Nora Roberts is definitely one of my top favorite writers! Blood Brothers is the first in her Sign of the Seven trilogy and possibly one of the most enthralling books I’ve read in a while. A quirky mix of charming and terrifying, this book straddles the line between campy horror and the truly chill-worthy, silly romance and steaminess.

On their shared birthday, three boys celebrate turning ten by taking a forbidden hike in the local woods. At midnight, after indulging in junk food and other pre-pubescent delights, they swear a blood oath, binding themselves as brothers for life. Their combined blood breaks an ancient seal and unleashes a demon upon their unsuspecting town. From then on, every seven years, the town goes mad – burning, looting, murders, and suicides abound for one hellish week in July. While this premise may be pretty standard for the average supernatural horror novel, Roberts spices things up with real-seeming characters and witty dialogue.

The  three boys grow into strong men that the reader can relate to.  They are loyal, brave, and fiercely protective. They are also pig-headed, rather rough around the edges at times, and prone to snapping at each other when stressed. Neither saints nor bad-boys, they stay in that realm of realism that makes them all the more likable. Readers rejoice at their successes and sympathize with their troubles.

Roberts’ greatest strength as a storyteller lies in the vividness of her writing. As I read, I could clearly see every scene that she wrote. Her ability to weave the visual details into the story while keeping the action going makes this level of description enjoyable rather than tedious. Whether it be spiders and blood raining from the ceiling or the peaceful main street on a winter morning, Robert’s skill as a wordsmith enables readers to see it as clearly as she does.

At times, Roberts strays towards the silly. This becomes charming instead of eyeroll-worthy because, in the case of romance, the characters usually comment on it, and in most other cases, it is combined with enough sarcasm that it provides a good laugh (much needed relief after some of the chilling scenes in the novel).

I thoroughly enjoyed this entire trilogy. Blood Brothers sets it off to a good start with strong visual writing, good characters, and an engrossing blend of horror, humor, and romance. Hurrah for Nora Roberts!

Blood Brothers
Copyright 2007 © by Nora Roberts