Today is a lovely day—after a week of sickness, I finally feel human again!
I’m delighted to share with you a story about some special humans that I read recently. And if that transition was a bit clunky, have some mercy on me. My brain isn’t fully up to par yet.
Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.
As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy—a legacy that supports her people—or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.
Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.
One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?
I made the unfortunate mistake of thinking book 2 was already out when I began Mark of the Raven (it comes out at the end of April, just in time for you to finish this one ;) ). While I’m used to waiting a year or more for the next book in a series to be written, this one took me by surprise and has been quite painful to wait for.
Why? Because it was such a lovely book—and I need more!
Selene is an interesting protagonist in a difficult situation. I loved how Busse tweaked some fantasy tropes to tell a story that is unlike any I’ve read so far. There was a depth to the political, personal, and philosophical/theological landscape of the story that shows a lot of work and effort, and it drew me into its depths. I became invested in the characters early on, and that investment continued.
The suspense built and built as the story progressed, and though this is very much the beginning of a series, it still stood on its own feet well. I am firmly rooting for a couple of the characters, and I can’t wait to see more of what dreamwalking can be. There are also many other special powers (or “gifts”) held by characters in this series, and I look forward to seeing them play more into the story!
I also really appreciated that there were some slight hits at romance, but it did not overpower the story. Mark of the Raven managed to be very powerful while also very clean, and that is a rare and wonderful find.
If you like fantasy, dreams, cultures, tension, and a hint of angst, Mark of the Raven is just waiting for you to pick it up here. (It might even be on sale right now, because it was when I looked yesterday :) )
Have you read Mark of the Raven? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
A couple updates:
“Irellia the Night Walker” comes out on Saturday, March 23rd! I’m so excited to share her story with you! For now, you can add this short story to your Goodreads TBR here.
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2 thoughts on “Featured Story: Mark of the Raven”
Hallo, Hallo —
Travelling through my WP Reader in search of readers who have read the Ravenwood Saga – as I shared a double-featured review for both “Mark of the Raven” and “Flight of the Raven” today over on my blog during #WyrdAndWonder – an event I co-host every May to celebrate Fantasy. Being that this series left an impression on my heart and my imagination alike I wanted to continue to champion it and see how other readers felt as they made their way through this delightfully complex world!
Before I continue reading your thoughts – I wanted to say I understood your sentiments about ‘feeling human’ — I never thought I’d obtain that status again, as I had 4x migraines this May and it left me wrecked, frustrated and horridly fatigued! I am unsure how I’ve bounced back from that to read as much as I have been – still more to finalise this weekend but *this!* series by Busse?? I am wicked addicted to absorbing myself into her vision for it!!
Also – your book photography is awesomesauce! Love how the flowers merge into the cover art – your technique reminds me of my own.
I *do!* agree with you!! This isn’t a series to read lightly or to read when there is a defient of next installments – my heart thundered in my ears realising I had to await next February before “Cry of the Raven” would release!!! Talk about feeling heartbroken!
I was happily residing in this world for a few of the same reasons – I truly dislike graphic violence & strong language (even though I’m a hybrid reader of mainstream & INSPY Lit) — knowing this was under the INSPY umbrella that took those concerns off the table. Yet, it was how Busse approached her layering of this dramatic character arc and the central threading of the House gifts and their legacies from their ancestral pasts — countered into the conceptional back-histories of the families and the presence of their ‘souls’– honestly, there was so much to *love!* it is hard to pin it down!
Thrilled to bits I found a reader who was just as delighted with this author as I was myself!!
Hi Jorie, thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for the story! It is certainly delightful :)