I make it no secret that I love Nora Roberts’ books. I particularly love her fantasy novels. Perhaps it is because she is amazing at world-building. Maybe it is because her fantasy worlds tend to have an Irish basis. It could be the fantasy elements are everything I love about fantasy. The truth probably lies with all three ideas. What I do know for certain is that while I might forget the plot details of her suspense and romance novels, I never forget the details of her fantasy series, of which The Becoming is the second book in her Dragon Heart trilogy.
What makes this particular series, especially The Becoming, so good is not necessarily the magic or even the fantasy realm full of faeries, mermaids, and dragons. The story shines because of the relationships among the characters. Ms. Roberts always excels at creating bonds of friendship that are better than any familial ones. This time, I believe she outdoes herself in Marco and Breen’s friendship. Their dynamic is everything you could ever want in a best friend. The selflessness, the lack of complexity, the unconditional love each has towards the other – we should be so lucky to find ourselves in one relationship even half as pure as the one between Marco and Breen.
On top of that, we have Breen’s relationship with her grandmother and new friends. Found family in every sense, there is something inspirational and hopeful about each of her new relationships. It is as if the idea of friendship does not have to be complex or fraught with hidden jealousies. It is a lesson I wish more of us would learn, as I think social media makes us forget just what it means to be a friend sometimes.
As if the charm of Marco and Breen, the lushness of Talamh, dragons, mermaids, and magicks aren’t enough, we also get the growing relationship between Keegan and Breen in this second novel. While we all know how this part of the story will end, I love how Ms. Roberts doesn’t rush their relationship. With the leadership demands of one and others’ expectations of the other, the fact that they are taking their time and not rushing to define anything tells us more about each of their characters than anything Ms. Roberts could otherwise write. The scenes in which they cave to their mutual attractions are HOT, but I relish those scenes outside of the bedroom when they are just people with the weight of the world on their shoulders trying to do right by their people.
Honestly, Ms. Roberts could publish a grocery list, and I would buy it. I love her writing style that much. Yet, when I read stories like The Becoming, I feel justification for feeling the way I do about her books. In particular, The Becoming got me out of a depressive episode and reminded me that while we might not have dragons or faeries, there still is magic in the world if you look for it. And this is only the second book of the series!