by Nora Roberts
Book #1: Morrigan's Cross | Rating: 2.5 Stars
Book #2: Dance of the Gods | Rating: 2.0 Stars
Book #3: Valley of Silence | Rating: 2.5 Stars
Series Average Rating: 2.33 Stars
This series reminded me of the Cousin's O'Dwyer trilogy. I know that this one came first, but I read that one first, and the similarities in dialogue, narration, and even the awkward timing of the dialogue, as well as the overall awkwardness of the dialogue itself is much too similar to be ignored. To be honest, I kept getting the distinct feeling the characters weren't sure which time period or what genre of book they were in.
Honestly, this entire trilogy probably could have been cut down to one book, although I then suspect that we wouldn't get to showcase each couple as the front and center. But the romances weren't all that great, so I'm not sure if that's really an issue. The couple who had the best chemistry were Glenna and Hoyt in the first book, but even then it felt lacking. The couple with the worst chemistry happened to be Blair and Larkin--those two just didn't mesh at all and I couldn't figure out how Blair even fell for Larkin, because he annoyed the crap out of me.
To each their own, I guess.
The last book might have been the best one, but due to certain factors, it was still graded an average 2.5 Star 'Meh' Rating. There were too many things wrong with the way the book, the entire series, really, was set up and outlined.
Anyway you see it, I've read better Nora Roberts books.
Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family's embrace. Her name is Lilith. Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss. But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world—and those beyond it...
Hoyt is no match for the dark siren. But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance. At Morrigan's charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith. A circle of six: himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he's lost. And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit—and his heart—have become...
As I've stated above, there were a lot of things about this book that bugged me, least of all were the similarities to the Cousin O'Dwyer trilogy I read a couple years back, the first book of which had been read for Halloween Bingo 2016. While the premise seemed interesting and promising enough, I can't say that the execution of the entire ordeal was really that great.
I was a little overwhelmed that so much was thrown at us in this first book, including all the six players, their thoughts and histories and conflicts, as well as more to grow on. There was a lot of predictability to the actions, and also a lot of frustration with these characters. And, as I'd felt with the Cousin O'Dwyer trilogy, the dialogue just feels too unnatural, too poetic, to feel real--it's a bit jarring.
Nonetheless, I found myself enjoying this book and interested in following the rest of the trilogy to the end. It would be interesting to see what comes of Cian, as the one and only vampire in this army of vampire slayers.
On a side note, I was a bit ecstatic when Blair pops into the picture and her introductory was actually quite kick ass--so I find myself hopeful for the second book wherein Blair's kick-ass self will be expanded upon!
Blair Murphy has always worked alone. Destined to be a demon hunter in a world that doesn't believe in such things, she lives for the kill. But now, she finds herself the warrior in a circle of six, chosen by the goddess Morrigan to defeat the vampire Lilith and her minions.
Learning to trust the others has been hard, for Blair has never allowed herself such a luxury. But she finds herself drawn to Larkin, a man of many shapes. As a horse, he is proud and graceful; as a dragon, beautifully fierce; and as a ma ... well, Blair has seen her share of hunks, but none quite so ruggedly handsome and playfully charming as this nobleman from the past.
In two months' time, the circle of six will face Lilith and her army in Geall. To complete preparations and round up forces to fight, the circle travels through time to Larkin's world, where Blair must choose between battling her overwhelming attraction to him - or risking everything for a love that can never be..
All of my hopes for this series picking up with Blair's inclusion pretty much shattered with this second book. This isn't Blair's fault, however, as I still think she's pretty kick-ass, and I like that she comes to the circle as 'The Warrior.' Of course, she seems to have a little bit of Buffy in her, but there's nothing wrong with that.
What was wrong with this second book was that it truly contributed nothing new to the series. It was entirely a bridging book, created for the sake of having a second book, and for the sake of giving Blair and Larkin their romance. And if the romance had been any good, I probably would have been okay with it, even as the book was quite draggy.
But Larkin annoyed the ever-loving hell out of me, and I can't even really pinpoint why. He was always flirting and always trying too hard to be charming. Why that annoys me, I'm not entirely sure. While Blair is trying to organize a fight with the vampires, he's acting like a teenager who's playing some game, having fun with his training, seeing the sights of the modern world, and flirting with every female he comes in contact with.
The fact that the romance started developing before I could even pinpoint where the chemistry was coming from didn't help.
And finally, Larkin's shape-shifting abilities remain fully unexplained for 90% of the book, and everyone just kind of goes with it. Because, you know, sorcerors, witches, vampires... people from another world. Obviously no one ever questions why any of these people exist, which is not surprising. But I think I would have liked to have had Larkin's shape-shifting abilities brought to light more than the simple one paragraph flashback that was given to us at the end.
At least we got to see Blair's journey starting as an ordinary girl living in a demon hunting family, to becoming a full blown demon hunter. There was more depth to her background than Larkin's, though I'm not sure I like that her conflicts weren't really addressed.
Having traveled through the Dance of the Gods to the land of Geall, the circle finds themselves convincing then training the people of Geall to defeat Lilith’s vampire army. The Valley of Silence is a forbidding place for the battle of all battles, but the circle continues to prepare through magic and a few early stakeouts that test their strength individually and as a team.
Moira finds herself playing the roles of warrior and royal, as she follows the tradition of her people and prepares to take the crown before leading them into battle. And if that isn’t enough, she finds her thoughts turning to Cian more often than not.
So what’s a chaste and intelligent young woman to do when given less than a month with the man she loves, who’s not a man, but a vampire? And how will the people of Geall fare against an army of blood-thirsty vampires who have had centuries to prepare?
While the entire series isn't really much to write home about, I'd say that Valley of Silence was the best of all three books. Not that that's saying much, because it didn't receive more than a 2.5 Star Rating from me anyway. It was 'Meh', though certain aspects of this book probably should have yanked the book's rating down to 'It was less than Meh and didn't do anything for me.' There were things in this book I'm not sure were handled very well.
Secondly, I didn't really like Moira all that much. She wasn't irritating, nor was she a speshul snowflake. She was just there... and she was kind of flat and boring.
In contrast, I loved Cian's relationship with the other two women in this book, even as just friends. He regards Glenna with endearment; and he seems to have some sort of rapport with Blair. In contrast, I'd noted that neither of the other men in the series had much to do with the other women in this series who weren't their significant other. I would have expected Hoyt and Blair to at least have something to talk about, but they barely did. I figure it's because Blair and Cian are so much alike when it comes to their ultimate goal and mission, because they both understand the ruthlessness of their enemy and the fact that they also need to act towards the bigger picture of things.
I liked that Cian understood that both men and women were equally necessary in the war. Whereas Larkin and Hoyt spent more time playing the big, neanderthal of a macho man.
And I suspect that this has a lot more to do with which time period each of these people come from. Hoyt, Larkin, and Moira come from a land where honor is held much more highly than Cian, Blair, or Glenna would see it. The latter three come from a land where--not that it isn't held highly--but in the face of war and survival, sometimes honor needs to take a back seat, and emotions can mean either life or death in a millisecond.
Hoyt and Larkin come from a land and time where you protect women and children and babies and the elderly... which really doesn't leave a whole lot of population to fight a war, but whatevs. Meanwhile, the latter three, more modern characters come from a world where everything should be equal opportunity. Which also helps the former three time-bound characters understand that everyone needs to learn how to protect themselves and those around them, rather than just having the women rely on all the men to do the protecting.
I suppose that's why this circle sort of works--they balance each other out, I guess. They're all even paired as such romantically.
Anyway, the conflict in this book was a little deeper, if only because of Cian. He made this last book work for me. Meanwhile, the romance between him and Moira did not work for me, because, much like the previous book, I couldn't find that chemistry between them.
The ending was too abrupt for my liking, and while there were some emotional feels towards the end of the book, there still seemed to be a feeling of unsatisfied incompleteness. And I'm not sure if it's just because the series itself was a bit lacking.