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  • Year One

  • Chronicles of The One, Book 1
  • Written by: Nora Roberts
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 12 hrs and 20 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (808 ratings)

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Year One

Written by: Nora Roberts
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Publisher's Summary

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER (December 2017)

A stunning novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts - Year One is an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magick, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives...

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed - and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magick rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river - or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

©2017 Nora Roberts (P)2017 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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What listeners say about Year One

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Characters

I found it difficult to tell the male voices apart. All male characters had the same voice,

19 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

As always, Julia Whelan dazzles with her performance! she inhabits the male characters astonishingly! Wow!

10 people found this helpful

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It's okay...but JUST okay.

I love a good dystopian future / apocalypse novel. Sadly, this is not one.

The story has potential - a great premise. Unfortunately, it falls flat and my impression is that the author already has a dedicated audience who doesn't habitually demand very much in the way of well-crafted, complex, and emotionally-mature prose.

1. The characters are not believable, and, well, boring. They're all either totally good or totally bad. The reality of human complexity, the reason that we're an interesting species - is that we struggle with greed and selfishness, we don't always do, say, or think the right thing. There's virtually none of that internal conflict going on, with any of the characters.

2. We never get a glimpse into the world of the antagonists. What are their feelings, motives? The book would be so much better with hints of what is truly driving the conflict. Instead, it's just passive 'good characters' reacting to the aggressions of the 'bad' ones.

3. I don't think the foreshadowing of a certain character's death could possibly have been more heavy-handed. Hands up, who knew from the beginning? Everybody, right?

4. The magic is just...there. Again, it's boring. There is WAY more to be said about an entire chunk of the human race suddenly acquiring magical abilities. The struggle to come to terms with one's changed existence, the personal journeys of learning and growing that ability...why gloss over that? That should be the heart of the novel but instead the reader is expected to take it all for granted, with no exploration of its nature? LAME.

On the upside, the narrator does a great job. Even though her husky 'man' voices are kind of funny.

My summary: this author is lazy and this is a dissatisfying read. I won't be wasting any more credits on her work.

8 people found this helpful

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Starts strong, crashes and burns

Opening chapters appealing, nose dives thereafter. Simplistic dialogue, uninteresting characters. Narrator lacks definition between characters

7 people found this helpful

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Silly

I thought this was going to be a relevant book about a serious subject but when it turned into a bunch of people trying to save their lives and suddenly developing super powers like Harry Potter characters it totally lost my interest.
Silly.

3 people found this helpful

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Compelling

Didn't want it to end! Don't know which were more compelling... the story or the characters!

2 people found this helpful

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Nice twist to the post-apocalyptic story.

Really enjoyed this first book. Not your typical story of a virus wiping out most of the world's population. The addition of magic kicks it up a notch or two. The Narrator is really good - the kind of good that allows you to fully emerge yourself into the characters and story.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed listening

This was a pretty good book, an easy listen and classic Nora Roberts. I loved that it wasnt flooded with sex and more story. Its funny listening to this series now, after the actual pandemic. it seems fitting. I enjoyed it enough to move on to the second book. I will keep going on to the third since I want to see how this ends.

1 person found this helpful

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Another pandemic? Will they never end?

I had to add "Pandemic" as a bookshelf. It's likely to overtake my "apocalyptic" shelf. Admittedly, I purchased the audiobook before the start of COVID-19, but so many of the books (and films) I've read lately have seemed to be premonitions of our late difficulties.

The overview of this series reminds me strongly of "The Stand," by Stephen King: Pandemic kills most of humanity, the survivors choose Good and Evil, etc. End times stuff. As I gave up on The Stand the first time through, I am in the dark as to the winner in either case. (But I'm betting on Good. Chaotic good, in all probability.)

1 person found this helpful

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Some problematics but brilliant & timely overall

The unforeseen timeliness of the novel regarding COVID-19 is striking. There is something wonderous about reading of a pandemic in which magic is also awoken after the last few years. The combination of dystopia and magical futurism is also brilliant. I did take issue with the race blindness and overall enthusiasm of policing and laws build around imperialism/racism/capitalism in the old (our) world, but it was minimal in comparison to the positives. Going to read book two now!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kitty
  • 2017-12-07

Magical Apocalypse "Lite"

I would give this about 2.5 stars if possible.

I am a Nora Roberts fan but not a romance fan. She is one of the very few authors in that genre that I will read. Fantasy/Horror type genres are much more up my alley. So I was pretty excited when I saw that Nora Roberts was releasing a book that was more to my usual tastes.

I REALLY wanted to like this book more. But I found it rather underwhelming.

Now, I wasn't expecting a lot of explicit violence and gory details. But.

It is very much in the vein of iconic books like The Stand or Swan Song. There were even shades of The Walking Dead, in setting more than in the zombie apocalypse sense. The fact is that this was one of the most boring apocalypse scenarios that I've ever read.

The story is told from rather a distant POV. We get very little of the nitty gritty detail of what it would actually be like to live through end-of-the-world-via-plague like you get in The Stand or even TWD. We have the same exit from New York scenario that is standard fare, but apart from a rather awkwardly-worked-in single scene, it's nothing like the harrowing journeys that make you really feel you are by the character's side, and bond with them, and root for them. You get no sense of the daily reality of what it is actually like to LIVE in a post-apocalyptic world.

The same can be said of the "magical" element. People seem to mostly take it for granted that wow, suddenly now people are sprouting wings and hurling fireballs. It's all very ho-hum. The reaction is similar to what you might expect if suddenly discovering a talent for painting, or playing the trumpet. I tell you, if I suddenly sprouted wings and discovered that I was in fact a human-sized faerie, it'd have a hell of lot more impact on my life, my way of thinking about the word and interacting with it!

Then, there seems to be little actual point to the appearance of all this magical ability. It doesn't play much of a part in the story, other than as a dividing wedge between "normals" and "uncanny". We don't get any kind of intimate insights into how it changes people or changes the situation.

Maybe the way this book was written has to do with Nora Robert's usual fanbase and the kind of writing and subject matter they are used to. That's not a put-down, but I generally don't go to NR for gritty realism and heart-pounding adventure. It's kind of like an "Apocalypse Lite" kind of story. Which is understandable and fine if that's what they were shooting for. If the story is geared toward drawing in readers who aren't normally Nora Roberts fans, then not so much.

Seeing as this is her first book dealing with this kind of subject matter I'm still willing to try the next book. Hopefully it will be a bit deeper as far as connecting me to the characters and making me really believe I am experiencing the story along with them.

345 people found this helpful

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  • Kit C
  • 2017-12-20

If you like The Stand you’ll wonder why you didn’t just re-read that

As someone who loves a good story about the apocalypse and supernatural forces, I enjoyed this book simply (and only) based on those attributes. The story was absolutely derivative, in fact several plot points almost felt like fan fiction versions of The Stand (I’ve read The Stand at least six times, trust me on this point). It was totally obvious to anyone with half a brain what the major plot points would be (who would live/die, etc). I did like the addition of the overt supernatural forces and beings, but the supernatural aspects of the world felt very poorly developed and relied heavily on tropes. So far in this series there’s nothing original or even compelling about the story, but it was vaguely entertaining the way you find an innocuous Hallmark Christmas movie to be pleasantly generic background noise while wrapping Xmas gifts. With all that said, I will most likely get the second in the series because I enjoy pleasantly generic background noise on my commute and I like the topic.

221 people found this helpful

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  • Mitchell
  • 2017-12-08

best APOCALYPTIC book yet!!!!

If you like books with apocalyptic themes, then you will love this book. There is no doubt this is a 5 star book. You cant ask for a better narrator, Julia Whelan does a flawless job of reading the large variety of voices. This novel is full of heartbreaking scenes and conflict. So readers/listeners be mindful of this, because Nora Roberts does a fabulous job of emotionally attaching you to the characters.

I would have to say its not necessarily a "new" idea for a series, but still wrote in a different and captivating way. bottom line is buy this book and you will not be disappointed. i will definitely be getting the next book!!!

135 people found this helpful

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  • StephYC
  • 2018-04-06

lovely narrator, lackluster story

this novel started out very good. the story was interesting, action pact, and flowed very well. the mystery surrounding the virus and the emerging magic powers kept me enthralled. however about 2/3rds in, the story lost it's way. instead of a story about magic, strife, humanity and its survival; it became a story about cooking, tea time, and pregnancy. Im assuming that the author was setting up for the sequels, but it didn't end on anything interesting enough for me to want to pick up the next books. the last 7 or 8 chapters were just drawn out. it could have been condensed and I wish the villians we're fleshed out a little bit more. they had no motivation other than just being evil for the sake of being evil, they were barely present. showing up for a few paragraphs here and there. and the ritual, the virus, the resulting darkness, the crows, was never explained and felt unresolved.

117 people found this helpful

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  • Bresee
  • 2020-01-05

Ahhhh finally! A book that hooked me!!!

I've been looking for a book like this. one that grabs you right from the get, all the was thro till the very end. This is a well written novel with fantastic characters!!! A few of the characters had me rolling Everytime they had a dialogue. I'm starting book two and was literally up ALL NIGHT finishing book one... There was really only one con, several parts, for me, were a little predictable. However I didn't take any stars of for the bc I felt the book made up for that in many other way but mostly bc, I'm just very very good at predicting story lines. It baffles my husband. So I realized that not everyone is going to find those part predictable like I did. Like the main villain, had him pegged right off the bat. But maybe many others won't see it coming so idk.
Anywho, can't wait to get started on book two... If you like video games, let me put it this way, if Fallout and Skyrim had a book baby, this would be it. GOOD STUFF!

72 people found this helpful

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  • Denice
  • 2017-12-06

Tears of joy and sadness

It made me cry and that does not happen often. Tears of joy and sadness. Great story with so much death, hatred, kindness and love. Not matter what happens in real life or fiction these attributes persist in mankind. Good vs evil. Magical vs non-magical......

68 people found this helpful

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  • T. Mirandi
  • 2019-11-11

The story has zero depth

I’m baffled how this story has such good reviews. The author follows way too many people to add depth to any of them in order to care for the characters. And for a Post-apocalyptic world, everyone seems to have everything they need and everyone with the correct profession to utilize those supplies. What a miraculous safe haven!

58 people found this helpful

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  • Cealaigh
  • 2017-12-09

Waaay too dark

Although I think I have read/heard everything Ms. Roberts has written from day one (pun not intended), I could not get through more than half this book. I tried both audible and written form- no luck. She has walked a fine line on becoming too dark in other books, including her “In Death” series, but this book stomped all over that line until there was no trace. I am sure that there are MANY others that will write positive reviews, but I cannot. It was well crafted, as always, but waaay to dark for me to enjoy. Out of the thousands of books I have read over my lifetime, I have only been moved to write one other negative review. I am sorry it was for Nora Roberts. There was nothing entertaining or.... nope, there was just nothing.

57 people found this helpful

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  • Lizzystick
  • 2019-03-07

Umm...not for me

I like a lot of dystopian books/movies and even some fantasy fiction but I do believe a dystopian novel should have some element of "this can in possibly happen in my lifetime" to it , well, when you add in Magik's (magical people) and Fairies into it you lose me. They just didn't fit with the scenario in my opinion, I think they took away from the story instead of adding. I Tried twice to listen to this book because of the good reviews but I just couldn't finish it.

54 people found this helpful

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  • Dogs & Horses
  • 2018-01-22

Big plot holes. More fantasy than post apocalyptic

The narrator, Julia Whelan, does her usual good job in making each character distinguishable and adding emotion when needed, but without excess.

I love a good end of the world/apocalypse story and a good dystopian future story. I have only read one other book by Nora Roberts and that was years ago, so I wasn't sure what to expect by her attempt at this genre. Year One is sort of a mixed bag for me.

It opens strong with a great look at the first hours of the Doom plague and people's experiences as they deal with the illness, the aftermath and the struggle to decide what comes next. The TV news anchor's perspective was an interesting point of view you don't get much in the genre at large.

However, this takes a turn to magical beings and fantasy pretty quickly. That's where I stopped taking the book seriously and started to lose a bit of interest. By the time the plot jumped from a safe cabin in the wintery woods to months ahead and the white picket fence small town, I was really thinking I had missed entire chapters. How did this group of five suddenly morph into 90 something? Where did all the livestock come from? What happened to them on the several hundred miles journey? Huge plot holes exist through out the book - the government conspiracy issues and imprisonment of magical people is just abandoned, how does a woman lose the love of her life and still manage to "fall in love" with a total stranger just weeks later? I don't think I'll read the next book in this new series. There are a lot of great apocalypse stories out there, but this wasn't one of them.

42 people found this helpful