Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts. Review by Violet Kane

Book Cover

In Print
The recent trend toward paranormal romance and romantic fantasy is difficult to ignore, and so despite my misgivings about the romance genre, I decided to pick up a romantic fantasy to see what all the fuss was about—where better to start than with the reigning queen of the romance novel, Nora Roberts?

Morrigan's Cross is the first in a trilogy (she's got that much down, fantasy-wise) of romantic fantasy novels. This one starts back in the twelfth century with protagonist Hoyt, a warrior and sorcerer who is bent on achieving salvation for his brother, who has been taken by the legendary demoness, Lilith. What he discovers, however, is that his brother has been taken into her power, has been turned into a vampire, and is beyond saving. It is shortly after this that the Celtic goddess Morrigan comes to Hoyt to tell him that he is one of the elite warriors against darkness that will fight Lilith and her minions in a war that will make or break the fate of human kind. To join the fight, Hoyt must be transported centuries into the future (you guessed it, to the early 21st century) where he must team up with his brother, who is still alive (or, more properly, still undead) as a vampire and captain of industry, and where he meets Glenna a modern-day witch who is like no woman he has ever met before.

Book Cover

On Audio
This novel unfortunately turned out to be exactly what I was expecting, which is to say that the main storyline is like every other romance novel I've ever read. Despite the vampire war fantasy plot set up, once Hoyt meets Glenna the structuring of the storytelling makes it clear that the development of their relationship is the most important part of the book. On the one hand, this novel, like all romance novels, is character-driven. The story is driven forward by the conflict of the deepening romance between the main male and female characters. On the other hand, this novel, like all romance novels, follows the exact same formulas. Read a couple romance novels and you'll see what I mean. The characters, as characters, are all exactly the same. It's only their circumstances and dossiers that change. The man and woman go through the same relationship steps at a largely identical pace, ending up married by the end of the novel (if you read a couple romance novels, you'll realize I'm not giving anything away; the couple never ends up not happily married). Just like any other romance novel, Morrigan's Cross showcases this formulaic relationship—everything else that's going on is just filler.

The audiobook of this novel is readily available and showcases a skilled reading by Dick Hill. The production choices, however, are kind of peculiar, but necessarily so in large part because Roberts throws the rules of point of view right out the window, switching and jumping from the thoughts of one character to the next as it is convenient for her. The production thus has Hill reading the novel in an Irish brogue except when reading dialog (where his accent is specific to the character), but the constant male brogue makes for a peculiar listening experience when the narration switches to Glenna's thoughts. I would say that they should have used a female narrator for Glenna's point of view, but since the point of view is so haphazard in this novel, that would have been impossible.


Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.