Year One by Nora Roberts

It all begins with a family on vacation in Ireland. On their way back home to New York, the husband grows sick. By the next day, he's in the hospital, dying. The sickness spreads quickly-- worldwide. Governments collapse, mayhem reigns supreme. Only instead of a zombie apocalypse, people start seeing things out of fairy tales: people flying, unicorns in the street, monsters in the subways.

As with any tool, magic can be used for good or evil, and a war is brewing between the two while people try to survive in the ruins of the world. Lana and Max, two witches, leave NYC on a quest to find Max's brother and safety. Arlys and Fred, two journalists running from what's left of the government, leave the city to find a tech genius named Chuck. Rachel and Jonah flee the NYC hospital where they work, bringing along a new mother of three to find a safe haven down south. In a world where it's harder than ever to trust anyone, these characters head towards an unknown purpose that will shape the lives of survivors everywhere.

If you're looking for a dramatic, fast-paced fantasy series, this isn't it. With fairies, magic, and elves, it is certainly fantasy, but those elements trickle into the story slowly. The style of the writing is less "high fantasy" than it is "urban fantasy" or "magical realism." Fans of Nora Robert's realistic fiction will still find a lot to like here.

Year One is the first in the Chronicles of the One trilogy. The sequel, Of Blood and Bone, was released last year, and the conclusion, The Rise of Magicks, is scheduled for later this year. Now that the 'new world' is set up in the series, it will be interesting to see how the story manifests in the sequels.

Published by on April 16, 2019
Last Modified January 21, 2022