Of blood and bone by Nora Roberts

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Chronicles of The One book 2. Piatkus, 2018. ISBN 9780349414980
(Age: Adult - 16+) Dystopian fiction. Pandemics. Coming of age. Roberts continues with her compulsive series, writing as always in a very readable style with great characters. The first book Year One introduced many characters and the second in the series carries on with the story of Lana's daughter, Fallon Swift, who has reached the age of 13 on the farm where her mother had taken refuge with Simon, an ex-soldier turned farmer. With her gifts beginning to mature it is time to learn how to fight for good. She is taken away from the family farm by Mallick to be trained as a warrior and gifted healer as she has been identified as The One, the girl of Light who would fight against the forces of the Dark and lead her peoples to victory.
Fallon is an engaging character, showing all the signs of a young adolescent, but under the guidance of Mallick, she takes up the heavy burden that has been given to her and trains very hard and studies intensively, to be worthy of the gifts that she has been given.
Readers will follow her coming of age with interest and will be happy to return to the community of New Hope and find out what happened to characters first introduced in Year One. Roberts always has strong family ties and relationships underpinning her stories and Fallon's feelings for her family and her dead family are handled deftly and sympathetically. There is a hint of romance to come with growing feelings between her and Duncan, who has appeared to her in dreams as a grown man, and the love between Lana and Simon is a highlight of the story.
Battle scenes and devastated countryside bring the dystopian world to life and Roberts manages to combine a world devastated by a virus with elves, fairies and people who have extraordinary paranormal gifts in an unusual and believable way. There is a surprise twist at the end and the reader is left hoping for the next book in the series to find out how Fallon and her compatriots deal with the forces of evil.
Pat Pledger