The Raven by Aderyn Wood is the start of a unique fantasy series starring an outcast girl in a tribal culture that is on the brink of change. We get to see Iluna’s entire childhood from her bittersweet birth to coming into her own as a woman of the tribe. This meant that there were a lot of opportunities for strong character development of both Iluna and various secondary characters. The magic and world of The Raven are intriguing and while the writing stumbled a bit, I think many fantasy readers will enjoy this story.
Note: I received an advanced copy of The Raven from the author. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Raven by Aderyn Wood (The Secret Chronicles of Lost Magic #1)
Published by Author on Dec. 1st, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 233 pages
How I got my copy: Author
Amazon - Goodreads
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When a foreign tribe attacks the peaceful Onan people, a lonely outcast is forced to reveal her secret Gift — but will such power bring acceptance?
It is the darkest time in winter, when suns, moons, and stars, all wane from the sky. In the Wolf clan, a baby is born with a powerful Gift, but dangerous omens brand her an Outcast, and the Elders name her Iluna.
Orphaned since birth, Iluna struggles to find her place in the proud and distrustful Wolf clan, but as her powers bloom, she discovers a mysterious friend.
Dark magic, war, and treachery soon jeopardize the life of every clan member; many suspect Iluna and her Gift.
Is this Outcast girl to blame, or is she salvation?
- I don’t find enough fantasy books based in tribal cultures, so it was fun to get to know Iluna’s culture as they journeyed from their summer lands to winter and meeting lands. There are also hints at what is beyond the land that Iluna grew up in, making fertile ground for lots of future adventures.
- I of course thought the magic was the best part ;-). The magic of this story revolves around a connection to the Otherworld and being able to basically spirit walk to work in that world and make changes in the physical world. There is also a heavy emphasis on totem animals and bonding with a specific animal.
- Often a story necessarily focuses on a small sliver of a character’s life. This story, however, is told in four distinct parts that tell the important parts of the four phases of Iluna’s childhood. I thought this worked well to let us see the important events that shape Iluna and lead up to the final confrontation.
- There is a romance and it is wonderfully slow burn. This is another place where seeing glimpses of many years works well to let us see this relationship shift from how young children interact to how young adults interact.
- I’m normally not a fan of prologues, but this one did exactly what it should do: gave hints at something additional going on to hook the reader while being separate from the main story. What could it mean???
- I wasn’t able to predict a number of the plot twists in The Raven. I often find myself trying to guess how everything will end up early on, and I was completely wrong!
- The writing of The Raven just didn’t work for me at times. There were commas placed artistically that just interrupted my reading and phrases that seemed to be a strange choice. It might work for other readers, but not for me.
- There were a few too many times when important events were summarized in hindsight instead of actually shown to the reader. This is a pet peeve of mine since I really want to live those experiences with the characters, not find out about them afterward.
- The middle of The Raven slows a bit from the exciting start, but once I got to the end things picked back up. Just stick with it ;-).
- I strangely feel more connected to various secondary characters than I do to the main character, Iluna. I think some of this might be that she is a quiet girl and doesn’t interact with many people, and also that we get a number of perspectives other than hers that let me connect with those characters.
The Raven is a solid fantasy with a unique world and magic. The writing stumbles at times, but the series has a lot of promise. I look forward to seeing what happens next!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
The Raven by Aderyn Wood
© 2015, Anya. All rights reserved.