on June 17, 2004
I went through the phase of a being devout Nora Roberts fan. Frankly, no one can touch her with the number of books in such a short period. She has a good feel for romance, has a super understanding of men as they are, not as we might like them to be, appreciates them, adores them, and yet gives us strong females to match them. No matter how good she is, she writes too fast these days, so some books just seem like retreads, same book over and over, different setting different names. That is not bad. You go in knowing what to expect from Nora. But being fresh is not an adjective you would use to describe her works the last ten years. There have been exceptions. Her J.D. Robb books are amazing and I will not miss one of those. And her Donovan Legacy was very good. Still, I had just about stopped buying her regularly. An author of the Celta series of paranormals praised the Key series. An avid friend of mine loved them, so I HAD to try them. I am truly spellbound by Key of Light, and look forward to the second and third in the series.
Key of Light is an interesting premise. Three young women, with seemingly nothing in common other than their age and the fact they have been fired or are about to be fired, have been summoned to Warrior's Peak, a brooding Gothic mansion on the hill. There, they meet Pitte and Rowenna, and Pitte spins a tale for them about a god, existing before the time of the Elves and Faeries, who falls in love with a mortal. They marry and she bears him three daughters. But other gods were angry he had taken a mortal to wife and plots evil deeds, and kidnaps the three beautiful princesses, keeping them locked in a half-world. The god tried everything he could to rescue his daughters, but could not, he could only decree that once every hundred years three women were born in to the mortal world with the souls of his daughters. If these moral women are able to solve the riddle and find three keys, they can unlock the spelling holding the princesses.
Malory Price, Zoe McCourt, Dana Steele hear this faerytale with much doubt, especially as it becomes apparent Pitte believe they are the reborn souls of the princesses. However, he offers them a challenge. For $25,000 each they search for the keys. If they succeed, they get a million dollars each. If they fail, they lose one year of their lives. Three women in need of money, whether they believe or not, it's a chance they cannot pass up.
They are given guides to help in the search, Flynn, and his friends ¯ Brad and Jordan, who are also connected to the mystery and the ultimate solution. Book 1 is Malory and Flynn's book.
It Roberts at her best and I cannot wait to read the next two. As to the reviewers gripping about Pitte's name. I suggest you try reading some ancient Celtic lore...
on May 27, 2004
After a very long week at work the last thing I wanted was to pick up a heavy tome. Nora Roberts "Key of Light" is the perfect antidote for just such an occasion. Nora Roberts asks the reader to forget the mundane, and place reality on hold while you venture forth into rural Pennsylvania where fantasy has become reality. The Celtic tale "Daughters of Glass" is more than true in this series; it is alive. It is the story in which the evil sorcerer Kane has locked the souls of 3 demi-goddesses for a millennium. In order to save their souls and those of the watchers, 3 mortal women must find the keys that will unlock them.
The first of these women are Mallory Price. Just laid off of her job in an art gallery, the adventure and the cash bonus this quest provides are certainly incentive enough. Throw in finding two other women in the same position who become fast friends and a the potential love of your life and you have yourself a winner. I honestly liked this series. The snappy dialogue and steamy scenes far outweigh any sappiness predictability. Perfect summer reading.
I give this book 3 stars because of said predictability. The reader knows within a short period what the key symbolizes and how to acquire it.
on May 24, 2004
Key of Light was a very, very quick read for me, probably because I skimmed most of the stuff about the quest and the other demi-goddess/goddess bits because they didn't interest me. If the book had just been about Malory and Flynn then I probably would have skim read even more because I did not like them very much and it was the characters of Dana and Jordan that really kept me hooked.
Malory was in places irritating and high handed. I'm afraid to say that I turned against her from the first when she said that the money she'd needed to spend on her car had gone on a pair of shoes instead. To me that is simply irritating and immature. Flynn was all right, although I never really found him that sexy or masculine.
I must confess that I don't like the girly chats that go on between the women in these sorts of trilogies either as they always come across as fake, with all the women liking each other too much and acting like sisters five minutes after meeting one another. Call me old-fashioned, but in a romance I'm looking for a little bit more time spent between the lead female and lead male character. If I want a chat with a girlfriend I'll pick up the telephone.
There were high points in the book - the humorous dialogue that Nora Roberts is so good at, the energy around the pairing of Dana and Jordan (I can't wait to read Key of Knowledge), and the down-to-earth grittiness of Zoë. I must say that I agree with a few of the other reviewers who say that the trilogies are becoming like 'cookie-cutter' versions of the ones before. I suppose this was bound to happen as you can only have so many different scenarios, character types and storylines. I guess it's true that the Heaven and Earth trilogy is eerily similar to this one, both in terms of character types and storylines.
Overall this book was all right and although I wouldn't recommend it to others I'll try the other two books in the trilogy.
on April 25, 2004
I agree with the earlier reviewer who commented on the assembly-line, cookie-cutter feel of this book, the start of yet another Nora Roberts trilogy. I also agree with comments about how the plot is so unbelievable and forced that the book lacks the ability to carry the reader along. This book is a dud.
Romantic fantasy by definition doesn't need to be factual, but when you have Celtic gods and goddesses (with non-Celtic names like Rowena and Pitte, yet) hanging out in Pennsylvania....well, even the briefest summary of the long list of people and devices in this alleged "plot" would take more space and energy than I'm willing to give it. It feels less like a story than a drawer-cleaning of piles of disjointed leftover plot ideas rejected from earlier projects. The characters have their occasional moments, but overall, there wasn't any flow and the story didn't make any sense at all.
I still give it 3 stars, because in the Romance genre, the worst is truly unbelievably bad and this is still Nora Roberts, albeit on a very bad day. She knows how to write sentences at least, her heroines don't simper over-much, and her heroes aren't abusive. Compared to mainstream fiction, the rating would be much lower. What I don't understand is why the author apparently feels so driven to increase the poundage -- tonnage! -- of her published books that she agreed to publish this poor specimen. Surely she could gather herself and write less often but with better results. How can she stand to put her name on a book like this when she is capable of so much better?
on April 24, 2004
Three women (Malory, Dana, and Zoe) are invited to cocktails in the old mansion at Warrior's Peak. A mysterious couple tell a tale of three lovely demigoddesses who rest in an enchanted sleep, their souls locked in a special box. The box has three locks on the front that can only be unlocked by three hidden keys. Each key must be found by a different mortal woman. Each woman has a single month to locate their key. The keys must be hunted one at a time. If even one woman fails at her task, the locked souls will be destroyed and each of the three huntresses will lose one year of life. Fate chooses Malory Price to search first.
Malory Price has always been organized. She even had her life completely outlined since the age of eight. Malory was manager of The Gallery and loved the position. However, the owner recently acquired a much younger bride, Pamela, who decided to oust Malory and take over.
The mysterious couple gave Malory twenty-five thousand much needed dollars, just for agreeing to search for a key that might not even exist. If the keys do exist, and all three of the women find them, they will each receive five million dollars!
Flynn Hennessy met Malory when his huge dog knocked her down. Malory hoped never to see him again, yet had no choice since he was the brother of Dana. Flynn joined the quest in the hope of getting closer to Malory. He never expected to fall in love with her or to watch an evil sorcerer try to kill her!
***** I can only hope that books two and three will be equally as fascinating! Nora Roberts has succeeded in literally bringing a fairy tale to life, in more ways than one. This story is set in present day with a subtle dose of magic. Highly recommended reading! *****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
on April 21, 2004
Nora Roberts is propbably one of the only few romance novelists that actually doesn't sound cliched or too old-fashioned...that is to say, usually. In this book, though she tries to laugh at her use of cliches, Roberts has them strung throughout much of the dialogue of her book. And the speedy pace of Malory and a newly introduced Fynn is slightly reminescent of the faery tales of old, where heros and heroines fall in love at first sight. Though this isn't what happens, it parallels to the idea in many ways, so much that their relationship was unbelievable corny and unrealistic.
Also, her characters are pretty much replicas of her Three Sisters Island (TSI) Trilogy. One woman falls in love with the stepbrother of a character, another with a rich heir, and the third woman with an old flame. If you'll remember, all of these elements (or very close versions of them) were used to shape the men of TSI. Except, whereas in TSI the men meshed almost perfectly with the women, in this novel it's as if one character was deleted (although maybe to say they were mixed together and split into twin halves would be more accurate) and the other two are paired with the wrong men! Can you imagine Nell in love with a more masculine Mac, or the Ripley/Mia character falling in love with Zach??? Well, okay, the last one isn't too hard to picture, seeing as how he's a flexible character, but it just doesn't feel right in the story. (And if you haven't read the TSI Trilogy, I apologize, but pick them up, they're much more substantial and ... meshy.)
The actual novel sounds like it could be a highly interesting story, and perhaps to newcomers of Roberts this will be a fairly decent read. But to older fans, this will most likely not be her best work.
Anyway, I will drop a quick summary for those of you interested: Three strangers (an art gallery manager, a hair dresser, and a librarian) in a semi-small town are invited to what they think will be a party or gathering of some sort at a large mansion on the outskirts of the town. It turns weird really fast when two people, a man and a woman, claim that they are the keys to releasing three demigoddess's souls from an evil god trying to win power in the world.
Another thing that I want to point out: though the characters take their time believing this, the dialogue of them trying to rationalize it seems forced, as if Nora Roberts has been through some of the same discussions hundreds of times. It also kind of dragged out the book, making it a little too long at certain parts. All in all, I was VERY unsatisfied with Ms. Roberts' beginning to this new trilogy. I could only get two-thirds finished before giving up on it. I hope you have better luck.
-Embyr Bradson (04/21/04)
on February 23, 2004
I can't believe I am actually giving a Nora Roberts' book only three stars but to be honest I didn't really like the Key Trilogy. The plot seemed a little hard to believe that a God and Goddess living in a valley in Pennsylvania (so were they living in Pennyslvania for 3000yrs?) and ask three women they've never met to complete a quest to save the souls of trapped demigoddesses? And that the "keys" are somewhere around Pennsylvania? What are Celtic Gods doing in Pennyslvania?
They seemed out of place not very believable.
I don't mind despencing with reality (in fact that's why I read) I like myths a lot but it just seemed to be asking a too much to believe.
Usually the plots and the charactors are weaved together so well but in this one it seemed forced. I had to force myself to finish each book because it all felt too forced and the endings unbelievable.
Malory, Dana, and Zoe each had to find the key and yet it felt like that even to them the quest wasn't that important.
They would spend forever on their business or the romance and then jump suddenly to the quest.
I agree with the review who pointed out the bad name Pitte? A warrior-God with the name Pitte? Could he not of had a better name? They never were really fully explained. Like they say they were fighting Kane with there "powers". Yet you didn't really see them do much of anything except constantly tell the women what they couldn't do.
The charactors just never seemed to come alive to me as they did in the Three Sisters, Cheaspeake, or the Irish trilogies.
It felt like their were too many charactors in the books.
I liked how they built their business with their own hands instead of being all wimpy.
The only thing that kept me going was reminding myself that this was Nora Roberts.
I've never been disappointed by one of her books as I was with the Keys trilogy which is why its such a surprised. Hopefully I won't be again.
on January 27, 2004
Anybody who knows me or has read my previous reviews for Nora Roberts's books knows that for the most part I am a loyal fan of Ms. Roberts's books. When I found out that a new trilogy was about to be published, I couldn't wait to buy the three books and read them one after the other. Unfortunately I was tremendously disappointed in the first book, Key of Light, and imagine it will be some time before I pick up the second title, Key of Knowledge.
Three women with very different backgrounds are summoned to a party at a mansion. Mallory has just been fired from her job at an art gallery while Dana's hours at a local library have been cut dramatically. The third member of the group, Zoe, is a single mother who years to open up her own beauty salon. Once at the house the women find they are the only guests. And as the evening progresses they meet two rather unusual people who make each of them a proposition that may ultimately reward them with a large sum of money. Their tasks are complicated and while they may work together to solve each puzzle, in the end they are responsible for each of their own assignments. And they must all succeed or the monetary offer will not be given to any of them. Now these three ladies are set on a wild adventure as they must find three keys to unlock three boxes that hold three women's spirits which are locked in the boxes by an ancient curse.
This book, like the Three Sister Island trilogy is filled with similar element like camaraderie, loyalty, romance, an ancient curse and mystical happenings. But unlike her other trilogies, Key of Light failed to interest me in any of the characters or care about the curse. And while her other books had mystical and magical elements, this time these elements just seemed a bit forced and over the top at that. At times I even wondered if somehow I was reading Stephen King novel and the authors name was a misprint. Not that I haven't liked Mr. King's works in the past but that's not what I expect to read when I choose a Nora Roberts book.
I have often thought and written that of all of the genres Ms. Roberts writes, it is her pure romances which captivate me the most. Having read Key of Light, I now long for Ms. Roberts to return to writing trilogies like the Born In series or books about families like the Mackades, MacGregors or Quinn brothers. I am sure I will read the next two books in this trilogy to see if I enjoy either Key of Knowledge or Key of Valor more. I hope that I will be pleasantly surprised and can write a glowing review afterwards.
on January 22, 2004
Malory Price is the stunningly beautiful, and rather youngish, manager of The Gallery, a chic art gallery in the wilds of western Pennsylvania. She's smart, sassy, and because her boss's new trophy wife is insanely jealous, soon to be unemployed. She receives a mysterious invitation to a cocktail reception to the grand old house (mansion is more like it) on Warrior's Peak. In search of new business for The Gallery, she attends, and meets two equally brainy beauties---Dana, the bookish (what else?) librarian who can research anything, and, most delightfully of all, Zoe, the hairdresser extraordinaire and post-modern heart-on-her-sleeve flowerchild and mother who is the queen of moral support. Soon, at Warrior's Peak, they encounter a mysterious painting (complete with some VERY familiar faces!) and an equally mysterious couple who make them a very enticing offer: If they will join together on a quest in search of three keys, and are successful, they will each receive one million dollars! If they fail, the penalty will be a year of their lives!! The girls have a month each to solve the puzzle, and Malory is first up. She soon gains allies: Flynn, the very handsome and available editor of the local paper (do I smell romance in the air?), and Moe, his unforgettable mountain of a dog who provides lots of comic relief. In the hands of a lesser author, such a premise could seem overly grim or gothic, but instead, the comic bickering between the soon-to-be-lovers, and most of all, the warm, genuine relationships formed between the three women (each of whom has come to a crossroads in her life; they soon band together in a prospective business venture.) make this an unforgettable beginning of what promises to be an outstanding trilogy. Hats off to Nora Roberts, who proves that the future is best faced by following your heart and embracing new loves, friendships, and ventures when they come along, rather than staying safe (but suffocating) within your personal box. All this and a touch of magic, too, make Key of Light, and indeed the entire trilogy a must-read. Get it today, and let the key light a path to a special spot on your own personal bookshelf.
on January 1, 2004
I'm a big fan of Nora Roberts; in particular, the 2 Irish trilogies (the "Born in" books and the Gallagher saga) and the Three Sisters trilogy. Even as a devoted reader of fantasy novels, I found the mystical touches in the Gallagher books to be a tad silly, and even more ridiculous in the Three Sisters books, but the solid writing and the interesting characters and relationships in these novels kept me reading. By comparison, "Key of Light" is a real letdown. The fantasy elements are just out of control and completely unbelievable, especially as regards the characters' reactions to the supernatural events, the plot is unrealistic (a town of 5,000 supports a daily newspaper with a staff of 30, and several high-end art galleries and restaurants? The female characters living in this tiny town have never met? Celtic gods choose to hang out in a castle outside of Pittsburgh?), and the characters and their relationships are retreads from other books and not all that compelling. Can we please have some characters who are NOT writers or connected with art galleries? How about keeping us guessing for once about who will end up hooking up with whom, instead of telegraphing the entire trilogy plot outline in the first 50 pages? And finally, better names for some of the characters might be in order...an Irish god named Pitte and an evil wizard named Kane are a little giggle-inducing.
Despite all this, I'll probably be buying the next two books as well.