*** Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own. May contain spoilers.
“They’re at the greatest risk… it takes but a nudge to push them over the edge.”
– Dana Fraedrich, Raven’s Cry
Raven’s Cry Review
The Raven’s Cry is an ode to a woman cursed by magic and a victim of a greater power told in her narrative that spans centuries. Right from the beginning readers are introduced to Calandra Allen, a noble’s daughter, with the freedom to be an oddity against society standards. The Allen family is charming and quirky, what we see of them through Calandra’s eyes that is. It is her uncle Ducky, not a blood relation but a close family friend, that evidently sends Calandra to her downfall. At a party she meets traveling mage Nicodemus. He is eccentric himself and not used to the customs of her area. The two strike a friendship that leads to a marriage proposal. Newly married and content with her life, Calandra happens upon a ritual being performed by Nicodemus that changes her life forever. Trapped as Raven during the day and tortured at night, she watches her husband steal bodies and souls to achieve immortality, stuck as an immortal herself. Will she escape? What has become of her world? Only time… will tell.
Let’s start with the set of characters we meet in Raven’s Cry. Aside from Calandra, who I will discuss later, I want to highlight the minor characters that travel through this story. From Ducky to Basira to Thomas and finally Kieran, each had a distinctness to them that separated them as individuals. I adored Ducky. Had a mixed feeling of love and hate with Thomas. As for Kieran, I didn’t get much of him to be totally swayed to his side. His story was too inconclusive. My overall satisfaction of character development can be said for all the support characters throughout. Nicodemous is an entity unto himself, not to be said likely, considered his forte in stealing souls and bodies to inhabit. I found it interesting how he digressed as a character and ultimately unraveled. His story ending was deeply dissatisfying though and I felt a little cheated at how everything went down. Then there was Calandra, for her experience is harrowing from being a quirky bookworm to a rebel spy. I found her narrative confusing at times with how it was worded, the skips in time, and some missing details… but still was able to relate to her. In the end, I just felt sorry for how everything turned out and unsatisfied by her conclusion, open-ended as it was. She never fully grew into the character she seemed aspired to be and that worried me.
The world itself is intriguing but could have been further developed besides the glimpses we see. Now since this was a novella, I understand it’s shortness, yet believe more world building could’ve strengthened the piece. I also didn’t get much of the steampunk vibe, just minor glimpses. The world itself did reflect Calandra, and since she was the narrator and a prisoner for a larger portion of the book, the plot flows with her and left room for reader interpretation and speculation. Thus, the main strength of Raven’s Cry were the characters. They were unique and refreshing and helped ease any lapses in what was going on throughout.
My interest is snared and I will need to read the other Broken Gears novels to see how the world at the end of Raven’s Cry fairs in the new century. Please note though that Raven’s Cry is a standalone.
If you want a faster paced read with quirky, intriguing characters, I recommend Raven’s Cry. The added plus is it’s loose relation to the Swan Lake. I do love a good, dark retelling.
My rating: 3.5