MARK OF THE RAVEN
Dreamwalker. Nightwatcher. Lady of Ravenwood.
Lady Selene has come into her family's power. But has she inherited a gift or a curse?
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. Soon after the gifting, however, Selene discovers that the Ravenwood women have been secretly using their gift to gather information or to assassinate those responsible for the fall of House Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire hundreds of years ago.
As she becomes more entrenched in Ravenwood's dark past, Selene longs to find out the true reason behind her family's gift, believing that its original intent could not have been for such evil purposes, but she is torn about upholding her family's legacy -- a legacy that supports her people. Selene's dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations -- but who is also prophesied to 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 likely death. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?
Whoa! I'm not quite sure how to write a review for this one! A bit of a departure from my usual reading material because, though I love fantasy, I'm rather picky about which books I choose. A speculative fiction story either grabs me or it doesn't and I'm not sure I can even tell you what the yay or nay factors are but I can tell you that Mark of the Raven not only grabbed me, it swallowed me whole and refused to regurgitate me until the very end...which is more of a beginning, really. Agh! There's so much I want to say and so much I can't say...ha! I'm like Lady Selene, bound by secrets I cannot share.
Busse has done some really creative world-building -- a kind of Medieval fairy tale ambiance with a lot more edge! I mean, seriously -- a dreamwalking would-be-assassin heroine?! What a hook! And I liked Selene right from the start, even though the burden of her gifting is beginning to blacken her soul. Such inner turmoil as she struggles with wanting to be the kind of dark leader her mother claims she needs to be while not quite able to let go of what is true and noble and kind. Some parts of her story were hard to read and I kept shouting at her to find a better way but unfortunately, she wasn't dreamwalking in my dreams so it didn't do her (or me) any good!
Grand Lord Damien is the stuff legends are made of. The kind of hero who puts the welfare of his people before himself. Eager to carry on his father's legacy and bring peace to the nation, he attempts to unite the seven ruling Houses in order to create a stronghold that will keep their common enemy from invading their lands. Treachery, politics, secret alliances...Busse spins an intriguing tale around the age old theme of good versus evil which includes a compelling inspirational thread.
This is the first book in The Ravenwood Saga, and like most fantasy novels, the story doesn't exactly draw to a conclusion as much as it lines things up for the next book. So definitely a cliffhanger ending, but there's enough resolution to keep me somewhat satisfied until Flight of the Raven releases in April 2019.
Book provided by Baker's Publishing Group and Graf-Marting Communications Inc.
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