Roberts, Nora. Heaven and Earth. New York: Jove, 2001. ISBN-13: 978-0739417058. $17.00 USD (price is for the 2015 reprint, as the price for the edition I read — the original hardcover edition — is unavailable and that edition is out of print).
The second installment in the Three Sisters Island trilogy, while not as great as great as the first, still had some of the same magic — literal and figurative — that made me love that one. And part of that had to do with the complexity of Ripley’s character. While I found myself reluctant to read her book at first, I found myself understanding her and her reasons for rejecting her powers, as well as being moved by how the history of the island informed her decision to become a police officer. While she is as prickly as she was in the first book, I think she is a great heroine.
Mac was a character who I did not expect to like either. His name, Mac Booke, is incredibly hilarious on its own, and it was somehow even funnier when he was interacting with the staff of Cafe Book. But once I got past the admittedly petty name thing, I found myself being drawn to how multifaceted he was, especially in comparison to some of the other Roberts heroes in other series I tried (and dropped). I love that he’s kind of a geek, and there are lots of jokes about that, but you can see that he’s a great match for Ripley, being able to handle her toughness, but also being able to take care of her in her vulnerable moments. And while it seems to be a thing for Roberts to have every hero and heroine in the trilogy be connected to the magical element somehow, his introduction and bond with the others felt organic rather than forced as were some of her later works I tried, with the relationships feeling just as much, if not more, about their actual feelings, than about the workings of fate.
The villain of this one was a bit of disappointment as well, with him starting off as a bit of an opportunist, and not really becoming a real threat until he became possessed. However, I love that this gave the Three the chance to team up and use their powers to vanquish evil again in a way that felt unique, as well as provide more insight into what happened to Evan following the end of the last book.