Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts

Sometimes quitting is the best option.

Retro Review

Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
Narrated by Alan Smyth
Romance Audio
Book #2 in The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts comes a trilogy about the land we’re drawn to, the family we learn to cherish, and the people we long to love.…

With the legends and lore of Ireland running through his blood, falconer Connor O’Dwyer is proud to call County Mayo home. It’s where his sister, Branna, lives and works, where his cousin, Iona, has found true love, and where his childhood friends form a circle that can’t be broken…

A circle that is about to be stretched out of shape—by a long-awaited kiss.

Meara Quinn is Branna’s best friend, a sister in all but blood. Her and Connor’s paths cross almost daily, as Connor takes tourists on hawk walks and Meara guides them on horseback across the lush countryside. She has the eyes of a gypsy and the body of a goddess…things Connor has always taken for granted—until his brush with death propels them into a quick, hot tangle.

Plenty of women have found their way to Connor’s bed, but none to his heart until now. Frustratingly, Meara is okay with just the heat, afraid to lose herself—and their friendship—to something more. But soon, Connor will see the full force and fury of what runs in his blood. And he will need his family and friends around him when his past rolls in like the fog, threatening an end to all he loves.…

My Thoughts
Why does every other book I pick up have to be part of some ongoing (sometimes never ending) series? Why can’t a book stand alone? Why do I ask stupid questions when I already know the answer? I am crabby and all I want is a fantastic standalone romance novel and I can’t seem to find one this month. Is this too much to ask?!

So, here’s my story of woe. I reserved this from the library via the internet without knowing it was book #2 in a series. When I picked it up and realized my error (which is clearly stated on the front for any idiot to see), I was too lazy to go back to return it and figured I’d give it a go anyway. Nora Roberts is usually an author I can count on. My mistake. I should’ve wasted the gas and the time and turned back. Instead I wasted 10+ hours of my time insisting to myself this book would get better. It didn’t. I think this idiot has finally learned her lesson.

The entire first hour of this unabridged audiobook is spent introducing three siblings in Ireland with magical powers who are battling some evil do-er who murdered their parents. I thought the book was going to be about one of them since Roberts spent so much time with the intro’s and all and just as I was feeling bad for them and getting comfy with the storyline she zips us to the future. Here we meet another group of three with magical powers who are related to the previous three. What. The. Hey?

Somewhere around hour three (yes, hour three people, you can't call me a quitter!) I am finally clued in to the fact that this may be a romance and the hero is this nice, friendly Connor fellow and I’m good with that. He has magical powers, trains falcons and is content with his happy life. He loves his siblings/cousins and has a friendly outlook on life. The heroine is Meara, his childhood friend who he enjoys teasing and touching whenever he can. She leads horse tours. She doesn’t have the magical powers but she does have an affinity for the horses. She’s nice enough. Together they’re fine but I didn’t feel much of anything but perhaps it’s because I’m dead inside.

So, there is a romance happening but it didn’t thrill me all that much and felt more like a secondary plot element. I'd be sad if I weren't so bored.And cold-hearted.

What is going on is kind of crazy, convoluted and not very original. There is a Big Bad who escaped from a Charmed episode or the past or some such who keeps popping up to steal “the three’s” (or "The Trees" as the narrator says) magical powers. Or something. The six main characters spend a lot of moaning and groaning about how to vanquish the evil do-er. They perform some Wiccan ceremonies which never seem to pan out in their favor. It all felt really campy to me and not in the fun kind of campy way.

I will admit that I may easily have missed some heartwarming, touching and/or genuinely terrifying moments because the narrator read the book Fecking Terribly. He had a nice enough Irish accent but his American accent was atrocious and he seemed to fade in and out of it. He read the book instead of performing it and paused at inappropriate places. But the worst thing was that he made all of the characters sound almost exactly the same. I never quite knew who was speaking and the book felt as if it were 100 hours long and I feared it would never end and that this was my own private hell.

If you are following this series, do yourself a favor and skip this audio version. Find it at your library or buy the paperback or, if you're a glutton for punishment, feel free to grab the audio and suffer like I did.


  1. Oh no. I haven't read this one but your experience sounds terrible. The narration sounds like it made it even worse. I did enjoy your review :)

    1. Thanks, Carole. Yep, this is not one I'd recommend reading on audio!

  2. I've been curious about this series. I wonder if reading it will be any better than listening to it.

    1. It certainly couldn't be worse! I'd also read them in order.

  3. Oh my I feel your pain. It sounds as if your review was more interesting than the book. :)

    1. I was so sad. I used to adore her books but not lately . . .

  4. First of all this review is hilarious! and I could not get into this series AT ALL despite usually enjoying Robert's. I started with the first one but still couldn't connect to the story.

    For What It's Worth

    1. Ah, so it wasn't just this one then? That's what I feared.

  5. Oh man. That would make me grouchy, too. I don't mind series. Love them actually. But I really appreciate it when they each also work okay as a standalone. I love her Robb books but always struggle with her Roberts ones for some reason.

    1. I've had trouble with many of her recent releases. I don't know if it's my taste changing or her writing.


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