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REVIEW: Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts

Dear Ms. Roberts:

Morrigans CrossAs you can tell by my book pimping post, I was excited to read this book. It was exactly what was promised: A Nora Roberts take on the paranormal. The characters and the magic felt familiar. The vampire lore followed traditional paths. I hadn’t read a Roberts book, though, with as many action scenes. I appreciated the way in which they were written because I was able to follow them (which I can’t always do).

Hoyt Mac Cionaoith is beset with rage and grief when his twin brother is taken and turned by an old seductive vampire. He attempts to vanquish Lilith, the vampire, and during the fight is attacked by his newly turned brother. This is a heartbreaking scene. The goddess Morrigan comes to Hoyt and tells him that he has been chosen to be part of a group to battle Lilith and her minions as she attempts to control this world and all others. Morrigan tells him that he must join forces with five other individuals and form a circle that will defeat Lilith. Hoyt agrees in exchange for concessions which Morrigan grants.

I liked the way that the mythology developed through natural conversation amongst the characters rather than one character dumping all the information on another. I loved the relationship between Hoyt and Cian and felt that theirs was the more poignant character connection. It was a unique take on the Cain and Abel story and I appreciated the blending of biblical and pagan lore. I actually got a bit misty eyed over one scene toward the end involving Hoyt’s familly.

One character we quickly meet and fall for is King, a large wonderful black man and while I was reading I wanted one of the trilogy to feature him. I thought an interracial romance between two main characters from such a popular author would be tremendous. When I googled the third book to see who it was about, I was disappointed to see that it was not King. Maybe that can be an idea for the next paranormal trilogy.

The challenges I had with this book was that it is an ensemble cast and much time is devoted to the gathering of the six and fleshing out each character rather than focusing on the romance. Despite the small screen time for each character, you did a great job of creating individuals who were multidimensional. To some extent, though, the romance was almost incidental to the story which didn’t make me enjoy the story any less but seemed true nonetheless. I also thought that the ending was so open that if I did not know that these books were coming out one after the other, I might be cursing right now.

Two minor niggles. I wondered why contractions were used by Hoyt and a couple other characters because you made such an effort for the dialogue of that group to be more formal, more in keeping with time period from whence they came that the use of contractions seemed odd. The other niggle isn’t really a niggle but a personal problem I had with the schmaltzy ending. I got that it was bringing closure to the circle (the theme of the story and the series) but thought that parts were overdone. Maybe I am just not girl enough to appreciate those scenes but I liked the fight scenes so much more. This was a hard book to grade because the romance took second fiddle to the setup of the trilogy and I honestly enjoyed one character more than Hoyt and Glenna. Yet parts of the book made me a bit teary eyed (which is pretty hard to do) and I loved the storyline of the brothers. Balancing all of thoseI have to give it a B. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Best regards

Jane

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

9 Comments

  1. Tara Marie
    Aug 31, 2006 @ 07:31:01

    I liked this book, picked it up Tuesday afternoon and finished it yesterday. It was a great set up for the trilogy. I must have enjoyed it more than you as I never noticed the contraction thing, and I would have if I wasn’t completely into the story.

    As to your spoiler about King, I’d read the glossary before reading the book and knew he wasn’t one of the six, but I didn’t anticipate the twist the story took regarding him.

    I agree completely with your thoughts about the mythology development, Hoyt’s and Cian’s relationship and the interesting mix of biblical and pagan lore.

    This is a great review of a very good book. I’m looking forward to the next one.

  2. Keishon
    Aug 31, 2006 @ 07:55:52

    I haven’t really read Roberts in awhile and I found the beginning to be a garbled mess. Her voice/style of writing was very off-putting to me. I made it to chapter 2 before I decided to put it down for now. Does the writing get any better? Did anybody notice this or are you all use it to this? I can cite some examples for you. All I want to know is does the writing sort itself out and make some sense and when does it do that? It did have a compelling beginning but man, the writing style. Awful.

  3. Tara Marie
    Aug 31, 2006 @ 08:29:27

    Keishon, I completely agree with your thoughts about the start of this book, I found it somewhat convoluted until the characters reach Ireland. I found using the glossary in the back of the book helps, there’s a lot of story set up in the beginning. Keep going, it’s worth it.

  4. Jane
    Aug 31, 2006 @ 08:51:33

    Keishon, if you are talking about the chapters were Cian and Hoyt interact (Cian =ASS) and Glenna comes onto the scene, then yes, that is a less than stellar part of the book and for me, what kept it from getting a keeper grade. I know if I re-read, I won’t re-read those pages because it was a bit tedious. It was a tough balancing act between the setup for the trilogy and the romance. I wonder if it would have been better to tell all 6 stories concurrently (ala Martin) rather than brief introductions with an attempt to shoehorn in a romance.

  5. Keishon
    Aug 31, 2006 @ 11:21:45

    Tara had it right – THANK YOU. I will keep trying.

    Jane, thanks for the heads up as I haven’t reached that part of the story yet.

  6. May
    Aug 31, 2006 @ 13:08:58

    Now I’m really curious. I got my copy before you did, but because of the way I plan (yes, plan) my TBR pile, it’s currently at the bottom. Maybe if I read really fast I can get to it by the end of the weekend.

  7. Shannon
    Sep 11, 2006 @ 17:16:22

    I loved the book from beginning to end. The beginning was a bit of hard work and very intense but the whole book was amazing – I figure I’ve got until the end of the month to catch up on sleep before the next book is out. I think the third book will be fantastic – can you imagine the romance in that book as it will be down to Cian and Moira (the scholar) together with the battle.

    I always find I need a bit of a rest from reading after a Nora Roberts trilogy (especially the ones where she includes magic) and I think this will be no different.

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