The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Call me a wuss, but The Pagan Stone scared the living daylights out of me. NR's description of the Big Evil was so good that my vivid imagination didn't have any problem bringing it to life. I actually had to stop reading this book last night and find something "lighter" to do, because the Big Evil was the last thing I wanted to have on my mind when I turned off all the lights.
From the publisher:
Years ago, after their blood brother ritual, Gage, Fox and Caleb emerged from the woods, each with a piece of bloodstone. Now, it will become their weapon in the final fight against the demon they awakened. Winner take all...
Shared nightmares, visions of blood and fire, and random violence plague the longtime friends and Quinn, Layla and Cybil, the women bound to them by Fate. None of them can ignore the fact that, this year, the demon has grown stronger — feeding off the terror it creates. But now the three pieces of the bloodstone have been fused back together. If only they could figure out how to use it.
A gambling man like Gage has no trouble betting on his crew to find a way. And though he and Cybil share the gift of seeing the future, that’s all they have in common. Were they to take their flirtation to the next level, it would be on their own terms, not because Fate decreed it. But Gage knows that a woman like Cybil — with her brains and strength and devastating beauty — can only bring him luck. Whether it’s good or bad has yet to be determined — and could mean the difference between absolute destruction or an end to the nightmare for Hawkins Hollow.
So it's Gage and Cybil's turn in The Pagan Stone...
Gage has been my favorite character in the trilogy since the first book. He was the loner in the group, even though his friendship with Cal and Fox was strong and undeniable. He was the one with the tortured past and the harsh demeanor. He was impatient and sometimes rude, but I never felt that he was out of line. My feelings often mirrored his while I was reading the book, and he alone got my eyes misty 3 times. Yup, one could say I felt a very strong connection with him.
I liked Cybil too. Out of the three heroines in the trilogy, she's my favorite, but that isn't saying much because I didn't really like Quinn (Blood Brothers) and Layla (The Hollow). Cybil was good for Gage and, cliché, completed him and made him a better man. The reversal was also true, and that's why their romance worked for me.
As for the war against the Big Evil, it was thrilling and scary, just like it was supposed to be. I was almost bored to tears with all the talking in the previous book and, to be fair, there's also a lot of talking about the demon in this book, but I found it more interesting this time. Probably because everything the "gang" (Cal & Quinn, Fox & Layla, and Gage & Cybil) did seemed to be more urgent and to the point, as I knew the end was coming. There were a couple of things that triggered some eye-rolling on my part, but this is a PNR novel and you have to take a leap of faith sometimes.
Overall, this was a great ending to an uneven trilogy. Blood Brothers was really good and got me hooked on it, but The Hollow was just average and slightly disappointing. I was glad to see The Pagan Stone getting the trilogy back on track and ending it on a high note.
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