When I found out about Nora Roberts’ Dark Witch, book one in the new The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy, I rushed to put it on hold at my library. I was sixth in line for the hold but I I’m used to having to wait so I’ve learned patience even when I’m practically jumping in place from eager anticipation. When the hold came in, it took me by surprise and I was so excited I made an extra trip to the library to pick it up rather than wait another day. It didn’t take long to finish it nor did I expect to take long.
If you’re not acquainted with Nora Roberts’ work, she’s a romance novelist. As most of us know, romances don’t take a lot of brain work to read and they’re mostly filled with fluff. I’m only familiar with Nora Roberts’ romances but some others I’ve read can’t really be compared to hers. While hers are filled with sex (some of her books more than others), she creates the romance as well and her writing is top-quality. Of course, this is only my opinion but I’m sure plenty of others agree with me considering how popular her work is.
That being said, I was rather disappointed with Dark Witch. It’s filled with magic (cool), romance (sigh), friendship (wonderful), and steamy sex scenes (sweeeeeet). It ended happily and everything was pretty straightforward. I knew it all would be so what’s my problem?
It was all too easy and too predictable. I know romances aren’t difficult or complex but this was just too much.
Our heroine, Iona, travels to Ireland and is fully accepted at the barest glance. No time is wasted before she has her dream job, her dream family, the closest friends imaginable, her dream horse, and the love of her life in her bed. She’s blissfully happy pretty much the moment her story begins. The first chapter is interesting back story and promises us much conflict and excitement…which the rest of the book doesn’t deliver. I very much enjoyed reading about everything going right in Iona’s life but it gets a little dull after a while.
It’s true, there were moments of conflict but they were whisked away rather quickly as if Roberts or Iona was pretending the darkness didn’t exist.
Then it was all so predictable. In the other trilogies of hers that I’ve read, not all of the characters are introduced within the first couple chapters and you’re given time to play matchmaker. But in Dark Witch your main characters are immediately thrown at you after that first prologue chapter and it’s remarkably easy to tell whom will be paired with whom. Iona even comments on it. So much for having a little fun spent wondering who might end up with each other.
I’d say I’m about to give a SPOILER but the ending is so incredibly predictable that I can’t really call it a spoiler. Still…
Iona’s love proposing to her at the end was so clear I didn’t even need a crystal ball. It was the exact same set-up that she used in the Three Sisters Island Trilogy and The Key Trilogy.
I bet I can even call the order of the books and more of the details that come out in them too. The second book will likely be centered on Connor who will finally get together with Maera or however you spell her name. They’ll have some slight conflict (probably focused around Connor being a flirt with any pretty available lady in town) but in the end – after they all face Cabhan once more and come out all right – he’ll propose to her and she’ll accept. By this point Iona might be married already to her guy like in Three Sisters or they’ll continue on as an item like in The Key Trilogy. The third book will be about the eldest cousin (Connor’s sister…whose name I’ve forgotten). There will be much more emotional conflict for her (just like with those other two trilogies) but she’ll come to realize the guy with the F name (my brain is full of holes right now) really is on their side. This realization will come at the last minute before they fight Cabhan. Without this knowledge, they can’t possibly win against Cabhan but because the six of them are fully united at last, the bad guy loses and peace and happiness reigns supreme. They too will decide to marry at the end of the book.
Where’s the originality? Where’s the creativity? Where’s the conflict? I know it’s romance but Roberts has written some awesome conflict in her past work. I love her work not for the sex scenes (which I do love) but for the creativity and originality, the actual romance that builds and the conflict that makes you hold your breath or strains your brain to think. This…this just fizzled.
*image from Amazon.com*