Nora Roberts reigns as the Queen of Romance. Everyone knows that when they pick up a book by Nora Roberts they’re going to read a romance novel, one with a happy ending, one where the girl always gets the guy…oh really? Okay, Morrigan’s Cross does have a romance in it, but it is NOT your typical Nora Roberts romance. For one thing, you’re TOTALLY left hanging with this one – setting you up for the next book due out the end of September and then the final one out in October. There’s no question that more of the story will be revealed, that more battles will be fought with love either being triumphant or tragic…
Stephanie said: I was really surprised when I read Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts. It wasn’t at all what I expected but it certainly was what I wanted. I stayed up all night to finish this one. Looks like the Queen of Romance is going to take on the paranormal genre head-on in this trilogy. And so far, she has a TKO on her hands as far as I’m concerned. I was a bit confused about who was going to end up with whom at first. We know from the get-go and even the back of the book that there will be a circle of six who will band together to defeat Lilith, Vampire bitch from hell!
Cai: This first book introduces us to all of the main characters, as well it should. They’re complex and intriguing characters with merits and faults yet to be explored. First there are the twins, Hoyt and Cian. Born in 12th Century Ireland, they’re sorcerers, born and bred – only Hoyt receives more of that gift than his brother…of course, Cian receives his own dark gift – one he didn’t ask for. He becomes a victim to the evil Lilith, a vampire of the worst sort. None of this is a secret, it’s spelled out for you on the first few pages. Ah, you say, a “revenge” novel with Hoyt ready to avenge his brother’s ‘death,’…But then things get interesting…
Stephanie: Interesting isn’t the half of it. Enter a goddess. Not just any goddess but the Morrigan portrayed here in Her role as the Queen of the Fey and Lady with an attitude. Rather than just destroy the vampire (She has Her reasons), she sets Hoyt on the path by sending him into the future. But first she forges silver crosses that he places on his kin for protection. They are sworn to wear the crosses and pass them down through the ages. This will be important later.
Cai: Hoyt travels through “The Dance” (his own Stonehenge?) to the future where he meets, GASP…his brother, his brother’s best friend/protector, King and a meddlesome hereditary witch named Glenna (I had trouble not calling her Glenda at times -g). Add in Moira and her cousin, Larkin, and you’ve got the standard three couples so famous in a Nora Roberts novel… or do you? The sorcerer, the witch, the one that is lost, the warrior, the scholar, and the one of many forms – these are the six who will fight for all humankind. They’re drawn from all times, all places to face evil together.
Stephanie: I was so puzzled by the six who formed the circle. I admit to wasting time trying to figure out how Nora was going to get a trilogy out of this one! But all I had to do was keep reading! Each character is drawn so well. You really have a sense of who each character is. King was one of my favorites because he gave you insight into the slight small piece of humanity that Cian still held on to even though he might deny it.
Cai: The ‘love story’ in this book has some real conflicts beyond what you might expect. First of all, Hoyt is from 12th century Ireland…will he stay in the future with his brother or will he go home? Um…hello…Cian’s a VAMPIRE…how will the virtuous Hoyt resolve that little dilemma? As for Moira and Larkin – well, Larkin’s a little carefree, isn’t he? Who will settle him down? And Moira, well, she’s a scholar for sure. She’s more interested in books than fighting, but she’s a darn good shot with a bow! The fight scenes are a bit more intense than any previous Nora Roberts novel I’ve read. The mystical aspect of these books is more intense than her Three Sisters stories, the characters are more interesting, too.
Stephanie: The attraction between the witch and the sorcerer had no tension at all. I found that to be a bit odd because it felt as if we were being rushed into their relationship. Then I realized that it is the tension of the whole circle not coming together as it should that is the true power of this book. I became far more interested in the relationship between the two brothers who have one fabulous knock-down drag-out fight that is rich in the Irish tradition of beating the snot out of your loved one so you can be friends. It’s ok… the other characters don’t understand it either!
Cai: The six main characters are charged with fighting Lilith and her evil vampire horde to “save the world” – not just the world they’re in, but all worlds. Lilith doesn’t waste any time in testing them. They’re attacked, tricked, bloodied and get some of their own back. Hoyt and Glenna team up to make stronger magic together than either is capable of alone. Moira becomes the strategist, and Larkin just wants to fight!
Stephanie: I love the back and forth between Lilith’s army and the small circle of six. Larkin is a puzzle to me because he, of all the characters, is the one I don’t really get. I am looking forward to learning more about him in book two which I predict will be his story.
Cai: I got very curious about the “pairings” in the book. At first I thought Nora was going to change her formula and not do three love stories, but at the conclusion of this first book, I think everyone will know just who’s being paired with whom.
Stephanie: Me too, Cai! I even thought she was going to branch out into an alternative pairing, but it was not to be.
Cai: Cian (pronounced KEE-an, btw) is the character who draws me most. I’m not sure whether I like him or dislike him, but of all the characters, I do wonder about him the most. It’s obvious he’s seen and done much that he’s not proud of, and yet…there’s something about him that pulls you in.
Stephanie: And for me, it is Moira that gets me the most. I identify with her being a scholar and a bookworm, I suppose. But she gives as good as she gets and she understands and works with her own shortcomings in the fighting arena. I found her a spunky heroine I could like.
Cai: Larkin will have to mature quite a bit, I think, in order to become a true hero in my eyes. Moira, will also have to come out of her shell to appeal to me in a better way, though for some reason, I feel sure her story will be the last one in the trilogy.
Cai: All in all, I’d give this one a waving pom-pom cheer, but not a standing ovation…not yet, anyway.
Stephanie: I have my pom-poms right beside Cai doing a wave! I am sure this will end up being a standing ovation trilogy but I am going to wait and see first!