Ravensblood is the first book in the Ravensblood series by Shawna Reppert.
This urban fantasy novel released in 2013.
Blurb for RAVENSBLOOD
In a life of impossible choices when sometimes death magic is the lesser of the evils, can a dark mage save the world and his own soul?
Corwyn Ravenscroft. Raven. The last heir of an ancient family of dark mages, he holds the secret to recreating the Ravensblood, a legendary magical artifact of immense power.
Cassandra Greensdowne is a Guardian. Magical law enforcement for the elected council — and Raven’s former apprentice and lover. She is trying to live down her past. And then her past comes to the door, asking for her help.
As a youth, Raven wanted to be a Guardian but was rejected because of his ancestry. In his pride and his anger, he had turned to William, the darkest and most powerful mage of their time.
William wants a return to the old ways, where the most powerful mage was ruler absolute. But William would not be a True King from the fairy tales. He would reign in blood and terror and darkest magic.
Raven discovers that he does have a conscience. It’s rather inconvenient.
He becomes a spy for the council that William wants to overthrow, with Cassandra as his contact.
Cass and Raven have a plan to trap William outside his warded sanctuary. But William is one step ahead of the game, with Raven’s life, his soul, and the Ravensblood all in danger.
Jen’s Review of RAVENSBLOOD
This is an updated review. My original review appeared on our old blog in 2015.
I received a free digital copy from the author for review consideration. My opinions are my own.
The story revolves around Cass, a Guardian who has a shady history because she, years earlier, apprenticed and fell in love with a dark mage named Raven. She has tried to put her past behind her but it still seems to follow her around.
It becomes clear she cannot escape her past when Raven decides he doesn’t want to be a dark mage anymore and asks for Cass’s help in getting out from under the control of William, the leader of the dark mages. When Cass refuses to help Raven, Raven feels he has no other way to escape William than to kill himself. At this point, Cass realizes Raven’s sincerity and intervenes.
The rest of the story revolves around Cass and Raven finding a way to stop William from gaining ultimate power.
Ravensblood is fast-paced. Even though there is much to be learned about Cass and Raven’s pasts, the story moves quickly. I only noticed one lull. Around 80%, just when you’d think that the story would speed up to get to the climax, it slows down for Raven and Cass’s partner Zack to do some male bonding. I understood why this was necessary–future actions depended upon it–but the timing seemed off.
I thought the characters were well-motivated and thoroughly developed. Cass and Raven are likable and interesting. Even though Raven has done some bad things in his past and is dark and brooding, I couldn’t help but feel for him. At least he wanted to try to do the right thing.
For some people, the romance in this book might be too dull. There is no kissing, touching, or anything else along those lines. Personally, I liked that they had some big issues to overcome. The author didn’t take the easy way out and throw them back into one another’s arms.
Shawna Reppert’s writing impressed me. It was clean and showed a level of sophistication I didn’t expect from an indie author. It goes to prove that more and more skilled writers are going the direction of self-publication. (Note: when I wrote this, I was new to the indie experience. I know better now; I see more and more examples all the time of indie books that are excellent.)
If I had to be critical, my main complaint would be that I thought the world could have been developed in more detail. It could have used some history that explained how mages came to be in our world to live among the “Mundanes.” Also, considering how much magic is present in the world, I was surprised there were no preternatural or mythological creatures, supernatural beings, gods or goddesses.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, I absolutely recommend readers check out Ravensblood. I loved this book!
Aside: Normally I don’t mention covers. I want to comment on this one, though, because I think a book this good should have a better cover. The raven is pretty, but it doesn’t give the reader any kind of sense of what this book is about. If I had just seen this cover on Amazon, I probably wouldn’t have clicked through to find out what the book was about, which is a pity.
I think this book has the potential to appeal to a lot of urban fantasy readers. It has a little romance and a lot of magefire-throwing action. I recommend it to readers who like stories about spellcasters, characters tormented by their pasts, and romantic relationships that need more trust and forgiveness.
My Rating: 5/5 stars (A)