Audio: Year One by Nora Roberts @NRoberts_atHome @justjuliawhelan #BrillianceAudio

Posted May 2, 2018 by Melanie in Book Review / 21 Comments

Audio: Year One by Nora Roberts @NRoberts_atHome  @justjuliawhelan #BrillianceAudioYear One by Nora Roberts
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Series: Chronicles of The One #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on December 5, 2017
Genres: Dystopia
Length: 12 hours, 20 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

A stunning new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author - an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, 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, magic 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.


This will surprise some people and not others, I’ve never read Nora Roberts before. I have no idea why. I guess none of her books ever jumped out at me. But that changed when I read Kimberly’s review over at Caffeinated Reviewer. Her review really caught my attention and I quickly checked out my library to see if they had the audio of this book (they didn’t but were more than happy to purchase it for me, when I requested it. I love my library, they do this for me often).

I went into this book with no idea what to expect from Nora Roberts. Of course I had heard of her, I think everyone has. She is wildly successful. I knew her as mostly a contemporary romance writer. This is a genre I don’t read much in and I think that colored my image of her (I’m embarrassed to admit). I had even looked at several books in her In Death series under the name of J.D. Robb. I think the sheer volume of books in that series kept me from starting it. I will have to make an effort to prevent this from happening in the future, because this was an amazing story and I’m ashamed I waited so long to try her work.

Okay, now the story. Year One is a dystopian story. As I was listening to it, I thought it has a similar feel to Stephen King’s The Stand. There is a plague going around killing almost everyone in sight. Half the population is gone in a few weeks. Here’s where things deviate from King a lot, many seem to be immune and don’t get sick, but are now different. Some turned into fairies, elves, shifters, witches and more. Some become power hungry crazy people, bent on destruction. Some people stay human. Some of the human people become especially evil. It’s like everything else, doesn’t matter what race, religion, gender, etc, there are good people, bad people and evil people. That doesn’t change, even if you now have wings.

I really enjoyed watching all of the characters survive this plague (called the Doom). I thought their story of having to watch family and friends die was very touching. Seeing them trying to get out of areas like NYC kept me on the edge of seat. It was nice when they started to come together as a group and becoming a bit of a society, even if it is nothing like what they had before. This does not mean you should cozy up to too many of the characters. This is a dystopian novel, after all. Just because they survive the plague, doesn’t mean life is easy. People will die, and that should not be a surprise to anyone.

I think Roberts did a great job creating this new world. I love all the different powers that people develop after surviving Doom. The fact that the characters are a bit scared of their new selves seems very realistic to me. I can’t imagine how I would feel if all of a sudden, I could disappear into a tree, like the elves can in this book. Another part of realism in this book are the religious group bent on killing off all the people who have powers now (called Uncannies). Purity Warriors are the terrorist group they sound like. They only want humans to inherit the earth. And humans who stand in their way can go the way of the Uncannies.

This is the start to a great series. I can’t wait to see where she takes it from here. I highly recommend you give this series a try if you like a good dystopian fantasy with great suspense.



I can’t remember if I’ve ever listened to Julia Whelan before. I knew I recognized her name, but couldn’t put a title with it. When I looked at Audible, I saw why I recognized her name. She’s read a lot of great books, many of which have been on my TBR pile for a while. I guess I need to start picking up more books from her. She did a great job with this book. There is a large cast of characters and she nailed them. Accents, genders, she struggled with none of it.

Listen to a clip here:


About Julia Whelan

Julia Whelan is a screenwriter, life-long actor, and award-winning audiobook narrator. She graduated with a degree in English and Creative Writing from Middlebury College and Oxford University. While in England, her flirtation with tea blossomed into a full-blown love affair, culminating in her eventual certification as a tea master. When not writing her own books, you can find her reading other people’s out loud into a microphone.

About Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, the youngest of five children. She married young and settled in Keedysville, Maryland where she worked briefly as a legal secretary. After her sons were born she stayed home and tried every craft that came along. A blizzard in February 1979 forced her hand to try another creative outlet. She was snowed in with a three and six year old.

Born into a family of readers, Nora had never known a time that she wasn’t reading or making up stories. During the now-famous blizzard, she pulled out a pencil and notebook and began to write down one of those stories. It was there that a career was born. Several manuscripts and rejections later, her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, was published by Silhouette in 1981.

Nora met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, when she hired him to build bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Since that time, they’ve expanded their home, traveled the world and opened a bookstore together.

Through the years, Nora has always been surrounded by men. Not only was she the youngest in her family, but she was also the only girl. She has raised two sons. Having spent her life surrounded by men, Ms. Roberts has a fairly good view of the workings of the male mind, which is a constant delight to her readers. It was, she’s been quoted as saying, a choice between figuring men out or running away screaming.

Nora is a member of several writers groups and has won countless awards from her colleagues and the publishing industry. Recently The New Yorker called her “America’s favorite novelist.”

Rating Breakdown
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Narration (Audio)
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star
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Posted May 2, 2018 by Melanie in Book Review / 21 Comments

21 responses to “Audio: Year One by Nora Roberts

  1. I also have never read a Nora Roberts book *gasp* but this one seem right up my alley.

  2. Sophia Rose

    This was my first Nora Roberts, too. But, only by a hair. LOL Now, I’m reading her Robb books for this year’s series challenge. I can’t wait for what comes next after Year One.

  3. I love all the In Death books which are Urban Fantasy under her JD Robb name. They are amazing. There’s 40some now and I’ve read them all. I haven’t read her other works but I’m sure I will at some point.

  4. carolesrandomlife

    I have this book on my audible wish list. I love Julia Whelan’s narration and I thought that the premise sounded really good. I am very happy to hear that it was well executed. I will probably be adding this one to my library very soon.

  5. I did not know she had written dystopia!
    you know, when they say half the world died all I ever think of is where are all the bodies? Are there bodies everywhere! Ugh

  6. I haven’t read any of NRoberts books released in the past 5 or so years and really need to get back to her. I know when I first started reading romance I read like ALL of her past books she has sooooooo many. This sounds like a great read 😀

    • Melanie

      She does have a ton of books. I can see why. This one was pretty amazing.

  7. Jen

    Too funny. I’ve also never read Nora/Robb. Someone recommended this book to me back several months ago. And I was *this* close to buying the audiobook. Then someone else said to wait until book two comes out. So, I still haven’t read/listened to Nora. But I plan to. I’m glad you enjoyed; makes me more confident that I’ll like it.

    • Melanie

      I was very surprised to see how many people haven’t read her. I don’t feel so bad now. I’m very excited for book two.