Joint Review: The Pagan Stone by Nora Roberts (Sign of Seven #3)
Contemporary Paranormal Romantic Suspense
November 25 2008
Mass Market Paperback
Yummy Man – Gage Turner
Kick Ass Chick – Cybil Kinski
Years ago, after their blood brother ritual, Gage, Fox, and Caleb emerged from the woods, each with a piece of bloodstone. Now, it will become their weapon in the final fight against the demon they awakened. Winner take all…
Shared nightmares, visions of blood and fire, and random violence begin to plague the longtime friends and Quinn, Layla, and Cybil, the women bound to them by fate. None of them can ignore the fact that, this year, the demon has grown stronger—feeding off of the terror it creates. But now, the three pieces of the bloodstone have been fused back together. If only they could figure out how to use it.
A gambling man like Gage has no trouble betting on his crew to find a way. And though he and Cybil share the gift of seeing the future, that’s all they share. Were they to take their flirtation to the next level, it would be on their own terms, not because fate decreed it. But Gage knows that a woman like Cybil—with her brains and strength and devastating beauty—can only bring him luck. Good or bad has yet to be determined—and could mean the difference between absolute destruction or an end to the nightmare for Hawkins Hollow.
Julie: If you missed it, this week I’ve been over at Swept Away Again reviewing the first two books in Nora Roberts’ Sign of Seven trilogy. Wednesday I reviewed Blood Brothers and yesterday Ally and I reviewed The Hallow together. Well, we had so darned much fun that we decided to review the final book in the trilogy, The Pagan Stone, together as well. For me, it’s my first time reading this. For Ally, it’s a re-read.
Basically the Sign of Seven trilogy is about three men who, back when they were ten, accidentally unleashed a terrible demon that terrorises their beloved town and those who inhabit it every seven years. But this time around, they meet up with three women who turn out to be connected to this madness and the six of them together are trying to come up with a way to rid the town and the world of this creepy demon for good.
Now even though The Pagan Stone is about if and how this circle of friends vanquishes the demon, it also focuses on Gage and Cybil and how they unite and get their HEA.
I want to start off talking about Gage.
In the first two books, we don’t know much about him nor do we see all that much of him. He’s the resident a** hole. The man who claims not to give a darn about anyone or anything other than himself, yet comes back to Hawkins Hallow every seven years to help the town and its people deal with their troubles. He’s a bit of a bad boy (he plays poker for a living) and had the hardest childhood growing up. I must admit that I didn’t really have any feelings for Gage before reading his book. I didn’t not like him, but I didn’t love him either. I could tell he was super loyal, and thanks to that I felt respect for him, but that’s about it.
Ally: I didn’t like Gage at all. On more than one occasion I wanted someone to hit him and tell him to get over himself and that he wasn’t all that! Which is strange because when I first read The Pagan Stone I really liked Gage but now I just… don’t. I couldn’t warm up to him at all and wondered what bug had crawled up his butt because although Gage had an awful childhood he seems to be over that now yet he still acts like a jerk, mainly to Layla and Cybil. I kept wondering if this character was going to turn around and change his bad boy ways, constantly travelling, playing poker for a living and bedding women whenever he wanted to but he really doesn’t. Although he and Cybil get a Happily Ever After of sorts I was left feeling really unsatisfied with the ending with Cybil and Gage and was just like huh!? That’s it?! They aren’t the sort of couple who leap off the page at you and you instantly route for them to get together and dodge all the obstacles throw at them. I mean I liked Cybil but she could do better than Gage in a heartbeat. He’s constantly negative through the whole three books! Which really got on my nerves, his only redeeming feature for me was his friendship with Cal and Fox and although Gage knew as soon as he was old enough he would be leaving The Hollow he always returned every seven years because of his friends, because he wanted to help them and support them.
Julie: I can see how Gage would be little more obnoxious the second time around. As for his and Cybil’s relationship, I found it came out of nowhere. Even more out of nowhere than Fox and Layla’s! I mean, there was NO build-up to their getting-together in the first two books! (That kiss at the end of The Hollow doesn’t count) Even they were annoyed by their feelings. I can see how they are good together though, with how they don’t like being tied down. I just wish there was more of a courtship. But I did like Cybil. I liked her quite a bit. I actually liked her more than Quinn. *hides from Ally*
Now, in non specific terms, I want to vent for 14 seconds about what happens to all three of the women at the same time near the end of the book. WTF?! Poor Cybil with that deal! She got the short end of that stick, didn’t she?
Ally: I agree with everything you said, except I liked Quinn the best! Their (Cybil and Gage) relationship although expected really did just happen rather suddenly without any warning because the whole way through the previous two books and part of The Pagan Stone Cybil and Gage didn’t seem to even like each other nor want anything but sex from each other. Although Cybil was honest with saying how much she was attracted to Gage in the previous books.
The near ending of the book was quite hmmm and weird, but I liked it. I thought it kept with the overall theme with the three books and at times was creeped or grossed out but I think it was good. I know your giving me a funny look now because it was a bit whack but it made me feel more for Gage and Cybil and the women.
Julie: Yes, it did go with the creeped out and “oh my what the…ew” aspect of the book, but I still found it to be a little out there. Even for this book. It didn’t ruin it for me or anything. It was just…a bit much.
Speaking of creepy, the demon and the stuff he does in this series, and of course in this book, was really well written. There were many times that I wanted to throw the book down and run to hide or shake myself off because it was just that…ew. A good example would be when the spider’s came out of Fox’s computer in The Hollow. Or the crazy birds. Or when Gage went into the ‘goo’ in this book. Add the little demon-boy with the spooky eyes just sitting back and watching. Or worst, looking into the window staring. *shiver*
Ally: For me I think it’s how he mentally rapes Cybil and how Gage feels so helpless not being able to protect her, I think it’s a horrible moment but well played out. Although there are a lot of instances of violence in The Pagan Stone not just from Twisse but from Napper as well, who is the resident bully to Fox, Gage and Cal throughout the series, starting from early childhood. Napper picks on Gage and Fox really trying to hurt them but in the end good triumphs over evil.
Julie: I thought the Napper parts were entertaining (in a “you suck Napper” sort of way) but I never really understood why he was in this series.
Ally: No I’m not sure really why either now you mention it! But I did like the change it brought because it kept the Twisse part of the storyline from getting boring and shows the group working together and really being friends now. That they’re more than just strangers and that they’ve all grown and changed in some ways through the short series as it’s meant to be over a time span of 6 or 7 months so it’s not as though they can change too much. I really love the friendship’s they’ve formed and the bond’s they’ve made with the men.
Julie: The gang’s friendship and their bond is my most favorite part of this book and of this series. I said it before and I’m saying it again: Nora Roberts writes circles of friends really very well. You want to hang out with these people. Yes, even Gage. And yes, even though they are in the middle of dealing with a crazy demon dog/boy. Okay, maybe I would like to hang out with them in Toronto or something. Far away from Hawkins Hallow.
Okay, favorite quotes time. Here are my faves:
“It’ll just take me a minute. And on your suggestion? We made a deal. We weren’t going to have sex.”
“The deal was I wouldn’t try to seduce you, not that we wouldn’t have sex.”
He’d barely had the strength or the brainpower to roll off her so they could both try to get their breath back.
That hadn’t been sex, he thought. Sex was anything from an enjoyable pastime to a good, sweaty bout. That had been a revelation of near-biblical proportions.
“Well, okay,” he managed. “The surprises just keep coming.”
“I think I saw God.” Cybil’s breath steamed out in something between a sigh and a moan. “She was pleased.”
What were some of your favorite quotes Ally?
“…I’d include the fact that your pessimistic nature – which I don’t share – would sway your subconscious, or your gift, over to the get in, get off, get dead arena.”
“Did he mean me or Jenny Mullendore was a slut?” Joanne wondered. “Because honestly, I don’t see how she has time for slut activities with those two preschoolers of hers. Me, I’ve got lots of time.”
“Where’s she going?” Layla asked.
“I have no idea. Just as I have no idea why it apparently takes three grown men to cook some hamburgers.”
“One to cook, one to kibitz, and one to insult the other two.”
“Ah. Another mystery solved.” Cybil lifter her brow when Quinn dashed out with her camera.
Julie: Overall, believe it or not after all that Gage bashing and Ew-ing, I quite enjoyed this book. I found the way everything wrapped up was well done and didn’t leave me disappointed in the least. The friendships are very powerful, even though the romances aren’t super explosive. The “how do we fix this” part of the story makes these books worth reading. These are not stand alone books. You must read them in order. There are only three and they are pretty quick reads so it’s no big deal. Start with Blood Brothers, then comes The Hollow and finally The Pagan Stone.
This series is different from anything I have ever read and I am very grateful to Ally for suggesting it. It has also made me like Nora Roberts and her writing even more. She is good. Very good.
Ally: I’m pleased Julie kindly took on my suggestion of reading Blood Brothers and I’m super pleased that she became quickly hooked on the series. Overall, I still enjoyed this series as much as I did the first time I read it. However, I didn’t love The Pagan Stone as much as I did the first time mainly due to the ending with Gage and Cybil but other than that I thought this was a wonderful series and was so happy to re-read it again and be able to re-read it with Julie and be able to share my love of Nora Roberts with her and you guys!
And that averages out to 3.5 stars