Island of Glass by Nora Roberts (Fantasy Novel, 2016).
It’s hard to keep up with the enormously prolific and overwhelmingly popular Nora Roberts. This one is the concluding book in The Guardians Trilogy. I missed the first two volumes while sampling several of other books (including the crime stories she writes as JD Robb). But as for this one, it’s a fantasy adventure about a six -person team of heroes, each with his or her own special powers.
Who are these Guardians? Well, there’s Doyle, an immortal Irish warrior more than three centuries old, due to a curse that has left him embittered and resistant to allowing himself to love (lest he has to face losing someone to aging). Another Irishman, Bran is the latest in a family of modern-day wizards. Riley, a self-reliant and beautiful but somewhat prickly archaeologist and werewolf. Annika is a charming, innocent-minded though brave mermaid temporarily experiencing life on dry land. Then there’s Sasha, the artist who is subject to prophetic visions she can’t control that provide valuable if often disturbing clues. And Sawyer, who can teleport himself and others various places using a magical device.
All these supernatural skills come into play in their adventures, along with a good deal of military equipment, ranging from swords to automatic weapons.
In the first book (Stars of Fortune) they were all brought together by the machinations of a trio of ancient Goddesses for the task of recovering three mystical fallen stars from their hiding places around the world.
These Goddesses are apparently stuck on their hidden island utopia (the Island of Glass) and can only observe the action as our heroes battle a powerful enemy in the power-crazed Nezerra. She long ago turned against her three sister Goddesses and is determined to gather these mystical objects for herself and use their power to destroy Earth and everything/everybody else. The group fights off Nezerra and her minions and suffers greatly, bonding as a group and recovering the first object in Corfu.
In book two (The Bay of Sighs) they’re off to another desperate search and confrontation in Capri, recovering the second star and barely escaping with their lives.
And so it was on to this, the concluding chapter, where they land on the coast of Ireland. To be exact, they’re in County Clare, where Bran has a fabulous home on the very site where Doyle grew up and had to endure seeing his entire family age and die. The location is no coincidence, of course. As the search for the third star proceeds we (along with our heroes) learn more about how all six of the Guardians are connected. Destiny, fate and romance all abound. By the opening of this volume, the group have already began to pair off. Bran and Sasha are one couple; Sawyer and Annika another.
Will Riley and Doyle be next? You bet–but they’re a willful pair and their reluctant but ultimately passionate coming together is another key element to Island of Glass. Several increasingly passionate and romantic sex scenes result, counter-balancing fierce battles against the forces of evil.
Good will triumph, of course. The third star will be found; the hidden title island located. A last effectively stunning battle leaves Neverra destroyed and everybody else happy (not to mention in love). Three new stars appear back in the sky where they belong, as well. Getting to that point is an interesting read and I didn’t feel I missed much by not having read the the first two books.
An interesting side note in that regard: The softcover edition I read had a bonus feature: after the main text, you get the Goddess-narrated prologue and first chapter of the first book. As noted, Island of Glass can be read and enjoyed on its own, but this very nicely whets the appetite to go back and find the earlier books.