This is the first book in the Signs of Seven trilogy by Nora Roberts. The storyline fills my love of horror: a trio of boys, all born on July 7, 1977, make a blood pact on their tenth birthday at the Pagan Stone, a creepy (okay, cursed) and desolate location in the middle of a forest. Every seven years after that, terrible things happen on and around July 7. With the help of a paranormal reporter who has come to town to investigate, the boys (who are now 30 years old) must figure out the mystery of the curse before it is no longer able to be contained.
The story is written in third-person point of view, but it changes perspectives to match each character. This was one of my favorite qualities of the book. When telling the story through the perspective of the ten-year-old boys, Roberts uses language that ten-year-olds would use when not under the supervision of their parents. In the scenes when the boys are grown, Roberts seamlessly shifts perspectives to allow us into the heads of the various characters. She has obviously had a lot of practice writing 😉
It’s a Nora Roberts book, so yes—there is romance. Over the course of the novel, the three guys each meet a girl who seems drawn, like them, to the mystery of the curse. It’s only wintertime, but the creepy events don’t seem to be waiting for July this time, and all six are now involved. At one point the six of them are even stuck in the same house together during a blizzard. And yet none of the situations ever seemed over-the-top. The only thing that bugged me about the book—and here I’m revealing to the world that I am the total opposite of a girly-girl—is all the flower-buying. Descriptions of flowers, guys buying flowers for girls, girls getting all goo-goo over flowers. It’s a pet peeve of mine, I guess. My husband knows never to buy me cut flowers (I love you, so I’ve gone and killed something beautiful in your honor). That, and there was a scene in which the girls were decorating their new house. Decorating and flowers. Blargh!
But yes, aside from that, I enjoyed the book. The plot is right up my alley. As the mystery begins to reveal itself, we realize that every seven years, a force seems to take over residents and animals of the town, causing them to do things they would never do: attack, go crazy, etc. After the “Hell week” is over, the residents return to their regularly-scheduled lives, often unaware that anything ever happened in the first place. The residents who realize often move away. The six heroes of the story do some heavy researching to learn that they are all—somehow—distantly related, and distantly related to what seems to be an old demon that took over a person in the 1700s. There are moments in the book when the demon (or whatever it is, as we must wait until the end of the third book to see how things wrap up) appears, and these moments are frightening and perfect for my love of horror. In one scene, the demon manifests as a giant worm-like terror that only the chosen six can see. In another instance, the power goes out, leaving a woman alone at the gym—in a darkened room that seems to be moving around her. The character development slows down the creepy plot at times, but it creates three-dimensional characters that I feel I could appreciate for three books straight.
If you like being scared, with some romance thrown in for good measure, then this is the book for you. Stay tuned, as I plan on reading and reviewing the next two books in the series.