Review: Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse
JD's rating: 4.5 out of 5 bookmarks

Note: This is Book #1 of The Ravenwood Saga. Book #2, Flight of the Raven, is coming in April 2019

I have been a fan of fantasy fiction for many years, ever since discovering The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid. I made my way through Lord of the Rings, The Archives of Anthropos, The Circle series, and others. But it was always difficult to find clean fantasy. But I have been thrilled in recent years to find that there are more wholesome reading options in the fantasy genre. And Mark of the Raven is among them.

The story is set in a world that is ruled by seven family lines called the Great Houses. Each of the Houses has a gift that they can use to assist them in governing their regions and with defense against an invasion from the Dominia Empire. Our protagonist is Lady Selene of House Ravenwood and she is next in line in her family to receive their gift and thus begins a great adventure in this nearly 350-page volume.

The opening scene introduces an integral element of the story but its setting was such an unfamiliar one that I felt very disconnected and it took a few chapters to really get oriented. But once I did, I was hooked. Busse crafts a vivid world full of attention-grabbing characters. They are wonderfully three-dimensional with relatable emotions and struggles. The way Selene wrestles with the moral questions that are brought about by her gifting is compelling.

Morgan L. Busse
As it should with any good novel, the momentum continues to build through the course of the book until everything comes to a head and Selene is forced to make a decision that will forever alter the rest of her life. And even though it was fairly obvious to me how things would play out, I didn't care. I was thoroughly invested in the characters by that point.

I thoroughly enjoyed Mark of the Raven and I really am looking forward to the next book in the series. If there are any negatives it is only that there were a couple instances of dialogue which felt a tad too modern for the medieval-like setting of the story. There is a small romantic angle, but it did not get in the way of the story and, in fact, actually enhanced the plot and fit quite well into the ethos of the world. I really loved my first foray into Morgan L. Busse's writing.

Content Advisory
Mentions of marital infidelity (though not graphic), multiple murders, typical war-related violence that you'd expect from a fantasy story with kingdom rivalries. Would recommend for male and female readers ages 15 and up.

J.D. Sutter is the producer and host of the Bookworm Banquet podcast and editor of the blog. He is the founder of Porchlight Family Media.

Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

J.D. Sutter

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