Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a Noraholic but I was a bit disappointed with the last NR books I read, the Key trilogy, so I didn't know what to expect from this book. As I've learned the hard way, high expectations can be deadly, so my wariness towards this new trilogy ended up working in its favor as I really enjoyed this first book in the series and I'm definitely going to read the next ones.
Caleb Hawkins, Fox O'Dell and Gage Turner shared the same birthday (July 7th, 1977) and had been best friends their whole lives. On their tenth birthday, they decided to celebrate the date at the Pagan Stone, a somewhat "mystical" place deep in the woods of Hawkins Hollow where an ancient battle of good vs evil had taken place more than three hundred years before. In a typical behavior of ten-year-old boys - well, typical for the PNR world -, they soon came up with the idea of becoming "blood brothers" at midnight, right on time with the moment the seventh day of the sevnth month was born. As we all know, seven is a cabalistic number so it's a sure bet no good deed came from that... When Cal, Fox and Gage joined their cut wrists and mixed their blood, the demon who had been trapped in the aforementioned battle was released and the three boys' lives were changed forever. From that moment on, all hell broke loose in the town of Hawkins Hollow around July 7th every 7 years. Animals attacked their beloved owners, people went crazy, killed each other then themselves, it was mayhem all over town. Now, almost twenty-one years after their blood pact, Cal, Fox and Gage were still trying, with no success so far, to find a way to vanquish the demon they had inadvertently released. Unfortunately, the demon's evil power had grown stronger over the years and, this time around, they had to put a definitive end to this war - or die trying.
Blood Brothers was Cal's book, but Fox and Gage played very strong secondary characters in the story. I loved seeing them interact with each other, and I think NR is a master at writing male-male friendship. I admit I enjoyed reading their scenes together better than I liked seeing Cal with Quinn, and there was my "problem" with this book. Quinn - I hated the name, I had to keep reminding myself it was the heroine's and not some guy's name - was okay but a bit too assertive. I've seen her type before and it's fair to say she was a typical NR heroine, which I usually have no problem with, but something was missing in her character and I didn't connect with her. As a result, the romance part of this book wasn't as exciting as I wanted it to be. Cal and Quinn made a nice couple, but their journey to their HEA was lukewarm and kind of boring. A little bit of angst and conflict in their relationship would have been more than welcome, IMHO.
What saved this book for me was the PNR/suspense part. It was very well done, and I got goosebumps every time the demon made an appearance. Maybe I'm easily scared, but I made sure my bedroom window was tightly shut and the curtains were firmly closed when I went to sleep after finishing this book, LOL. After all the build-up, the ending wasn't as frightening as I was expecting but that was fine considering this was only the 1st book in the series and the "final battle" had yet to happen.
All in all, this was a very good start to the Sign of Seven trilogy and I can't wait to read Fox's and Gage's books. I sense The Pagan Stone, Gage's book, is going to be the best in the series, since he's the most complex and tortured of the three heroes. We shall see...
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