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book review

Book Review: Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts

Stars of FortuneStars of Fortune, The Guardians trilogy, book 1
Nora Roberts
9780425280102, Pub. Date: November 2015

Publisher Description: To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the fire star. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

But Sasha and Bran are just two of the six. And they all must all work together as a team to find the fire star in a cradle of land beneath the sea. Over their every attempt at trust, unity, and love, a dark threat looms. And it seeks to corrupt everything that stands in its way of possessing the stars…

My review: Remember how I said I was going to try to be more honest, and even when I didn’t like a book, try to write about why? Well, you can imagine my great disappointment when I realized I wasn’t enjoying my Nora Roberts reading experience nearly as much as I’m used to.

In the first place, I think she needed a better editor, one who wouldn’t be afraid to say, “Yes, Nora, you’ve written a gajillion novels, but perhaps we can clean up this writing a bit here because no one knows what you mean, and also, this character’s constant judgement of self and passive attitude could maybe be toned down just a bit, hmm?” There were several times when the very Nora-esque way that she put something made it almost too oblique, and I felt like I was straining to understand what the meant, the imagery implied, etc. It was like she was so involved in the story in her head that she forgot the reader wasn’t in her head with her. There were times the dialogue that felt really forced, as in “let’s dump some information in here,” and there were certain words that were repeated several times – like the word “starter” for appetizer, and a few others I picked up on – that pulled me out of the story, frustrating both my reader and my editor sensibilities. It’s little nuances like that, that make the difference between a good editor and a careless editor, a rushed book and a strong finish.

Also, according to Goodreads this book is 350 pages, and yet I don’t feel like I know the characters that well. I have all the pertinent details, yes, but I don’t feel like she went in-depth on any of them. There were just as many characters in both the Three Sisters Island trilogy and in the Circle Trilogy (similar paranormal romance fantasy series she’s written), and yet I didn’t understand these characters half as well yet. I’m having trouble articulating what the difference was between those two previous trilogies and the start to this one, other than to say that overall it felt like a weaker offering. The heart wasn’t there yet, what made these people tick. Just their height and hair color, etc.

I can only imagine the pressure Ms. Roberts must be under to churn out books millions of people around the world love to read, but I would rather the writing and the editing have taken a little longer to deliver a stronger product than what this felt like, which was she wrote it, and then they put it to publish. I have hope the rest of the series will bring greater clarity of character, because at the end of the day, if I don’t care about the characters, I’m not going to want to read the book(s).

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Back on the road again, and where do I head? The library, of course!
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