Dance of the Gods
If there’s one thing Nora Roberts has more then anyone else, it’s her ability to create realistic, recognizable people in every one of her books. Be they billionaire moguls or vampire hunters, they all come through as genuine and relatable. That ability is once again front and center in Dance of the Gods. But here it’s just not enough.
Dance is the second book in the Circle trilogy. The trilogy is the story of six people (three men, three women natch) drawn together by the goddess Morrigan. Morrigan has informed this sextet that they are all that stands between life and death for Earth and other parallel worlds. The danger comes in from the vampire Lilith and her evil minions and hoards. Lilith is an evil vampire, as opposed to the “gentler” variety to be found in other romances. Though each of the six has their role in defeating Lilith, the focus here is on Larkin, a shape-shifter from the ancient kingdom of Geall, and Blair, a young woman who’s sole purpose in life has been to hunt demons.
Blair is amongst that cadre of no-nonsense, hard-edged heroines that Ms. Roberts does so well. She was raised by her father to be a vampire hunter, but was never able to attain his approval. Her father had hopes that her brother would be the hunter. When it turned out that Blair had the talent, he trained her, but never appreciated or loved her. The day Blair turned eighteen, her father gave her the keys to their house and took off for parts unknown. Over the years, she’s only had sporadic contact with him. And as if that relationship weren’t enough to color Blair’s view of men and their ability to love her, she was also crushed by the one boy she’d loved when she told him she hunted vampires. Given that kind of emotional background, it’s no surprise that Blair has channeled all her energy into her job. Now part of the six member team, Blair acts as the weapons expert and physical trainer for the group, jobs she takes very seriously.
Larkin has traveled through time from his home in Geall on the quest set for him by the goddess Morrigan. He is a warrior and has the ability to change his shape into any animal. That ability is put to good use when he sneaks into Lilith’s lair to cause havoc. Though he knows what they do is life or death, Larkin is more then willing to mix a little pleasure with the business. He finds Blair endlessly fascinating, and despite the walls she puts up he remains determined to know her in every way.
As I said, Ms. Roberts has a deft hand with characterization. Though I have Morrigan’s Cross in my tbr pile, I hadn’t yet read it before reading this one. It didn’t really matter. The central storyline is straightforward and soon enough I knew who all the players were. My difficulties lay in the fact that as skilled as the author is in laying out the storyline and the universe she’s created, it still takes some time. Add six characters to follow and it all feels a little thin. Deeply emotional this is not.
Blair and Larkin make for a good couple, even if they’re not particularly original in the Roberts oevre. She’s prickly and determined to remain unattached emotionally. He’s a gamma warrior male who is sensitive enough to bring her out of her shell and still able to fight demons at her side. I liked them both and I liked their relationship. There just wasn’t that much of it, and what there was happened in dribs and drabs amongst the demon-fighting and the scenes that established how happy the hero/heroine from book one were and how the romance between the remaining pair will go in book three.
Though many are making mention of this trilogy being the author’s first foray into the vampire sub-genre, it could better be compared to her Key trilogy. And what I’ve learned from both is that I like the trilogies that aren’t so closely connected. Give me another like the Born in or Dream trilogies, where the characters know each other, but aren’t joined at the hip.