Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Are We Allowed To Snark The Great Roberts?

Surely the rabid, zealot fangurl contingent will come after us with torches and pitchforks, no?

Seriously, though- just finished Morrigan's Cross by Romancelandia's dearly beloved queen, Nora Roberts. I won't to go into too much detail; it is brand new and I don't want to spoil it for everyone. But I have to admit to you now- and this sounds weird coming from someone who hopes to sell a few of these things we call books someday- I stood there in Barnes & Noble staring at the price on the back of the book and...I just couldn't do it. My brain is stuck in the eighties as far as paperback prices, and something in me rebels at paying $7.99 for one. Hardbacks are mostly still $25, just like they were back then. Why did paperbacks get so expensive? So I left B&N, bookless.

And went to WalMart and bought it for $5.99. Somehow two dollars just makes all the difference, you know?

On to the story. Basic premise: Hoyt McKenna (I won't even make a stab at the Irish spellings here) is a sorcerer in the Ireland of 1128. His brother Cian has a few magical talents but likes fighting and drinking and wenching better. This comes back to bite him-literally- when he shags the wrong woman and winds up becoming a vampire. Hoyt swears eternal revenge on her, hoping to also get his brother back somehow. He can't, since the vamp who bit Cian is Lillith, the beautiful, seductive, all-powerful queen of the vampires. Can I just take a moment to say I'm getting a bit tired of this character? Whether it's Morgan leFey in all her manifestations, or the vamp queen, I could describe her before any author has a chance. She's always drop dead gorgeous, incredibly alluring (even gay men and straight women want to nail her) magnificently talented at crumpet-making, cruel, sadistic, and all-powerful. And she'll have an army at her disposal. And uncommonly obsessed with the hero. Lillith did have one good bit near the end of the book: she tells an underling that she's hungry. "Bring me someone to eat. Make sure it's fresh." If I saw more evidence of snarky humor in these queens, I'd be much happier sitting through the traditional portrayal.

Hoyt is charged with a quest by the goddess Morrigan. He must travel through time, to the present, to go to war with Lillith and her army who want to wipe out mankind. (You have to ask why. I mean, if we all die, her food source is gone, right?) Anyway, Hoyt is one of the Circle of Six. He needs the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms, and the one he lost. So along the way he gains Glenna the Good Witch (Nora doesn't call her that but I sure did) and two people from an Irish fairy tale land. The scholar, Moira, is a princess whose mother has been killed by the vamps. Her cousin, Larkin, is a shapeshifter. The warrior is a spoiler I won't go into, but yes, Cian comes along to teach the others about his kind and joins in the fight to defeat them. I love how authors get around the whole vampire thing to make a hero of one of them- he hasn't fed on humans in 700 years and gets his blood from pouches in the refrigerator.

The story started kind of slow but picked up once the Six were together and training for the fight. It is mostly Hoyt and Glenna's story; the two magicians fall in love and find their powers are stronger when used together. I generally liked the characters; particularly the twist with the warrior. I didn't see it coming and I love it when authors throw me a curve. The story's pure Nora- Glenna the Good Witch is a tall gorgeous independent redhead who does her thing skyclad. And gad. More rhyming spells. When I read her witchy books I brace for it: "Fast as fast can be, you can never catch me. As I will, so mote it be." Arrrrgh. So imagine my delight when Glenna rhymes and Hoyt has the Hades reaction. (You know, from Disney's Hercules? The fates start rhyming and Hades rolls his eyes. "Unh. Verse. Oy.")

Morrigan's Cross (so named for the protective crosses she makes for Hoyt's family so he can go fight the good fight and not worry) ends with the Six solidified as a unit. The fight will go on in the next book, which I think we can safely assume will focus on the warrior and Larkin. I expect the last book will be about our poor tortured vamp Cian. If he doesn't get restored to humanhood somehow and get to live HEA with little scholar Moira I'm gonna be TICKED. It was a good read. Didn't blow me away; too many characters I'd seen before to do that. I imagine I'll buy the next two in the series, partly because I can't stand having only one part.

But I'll probably buy it at WalMart.


Blogger Bernita said...

I feel the same way about series.Must know.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

Ditto on the series.

But I will get it from the library. There are very few books that I actually will pay money for.

Cuz I'm all cheap like dat.

8:52 AM  
Blogger Toni Lea Andrews said...

You wrote:

"... magnificently talented at crumpet-making..."


I gotta tell ya, I just can't stand a b***h that makes good crumpets. I mean gorgeous and all-powerful is annoying enough, but being a gifted baker? That's just too much talent to bestow on one being.

Seriously, I fear the divine Ms. R has long ago entered the realm of "to profitable to be edited."

11:54 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

Hi, Toni! I forget sometimes that people don't know my euphemisms. "Tea and Crumpets" is a stand-in for really, really hot romping, if you catch my drift.

I agree. I don't think editors even look at her stuff. She could poop on paper and they'd publish it.

2:08 PM  
Anonymous nessili said...

Okay, you can call me what you wish, but I've never read a Nora Roberts. Nor am I likely to after getting in a wee bit of tiff with her (or at least someone who was posting as her, but every one else in the posts seemed to assume it was she) on some blog a while back. Can't remember which blog or when, but I decided then that I'd gotten well into maturity without reading her, and I'd probably survive the rest of my life in the same state of ignorance.

"crumpet-making" lol.

But what does that make me? I make crumpets in my kitchen fairly often. You know how hard it is to make soy milk/eggless crumpets turn out properly? And I've started to succeed. Does that make me a magnificently talented crumpet maker?

9:25 PM  
Blogger Missie said...

Um, Nessili? Even though we are enjoying getting to know you, we really really REALLY don't want to know any more details about your personal crumpet-making. That's a little too much information for the level of our friendship at this time. Especially if you are incorporating soy products.

Just sayin.


8:47 AM  
Anonymous nessili said...



That's one reason your phrase "Tea and crumpets" gets me so much.

Besides, it's just a fun words to begin with, especially if you rrrrollll the r.

And is it just me, or are the blogger word verifications getting longer?

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

NORA did an Irish medieval? Man, the copycat. (grin) I guess I'd better go check it out!

4:17 PM  
Blogger spy scribbler said...

I don't mind the rhyming so much; what kills me is when she thinks she's rhyming, but the rhythm is so screwed up that you can't say it with any sort of inflection that will make it sound like it's actually rhyming.

Rhyme, and make it rhyme, or: If you can't hear the rhythm, find a ghostwriter for the things, or write it without rhyme. Just don't pretend that it rhymes if the rhythm is all out of whack!

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont know if anyone has said this yet other than the poster becuase i've got to get to bed to get up early tomorrow..I bought the three books on saturday and I'm already half way through the third book...i feel the same about Cian and Moira I Mean If he doesn't beg for the gods to make him human i'm gonna be mad at Nora Roberts she's my favorite author and it would bug me to death if he didn't and as for buying books at walmart I wouldn't have bought it anywhere else in those huge chain stores like B&N it's totally over priced i mean i love her books but i am NOT paying 8 dollars for a paperback.

8:45 PM  

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