Official Review: Roan by E. R. Barr

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Jennifer Allsbrook
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Official Review: Roan by E. R. Barr

Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Roan" by E. R. Barr.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer by E.R. Barr immerses readers in the unique reality of a little Wisconsin town called Tinker’s Grove with a blend of myth, otherworldly powers, and mysterious shapeshifters known as the Roan. In the opening pages, readers experience the death-defying escape of Walter Johnson, a fisherman of Tinker’s Grove, from a gruesome river demon named Piasa, and then meet Conor Archer on the streets of Chicago. Conor suffers an attack by a biker, and as he rushes home, Conor encounters a woman washing in a public fountain who speaks prophetically about Conor’s future. Conor arrives home to find his ailing mother dying as she urges him to return to his hometown of Tinker’s Grove. Conor boards a bus and thus begins the “Tales of Conor Archer.”

The story’s beginning sequence sets the stage for twists and turns that constantly surprise the reader in a classic tale of good versus evil. Barr’s characters exhibit depth and a rich variety of backgrounds from simple townsfolk to mystical dwellers of the hollow hills near the town. Conor arrives in Tinker’s Grove gravely ill and grieving the loss of his mother, which is enough to up-end the most stable of people emotionally, but add to that arriving alone and knowing no one, and you have a situation that would crush most teenagers. Conor meets his Aunt Emily and many supportive people in the town and against the odds, Conor rises to the challenges that he must face. He discovers that he is the son of Madoc, who is a mound dweller and something other than human, and that the "fate of two worlds" depends on his actions. Conor begins to change and realizes that he has “second sight,” interesting physical abilities, but he desires to retain his humanity. These facets of Conor make the reader pull for him in his ultimate quest to prevail over evil.

Barr creates supporting characters that range from friends like Beth and Jace Michaels, Father Abbott Malachy, and his dog Troubles to enemies like Dr. Nicholas Drake, Caithness McNabb, and her sons. Purity, goodness, and strength on the one hand versus cunning, inhumanity, and evil on the other, keep the reader guessing as to the fate of Conor, the people of Tinker’s Grove, and the forces of good and evil in the world. Barr’s worldbuilding provides richness, believable yet surreal situations for his characters, and steeps them in mysticism and mystery.

I enjoyed the scientific and mystic aspects that clashed in this story through the actions of Dr. Drake, a genetic researcher and founder of DIOGENE in Tinker’s Grove, who also exhibited shaman-like characteristics in his servitude of the river monster, Piasa. In this character, Barr creates the perfect villain: smart, charismatic, and evil to the core. Dr. Drake’s research of the “dark ones”- inhabitants of the Grove who exhibit animal-like characteristics - puts him on the path that ultimately could destroy Conor and all he has grown to love. When the increasing conflicts lead to battle, I enjoyed how each character, both good and evil, had a part to play. Each conflict becomes increasingly fierce, and tension builds throughout the story.

Overall, there was nothing that I did not like about this story. The chapters were short and flowed together well. Stories full of myth and legend require details that provide the threads that tie the story together into a coherent whole. Barr proved exceptional at this allowing readers to empathize with the protagonists, appreciate a sense of community within Tinker’s Grove, and understand how the past and present realities of the Grove brought Conor to accept his fate and be a hero for the people. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and stories where good prevails over evil. I rate this story 4 out of 4 stars! I look forward to seeing what comes next for Conor in future installments of Roan: The Tales of Conor Archer. On a further note, I not only read the book but also listened to the audiobook for this story. The narrator of this audiobook, Alan Ross, brought the story to life with amazing accents, different voices, and unbelievable singing talent. I would recommend the audiobook as well!

******
Roan
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Post by kandscreeley »

Nice review! I have yet to read this one, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks!
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Jennifer Allsbrook
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

kandscreeley wrote:Nice review! I have yet to read this one, but it sounds like something I would really enjoy. Thanks!
It is a great read and I enjoyed the audiobook very much as well. I am a biologist so the genetic component of the story made it even better for me! Thank you for the nice comments and I hope you find time for this book!
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Post by kislany »

Great review. You really made me curious about this fantasy book. Mythology and paranormal are two things I can never get tired of reading.
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Post by Snowflake »

This isn't really one of my preferred genres, but it sounds like this was a book well done!
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

kislany wrote:Great review. You really made me curious about this fantasy book. Mythology and paranormal are two things I can never get tired of reading.
Thank you for the positive comments. This book is full of mysticism and mythology and Celtic legends.

-- 26 Sep 2017, 17:56 --
Snowflake wrote:This isn't really one of my preferred genres, but it sounds like this was a book well done!
It is definitely worth the time invested to read it!!
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The book cover was captivationg enough but the story is so much more interesting; and it is even more interesting because of the review.
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Post by Heather_Mc »

First off, I'm intrigued by the mythical and mystical themes you described in the book. It sounds like it has a Celtic flavor to it, and anything Celtic is right up my alley. Second, I don't usually listen to audiobooks, but it sounds like this one was excellent! Maybe I'll check that out some time.

This was a wonderful review. It made the plot and the characters pop out and hook my interest. I also loved your descriptions of the texture and layers of the story. After reading your review, I've got another one for my reading list. Thank you so much! :)
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Post by Zupanatural »

Nice review, Jennifer :) It's no easy thing to produce a truly compelling story (I can't say I'm a massive fan of Dan Brown but he really is excellent at this) but it sounds like the author has managed to pull it off here.
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

GPM wrote:The book cover was captivationg enough but the story is so much more interesting; and it is even more interesting because of the review.
I liked the cover as well on this one, but what's on the inside pulls you in and keeps you there. I hope you check it out.

-- 02 Oct 2017, 21:02 --
Heather_Mc wrote:First off, I'm intrigued by the mythical and mystical themes you described in the book. It sounds like it has a Celtic flavor to it, and anything Celtic is right up my alley. Second, I don't usually listen to audiobooks, but it sounds like this one was excellent! Maybe I'll check that out some time.

This was a wonderful review. It made the plot and the characters pop out and hook my interest. I also loved your descriptions of the texture and layers of the story. After reading your review, I've got another one for my reading list. Thank you so much! :)
Thank you for the kind comments. This story is one of my favorites and I hope the sequel comes out soon. I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Conor next. I read this book when it was BOTM and participated in the discussions. I was looking for a new book to review and was provided with the free audiobook. I listened to the whole thing in the car each day to and from work. Amazing job by the narrator!! Please enjoy!

-- 02 Oct 2017, 21:02 --
Zupanatural wrote:Nice review, Jennifer :) It's no easy thing to produce a truly compelling story (I can't say I'm a massive fan of Dan Brown but he really is excellent at this) but it sounds like the author has managed to pull it off here.
Thank you! Check this one out!
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Post by Josebrish »

Currently reading this, hoping to find it interesting

-- 10 Oct 2017, 11:14 --

This was a wonderful review, and I find it interesting and awesome
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

Josebrish wrote:Currently reading this, hoping to find it interesting

-- 10 Oct 2017, 11:14 --

This was a wonderful review, and I find it interesting and awesome
Thank you for the positive feedback!! :D
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Post by Quinto »

Great review. The plot is quite intense. I hope to read it soon.
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook »

Quinto wrote:Great review. The plot is quite intense. I hope to read it soon.
Thank you! You will love it if you are a science fiction fan or enjoy stories with supernatural elements!
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Post by Piyali27 »

Great review! :) I have always liked paranormal novels, and this one sounds quite intresting. I will definitely read it. Thanks for the review :)
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