Title: Ravensblood Series: Ravensblood #1
Release Date: October 31, 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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.
Also by this author: Raven's Wing, Raven's Heart
*I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
Ravensblood is the first book in the series. It is available in e-book and paperback.
I was impressed with the quality of Shawna Reppert’s writing. 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.
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.
The story is fast-paced. Even though there is much to be learned about Cass and Raven’s pasts, the story moves quickly. There was only one lull that I noticed. 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. However, 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.
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.
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 because 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 strongly recommend it to readers who like stories about spellcasters, characters tormented by their pasts, and a romance that needs a lot of fixing through trust and forgiveness.