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Book Review, Nora Roberts, Stars of Fortune (The Guardians Trilogy #1)

November 13, 2015

I admit to being a sucker for a good Nora Roberts trilogy, even though I was less than enamored with her last two (Cousins O’Dwyer and Inn Boonsboro). I’ve been worried that Roberts is off her game, particularly as her books are starting to read like pastiches of her past writings. I haven’t been able to get through one of her hardcovers since Blue Smoke, but the J.D. Robb novels are still working for me.

It was with some trepidation that I picked up the first book in her new Guardians Trilogy (published on November 3, 2015), particularly as it appeared to be yet another trilogy involving magic and characters searching for long-lost mystical items (Smart Bitches Trashy Books labels these “ParaNoras”). I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see that there are some new elements here—for one thing, the book is set in Corfu, rather than Ireland or the rural U.S.

As for the plot, there be spoilers below, so beware…

The basic plotline follows six individuals who have been chosen to find and return the three Stars of Fortune to the “Island of Glass” before Nerezza, an evil sorceress, takes their powers and destroys the world. The first book, Stars of Fortune, follows artist Sasha Riggs, who is a seer, to Corfu, where she meets Bran Killian, the hero and a magician, and the other four who are searching for the Fire Star. Without getting too specific, the book describes the search for the Fire Star and the group’s early confrontations with the villain. There is a lot of exposition here, which Roberts handles well, given that she has to introduce six characters and their mission. The downside of this is that the romance between Sasha and Bran felt rushed (Roberts attempts to compensate by having Sasha “see” Bran in her dreams months before she travels to Corfu).

I enjoyed the fact that the characters weren’t the usual bunch of Roberts heroes and heroines—no one, for example, is spending their time obsessively running a business (although I did groan when Sasha drew up an illustrated training schedule late in the book and Bran’s medicine making was described in meticulous detail). The cover design here is far better than in the Cousins O’Dwyer books (which had odd Photoshopped animals), although someone at the publisher needs to do some better editing, as I found several typos. There was also the usual variation on the line “take what I give,” which, as I’ve mentioned in another review, tends to show up in Roberts’ love scenes: this novel’s version was: “This time you’ll take, and taking, you’ll give.” (p. 174)

If you are familiar with Roberts’ books, you already know that she often throws in geeky references to various sci-fi shows into her novels. There are an awful lot of them in this one, and it got to the point where I was assigning characters to their counterparts: Bran as a combination of Harry Potter, Severus Snape, and Roarke from the In Death novels, Riley as Lara Croft, Annika as Luna Lovegood/Wonder Woman, and Doyle as The Highlander. Sawyer also had a compass that acted like a combination Time-Turner/Portkey, and the human villain (barely mentioned until the end of the novel), came off like Lucius Malfoy.

In the end, this felt like an improvement over the previous two trilogies, and I’ll be very interested to see what Roberts does with the rest of the series.

Source: Copy from my public library.

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