Year One is a wonderfully well written science fiction / fantasy novel that will suck you in and captivate you by it’s characters. As the new year rings in, a new apocalyptic world develops where a dark and mysterious disease with no cure insight known as “the doom” takes a human life each second throughout the world. As witches, fae, elves and shape shifters (of good and evil) emerge as the more dominant race as many humans are dropping off the face of the Earth, the only humans who do survive are somehow immune to “the doom”.
The main characters Lana and Max who are both witches living in NYC, realize they must finally leave the city they love so much if the are going to survive in this new world as it has now become overrun by “the doom”, mobs of angry rioters known as the “riders” and some sort of dark magical force. Max leads the way to Pennsylvania in hopes of reaching his young warlock brother Eric who is safe in a cabin in the woods. While at the cabin, Lena discovers she is pregnant with Max’s baby and once again these two (or now three) are in danger. Eric and his spunky girlfriend have turned and are consumed with dark magic determined to destroy “the one” within Lana. Through a heart breaking dual between two brother’s Max annihilates Eric in order to protect Lana and his baby. With a sadden heart, the Max, Lana and the unborn baby head towards the middle of the country and then South in hopes of finding a more stable environment to survive.
Secondary main characters such as Chuck who is a tech genius from Hoboken, NJ, Arlys the journalist from NYC who is with her overly optimistic female fae colleague Fred know they too must find a safer place to be. Rachel the successful Brooklyn doctor and Jonah the paramedic who has the ability to see death within people before it takes hold of them and Katie who’s the new mother of twins and an infant know they must survive and exit the city via boat to NYC and head West then South. Along the way, the lives of these characters intersect and ultimately, they all come together in hopes of having a new and stable life in a town they named New Hope. As more and more survivors roll into New Hope, life is looking better, as everyone has something to offer whether it be that they’re one of the “Un-canning” (non-human magical folk) or human. Unfortunately chaos breaks when Eric returns high in the sky with consumed with more evil power and kills Max instantly. Feeling the magic grown inside her daughter and knowing Eric will not cease until her and her daughter are dead, Lena, who is far along in her pregnancy flees New Hope embarking on a journey of her own to survive.
Dirty, weak and nearly starving Lana stumbles upon a small farm tucked away in the woods and is taken in by the kind and handsome ex-US Army Captain named Simon Swift. The two are skeptical of each other at first, but ultimately end up helping each other and become great companions. Simon helps to deliver Lana’s baby and from that moment of birth they’re a family. Fast forward to the beginning of a new year, a mysterious bearded man on horseback named Mallick arrives to pay tribute to “the one” (Fallon, Lana’s daughter). He informs Lana and Simon that “Her coming has been written, sung and foretold. One year ago today, the fabric ripped, the scales tipped when the blood of the damned defiled holy ground. So the purge followed, and magick strikes back, you have nothing to fear of me” (location 6102, via Kindle version). Malick informs them that when Fallon is thirteen, he will come back for her and take her for two years of training to become what she was born to become. Malick then gives baby Fallon a ball of crystals that only she will be able to use and a pink teddy bear and vanishes, leaving the reader Lena and Simon in thoughts of confusion. The story ends as what I consider a cliff hanger, because while story has finished, a new one has begun.
This new novel by Nora Roberts is the perfect story to devour if you are a True Blood and/or The Walking Dead fan. Set to be a series, this is book one, and while it is filled with despair, loss, fear and sorrow it is also extremely adventurous, captivating, exciting, hopeful and at times humorous. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am on heels of anticipation for the sequel. Happy reading! 5 stars – Loved it.