Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Secret Ones Secret Ones
by Nicole Murphy
Harper Voyager

Supplied for review by Harper Collins New Zealand

Reviewed By: Simon Litten

Secret Ones is Nicole Murphy’s first novel, although she is a dab hand at short stories having had several published in the Australian small presses that specialise in speculative fiction.

I was about thirty pages into Secret Ones when I realised I was not the target audience for this book. Secret Ones is first and foremost romance, with the fantasy elements an obvious second. So it was with mulish pride that I read to the end of the book.

The secret ones at the centre of the book are the gabba, or Irish fairy folk, who pass for human but aren’t; the gabba Maggie Shaunessy and Lucas Valeroso in particular and the traps and deviations in the path of their becoming a matched pair.

Now adjusted from the sugar shock of reading a romance, I found that the romance story worked and followed the usual plotting conventions – regrettably, the fantasy elements were poorly executed and caused me more difficulty and dissatisfaction with the story so much more than the romance. To begin with: a population group that breeds at one or two off-spring a generation is on the road to extinction not growth (and don’t get me started on the magic)!

But if you like your romance mixed with the para-normal or fantasy, then this is a good book with two sequels in the works. If, like me, you like your fantasy to at least acknowledge the real world before moving off in a hallucinogenic haze then I suggest you try something, anything, else. I think I need to read a physics book to recover.

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