Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Nora Roberts - The Becoming

The world of magick and the world of man have long been estranged from one another. But some can walk between the two--including Breen Siobhan Kelly. She has just returned to Talamh, with her friend, Marco, who's dazzled and disoriented by this realm--a place filled with dragons and faeries and mermaids (but no WiFi, to his chagrin). In Talamh, Breen is not the ordinary young schoolteacher he knew her as. Here she is learning to embrace the powers of her true identity. Marco is welcomed kindly by her people--and by Keegan, leader of the Fey. Keegan has trained Breen as a warrior, and his yearning for her has grown along with his admiration of her strength and skills.
But one member of Breen's bloodline is not there to embrace her. Her grandfather, the outcast god Odran, plots to destroy Talamh--and now all must unite to defeat his dark forces. There will be losses and sorrows, betrayal and bloodshed. But through it, Breen Siobhan Kelly will take the next step on the journey to becoming all that she was born to be.

Comment: This is the second installment in the Dragon Heart Legacy trilogy by Nora Roberts. This being the second book, it is often considered a transition story, carrying on what was presented in the first to the conclusion in the third, but I think the pace and the events were done well enough, for a plot which was, actually, rather unnecessary...

In this story Breen is now determined to learn as much as possible to help Tamlah defeat her grandfather. When the first book ends, she and her friend Marco were taken to Tamlah by magic, and she is worried about him, since he wasn't aware of her magical self, but it turns out she didn't need to worry, for Marco is understanding and marveled by what he sees. However, she and Keegan need to go to the capital, so that everyone can see Breen and trust her, at least by her presence for a while, and Marco goes as well. While this proves to be the best thing ever for him, because he meets someone he didn't expect he would care about as much, there is someone in the capital who isn't happy, at all, by having Breen around, and will try tactics to discredit her, which will have terrible consequences...

I was both surprised, and not, by this book. Having read so many books by the author and almost all of her series, mrs Roberts definitely has a formula, has a way to develop her stories. Usually, the second installment in her trilogies is focused on transitioning the plots and not much truly definitive happens, but this time I feel surprised because not only something definitive happens here, but since the trilogy isn't divided into three couples per book as her trademark, she does include a sort of novelty romance (for her usual, I mean).

In the previous book, Breen Kelly discovers her father is from Tamlah, another world/dimension that exists alongside ours and she travels there to find more about him. She is, then, told about the dangers Tamlah faces and discovers her magical abilities and decides she will want to help defeat Tamlah's enemy. In this second installment, I thought we would see more of the same, but I will confess Breen's powers and learning "the craft" aren't elements I'm dazzled about, so I expected to have a more boring book, but it turns out that the author decided to add some interesting elements that aren't as common for her work.

First, one interesting element was the romantic conflict. Breen and Keegan are clearly meant to be a couple and things between them are taking a very slow burn type of development, but I should say that their relationship isn't that amazing, "fated" romance the author has written so well in the past. Things between them are very understated and I don't feel full on board with them, but it is what will happen. The interesting part in this book is that we knew Keegan had had a relationship with a Tamlah woman and she is described as being envious and spoiled and all the kind of antagonist traits in relation to Breen. We are clearly meant to consider her the "bad girl".

Well, this character clearly goes from simply spoiled and manipulative into villain territory and the evolution is quick and a lot more severe than the author usually portrays in her stories. I still think this transition was too obvious, too radical, but it fit its intention. Her actions cause a certain situation and even affected the lives of others, which is interesting because it's not the author's usual style in trilogies. Perhaps she now prefers to have only one couple/main character being developed, and that includes anyone or anything related to them within the plot.

Second, another novelty element (unless it happened in more recent books I haven't read yet) was the inclusion of a secondary m/m romance, with Marco having his own POV here and there, although not with details. He meets Brian, a Tamlah fighter and they seem to get along. Well, again, perhaps this happens a bit too quickly and in a slightly cheesy way, but if I remember correctly in past books m/m relationships were more often alluded to, or they were mentioned as being established already, and those characters had no real development, so I can say I felt positively surprised here.

I liked reading the book anyway, despite the things I'd change, because this author's work is one of those comfort reads readers like to talk about. Even the things I liked less or that I wish were different were palatable, especially when comparing with other books in the genre. I still think a vast majority of the series development is predictable, and that can be both good and bad, but in general these are still stories I feel interested in reading. I'm hoping more good surprises might come from the last book.
Grade: 7/10


  1. Roberts definitely has a formula and it kind of shocks me because sometimes it will really work for me, Born In Trilogy, and other times I'm not a fan, Bride Quartet.
    There's so many books out there by her and I feel like I still can't decide if she's for me or not, I just keep reading lol

    1. :)
      I liked more books she wrote in her late 80s and 90s, and early 2000s best. I think the stories were somehow focused on the characters and their relationships in such a way that made me want to see what would happen next eagerly... nowadays, her writing is polished and amazing, but sometimes the transition from one situation to the next is too predictable or too smooth, it's not as exciting as in older books by her... at least it feels like this to me.