Okay the rhythm of this title sucks, but I couldn’t resist haha. For those of you who have read most of my reviews it’s probably obvious that I’m a little bit addicted to Nora Roberts’ books. I especially love her paranormal stories! So, when I saw that her Guardians trilogy was translated to Dutch I knew I had to read these books. After reading them I can’t say I fell in love quite the way I normally do, but I did enjoy the stories. I will be sharing reviews of all three books in the coming days and will try to explain why this trilogy fell a little bit short for me. If you hate spoilers then only read the first review and skip the other two ;). I’ll start with a description and a review of the first book, then tomorrow I will give a description and review of book two and the day after that I’ll proceed with a description and review of book three. The title of the first book is Stars of Fortune (Een ster van vuur in Dutch).
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…
So, let me start by telling you what I liked about this book and then I will tell you what I liked less.
Sasha was a really nice main character. Thanks to her ability to foresee the future and her prophetic dreams she has always been an outcast and never had a real relationship. She lives as a recluse and earns a living with her paintings, some of which are the result of her prophetic dreams. When she keeps dreaming about and painting the same five people and the same island she decides to find out if this place exists. After some searching she discovers that she has painted the Greek island Corfu, and she decides to travel there to find out why she keeps dreaming about this island and these strangers. Because of her reclusive life Sasha is shy, innocent and sweet. She’s not good with people and making friends is really hard. But when she sees one of the women she has painted again and again she decides to just talk to her.
Riley, the woman, is a tough-ass archaeologist searching for three ancient artifacts known as the Stars of Fortune. And her research has led her to Corfu. She’s enjoying a well-deserved cocktail when suddenly a woman walks up to her and tells her she’s been dreaming of Riley. When the woman shows her detailed drawings and sketches of not just Riley herself, but also of four other people Riley starts to believe what the woman is saying. While Sasha and Riley are getting to know one another a man comes strolling by. A man who looks exactly like someone on Sasha’s drawings.
Bran is an Irish man with a special talent for magic. He’s outgoing, mysterious and chivalrous. When two women ask him to come sit with them and when the gorgeous blonde one starts explaining she has seen him in her dreams he’s intrigued. When the other woman reveals she’s searching for the Stars of Fortune Bran knows this chance encounter could be fated, for he is also searching for the Stars. His suspicions about fate seem to be confirmed when it turns out all three of them are staying at the same hotel and on the same floor.
Sasha, Riley and Bran decide to team up in their search for the Stars and the other people from the drawings. They decide to move from the hotel to a villa of an acquaintance of Riley’s so they have a bit more privacy for their research. It doesn’t take long before the next two people from Sasha’s drawings find their way to them. They find the adventurous and friendly Sawyer trying to hitch a ride on the road they take to the villa, and they meet kind, strange and beautiful Annika on the beach near their villa. Together the five of them find out that they are the chosen guardians to destroy an ancient, evil goddess Nerezza and return the Stars of Fortune to the Island of Glass. A dangerous and magical quest that will test their strengths and that will put them in mortal danger.
It doesn’t take long before Nerezza shows her face and decides to test the strength of these so called warriors. In this first fight the last member of their group, the strong, stern and reserved warrior Doyle, joins them. Finally their team is complete and the real search for the Stars can begin. On Corfu they will have to find the Star of Fire, first of the three stars. It’s up to Sasha to brings this first stage of their quest to a happy ending.
I really liked the romance between Sasha and Bran. It developed in a realistic tempo and they were really sweet together. I loved how Bran made Sasha discover the strong woman she always was on the inside and how he helped her to come to terms with her special gift. Bran is a real sweetheart and has a big heart. Yet at the same time he’s a really strong magician who has an immense amount of power, but he never uses this power to hurt people or to take the easy way out in life.
I also liked the fact that the story revolves around a fellowship and a quest (huge fan of LotR here!!!). The paranormal elements all had a good basis and history within the book and were realistic. The fact that Riley was an archaeologist and did historical research to discover hints about the Stars and their whereabouts was also really cool.
What I liked less was the fact that every paranormal trilogy by Nora Roberts seems to have the same plot which starts to become really obvious when you read a lot of her books. She always has one über villain without any redeeming qualities, the pure incarnation of evil. Most of the time this is a god or goddess or some type of sorcerer. Then there are one or more people or supernatural ‘guardians’ who have tried to stop the evil but didn’t succeed entirely. These ‘guardians’ however do succeed in crippling the evil in some way which results in a long absence of the evil until the time is right for the evil to rise again and take revenge. After many, many years three or six special people are born who are fated to destroy the evil if they succeed in finding three magical objects before the evil does. While the chosen ones are busy fulfilling their quest they either fall in love with each other or meet and have to work with somebody (not a chosen one) who turns out to be perfect for them, their one true love. In the end the evil is always defeated and the good guys live happily ever after. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with this type of plot and Nora Roberts writes them really well. However, if an author keeps reusing the same plot over and over it gets a bit predictable and tiresome. I like some originality in the stories I read and on this criterium these books were lacking for me.
Another thing I didn’t like was the way how all the characters met each other. It was all a bit too easy and convenient. It would’ve been nice if the search for teammembers had been a bit harder and less coincidental. The fact that there were six main characters also made the book a bit unclear at times. Sometimes I didn’t know who was speaking and other times the author switched from one person to the next so abruptly that I had to read passages two or three times to understand what happened and through whose eyes I was seeing the scene. Normally Nora Roberts is really good at this, but in this series it was a bit of a mess.
If you like paranormal, romantic stories with a quest this book is the one for you! The love story is realistic and sweet, the main characters are well-developed and it’s packed with magic and adventure :).