The Rise of Magicks

The Rise of Magicks by Nora Roberts

When a publisher announces a one million-copy printing of the conclusion to the Chronicles of the One trilogy, it’s fair to expect an awesome sequel to Year One and Of Blood and Bone. Some reviewers found this book to be brilliant, compulsively readable, and fully satisfying. I found this book to be not as fast-paced or as satisfying as the earlier books, though still enjoyable to read. Fallon Swift, born in the first book and trained to lead in the second, now travels the country finding small groups of people who have survived and thrived after the Doom, gathering troops for her battle against evil villains. Twins Duncan and Tonia are foretold to help Fallon in the final battle, back in Scotland near a stone circle. Fallon finds time for romance, and gets advice from her mother Lana and Lana’s friends, who have larger roles in the first book. I enjoyed reading about life in post-apocalyptic communities more than the battle scenes. Definitely start with the first book, and read this one to find out what happens to everyone who made it through the Doom and settled in charming New Hope, Virginia.


Of Blood and Bone

Of Blood and Bone by Nora Roberts

This second novel in the postapocalyptic paranormal trilogy Chronicles of the One has a great sense of place and compelling characters. As this is not realistic fiction, there are a few things readers need to accept: fairies, shape shifters, a chosen one, and fuel lasting over a decade. After a pandemic almost wiped out civilization in Year One, Lana Swift learned that her baby will be The One. Fallon Swift, now 13, will spend two years training with mentor Mallick in magic, fighting skills, and leadership while completing three magical challenges. Along with Duncan and Tonia, twin teens from the appealing community of Good Hope, Fallon and her family begin the shift from survival to rebuilding. This fast-paced novel is a good readalike for the postapocalyptic Change series by S.M. Stirling, beginning with Dies the Fire, especially for its thoughtful take on how new communities grow after a disaster.


Ashfall, by Mike Mullin

Alex Halprin, 15, is alone for the weekend in Cedar Falls, Iowa, while his parents and sister are visiting his uncle’s farm in Illinois. Suddenly, his world changes when a huge rock falls through the roof. Taking refuge with his neighbors, Alex learns that Yellowstone’s supervolcano is erupting, 900 miles away, showering them with ash, and days of sonic booms and darkness. Alex finds skis and travels east to find his family, scrounging for food and water along the way. Darla Edmunds and her mother take him in when Alex collapses after a fight. Darla has rigged up a bicycle to grind corn, so their farm is self-sufficient.

Later Darla and Alex search for a way across the Mississippi River while conditions (ash, snow, and anarchy) worsen. There is plenty of violence, so this gritty post-apocalyptic read is not for everyone. Alex and Darla are convincingly flawed, and we root for them as they fall in love and struggle to survive. For more about the author and a sequel, Ashen Winter, visit his website. This would be a good readalike for Life As We Knew It, by Susan Beth Pfeffer. For more dystopian or post-apocalyptic books like Ashfall, check out Denise’s book display of readalikes for The Hunger Games. Another readalike is Shipbreaker, reviewed earlier.