Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1)
Lady Selene is the heir to the Great 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. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.As she discovers her family's dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people--or seeking the true reason behind her family's gift.Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also 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 execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1) Details

TitleMark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseNov 6th, 2018
PublisherBethany House Publishers
ISBN-139780764232220
Rating
GenreFantasy, Christian Fiction

Mark of the Raven (The Ravenwood Saga, #1) Review

  • Nadine Brandes
    January 1, 1970
    NEED. BOOK. TWO.
  • Bryn
    January 1, 1970
    Some books are amazing, others spellbinding and just a rare few are perfect. Mark of the Raven is all those things and more. In a fast paced plot, Busse tells a story of gifted nobles houses, treacherous plots, family secrets and murders at midnight. I love dual POVs and Selene and Damien became instant favorites (I mean, it takes talent to make me cheer and ship a twosome who might become a onesome if one party follows through with their mission off RIPing the other). But there's something else Some books are amazing, others spellbinding and just a rare few are perfect. Mark of the Raven is all those things and more. In a fast paced plot, Busse tells a story of gifted nobles houses, treacherous plots, family secrets and murders at midnight. I love dual POVs and Selene and Damien became instant favorites (I mean, it takes talent to make me cheer and ship a twosome who might become a onesome if one party follows through with their mission off RIPing the other). But there's something else that has me reaching for this book again and again - something unique. Sure, the story is exciting, the characters engaging and the stakes are high. But we've all read that formula before. Mark of the Raven stands a rare breed with another layer and level beyond plot and drama. This is a story with soul, one that reaches into the raw, vulnerable places of the human makeup. Busse doesn't shy away from hard questions, kicks to the conscience and a deep laying bare of the desperate search and need we all have for something Other. " Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." I look forward to more from this series ... like seriously, I need the next book now!! *cue pacing*
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  • Shantelle
    January 1, 1970
    Fantasy readers, be of good cheer! Another phenomenal fantasy novel has hit the Christian fiction market! Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse was an engrossing read that kept me turning pages. I've been captured by this world and these characters, and am dying to see how this intriguing story continues! Book Two in THE RAVENWOOD SAGA can't come soon enough.Morgan L. Busse does an exceptional job with world-building in this new series of hers. I was fascinated by all the different Houses and the Fantasy readers, be of good cheer! Another phenomenal fantasy novel has hit the Christian fiction market! Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse was an engrossing read that kept me turning pages. I've been captured by this world and these characters, and am dying to see how this intriguing story continues! Book Two in THE RAVENWOOD SAGA can't come soon enough.Morgan L. Busse does an exceptional job with world-building in this new series of hers. I was fascinated by all the different Houses and their histories. Their gifts, cultures, and landscapes. The House with a "How to Train Your Dragon" flavor was especially epic! *grins* And so many great characters! Despite the dark destiny of dreamwalking that calls her, I definitely loved Lady Selene and was rooting for her throughout this intense, exciting book. I also really enjoyed Damien's character. And so many others! Each one lends wonderfully to the story.Mark of the Raven is a dark, tangled tale of kingdoms clashing, danger, drama, and secrets. But it is also sprinkled through with hope and heroic characters who exude kindness, courage, and goodwill. It was interesting learning of each of the House's gifts, and heart-wrenching watching Selene living out her own "gift". This battle between light and darkness is breathtaking. Though hard, I loved Damien's story and Selene's journey. I loved how this book ended. I'm absolutely hooked. Give me more of this strong, faithful hero and wounded, ice-cold, sword-wielding lady. I can't wait to see how the light illuminates their souls and changes their kingdom.I received a copy of Mark of the Raven from the author/Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Deborah O'Carroll
    January 1, 1970
    Aaah, that was so cool! Now where’s the next book?I love a good epic fantasy and this one was awesome! The world was so rich and the characters were fantastic. The plot was a slow-burn kind of one, full of mystery and politics but enough spice of danger and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat—the rest of it did that actually as well!I love anything involving dreams in fiction so I was really excited to try this one. Like Inception in a fantasy world. :P The Dreamwalking was a cool asp Aaah, that was so cool! Now where’s the next book?I love a good epic fantasy and this one was awesome! The world was so rich and the characters were fantastic. The plot was a slow-burn kind of one, full of mystery and politics but enough spice of danger and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat—the rest of it did that actually as well!I love anything involving dreams in fiction so I was really excited to try this one. Like Inception in a fantasy world. :P The Dreamwalking was a cool aspect to the book. I particularly liked the soul aspect of it. I think I thought there would be more time spent in the actual dreamscapes, but at the same time I don’t really mind because the rest of the book was so cool too!I was so intrigued by this setting and loved the world-building. The idea of the seven nations and the Great Houses and their secrets and gifts was so intriguing. The political intrigue aspect of it was interesting instead of boring. It made me think a little of Jill Williamson’s fantasy, which is high praise from me. ;) I was pulled into this story and loved visiting these mountains, castles, secret passages, and seaside—and the different Houses were really neat. Everything had a distinct feeling and vibrant color to it and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can’t wait to return to this world and find out what happens next, as well as learn more about the gifts—and spend more time with these characters.The characters were all well-drawn and I loved them. ^_^ Selene was an interesting heroine and I felt bad for her and was always curious what she’d do next. I can’t wait to see where her story goes from here. No spoilers but... it should be interesting! ;) Damien was my absolute favorite! I loved how the story alternated between his point of view and Selene’s. It was so neat getting to see each of them from the other’s perspective. But yes, Damien was a high point of the book—I loved his passion for helping people and how he had such a good heart and tried so hard and... he was just awesome. :DI loved many of the side characters, too! Selene’s father was so great. Taegis, Damien’s mentor, who I also loved. Lady Bryren! Man, I LOVED her and the other wyvern riders and hope we’ll see more of them! (And I don’t love them, but the villains stood out too. Lady Ragna was sooo chilling.)The atmosphere of the book was just really neat—with the rich colors, the harsh beauty of the mountains, the shadows and mysteries of Rook Castle, the autumnal feel, the meetings and gala and dances, the passages and secrets, and all shot through with so many questions and interesting thoughts, a thread of faith in a unique way, and the many varied people and cultures inhabiting this world. It took me a little while to get invested in the story (maybe until meeting Damien?) but once I got into it, I lived and breathed it, and now I’m sad it’s over. There were some pretty neat twists at the end which make me super curious to read the next book! I NEED IT.MARK OF THE RAVEN was gorgeous and a little ominous and I was so intrigued the whole time, and I’m attached to these characters. It’s a touch scary a few times but is a basically clean read which I think older teens and adults alike would enjoy, and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans! :)My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of MARK OF THE RAVEN. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.Review originally posted HERE.
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  • Tricia Mingerink
    January 1, 1970
    This book is amazing! Of course, I knew it would be since I've adored every single novel this author has ever written! This one started off slow. But the sort of slow where the plot and worldbuilding are unfolding like a flower, one petal at a time. Just at the moment when I wasn't sure where this was going, stuff started happening, deceptions upon deceptions and betrayals and plots and planned assassinations, and everything just got tense and crazy. The worldbuilding is well done. Each of the H This book is amazing! Of course, I knew it would be since I've adored every single novel this author has ever written! This one started off slow. But the sort of slow where the plot and worldbuilding are unfolding like a flower, one petal at a time. Just at the moment when I wasn't sure where this was going, stuff started happening, deceptions upon deceptions and betrayals and plots and planned assassinations, and everything just got tense and crazy. The worldbuilding is well done. Each of the Houses had their own personalities, and the author does a great job of writing clearly during the scenes where multiple houses are together and a great number of characters are introduced so that even someone like me who struggles with names didn't get confused. Damien was my favorite character from the moment he stepped on the page. His introduction in this book is simply epic. Gave me chills. I still think one scene with him early on is my favorite in the whole book for how spine-chillingly awesome it is. Selene was also a really, well-done character. It would've been too easy for her to feel whiny or too passive, but the author does a great job of making the reader root for her. This is a great start to this new series, and now I am even more eager for book two! Also, I read most of this book via audiobook, and the audiobook version is well done. The narrator does a really good job!
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  • Emileigh Latham
    January 1, 1970
    After just finishing this incredible book, here are the reasons why you must read Mark of the Raven: 1. AssassinsWho doesn't like a good assassins story? Darkly clad individuals quietly moving through the shadows to do stabby things. YES!Well get this.Selene has inherited the family ability to enter people's dreams and kill them, making people believe they die in their sleep. 😱 WHAT?! Such a dark and twisted way to kill someone. Dreams are supposed to be about ancient libraries filled with books After just finishing this incredible book, here are the reasons why you must read Mark of the Raven: 1. AssassinsWho doesn't like a good assassins story? Darkly clad individuals quietly moving through the shadows to do stabby things. YES!Well get this.Selene has inherited the family ability to enter people's dreams and kill them, making people believe they die in their sleep. 😱 WHAT?! Such a dark and twisted way to kill someone. Dreams are supposed to be about ancient libraries filled with books; rivers made out of delicious coffee; amazing beasts that let you fly on their backs like dragons and griffins; and trees that grow donuts. But to go in and pull someone's ultimate fears and expand then until they have a heartattack and die is so evil! I like it. 😏😁😉2. The female leadAs always, Morgan's female leads are not the typical females asking "Who is going to take me to the ball?" Or "Will the prince fall in love with me?" Or "Will I be excepted among society?" Or "Am I beautiful? Smart? Enough?" (Don't get me wrong these are valid things.) Morgan's female characters ask "Am I a human anymore? Or am I monster? Can I be saved? Or am I too far gone?" Personally, these were the questions I struggled with as a teen and I love how Morgan addresses them in all her books.3. The character development Mark of the Raven follows the story of Selene and Damien. Both struggle with questions about their positions as rulers over their houses and about how to use their powers in leadership roles. How do they want to define themselves with the authority and power they've inherited? And, how do they want power and authority to define them? It is so organic how these questions come and follow one after the other that it makes the characters so believable.4. GET READY TO SHIP DALENE SO HARD!Speaking of Selene and Damien, OH MY FREAK! I SHIP THEM! Through the whole book, I was hanging on every interact they had. Just waiting to see when and how this was going to happen. I won't say anything but HOLY COFFEE BEANS!5. RAVENCLAWS...RAVENS! It's in the title!Represent! Even the author is a fellow Ravenclaw.6. Elemental powersNow, admittedly, we don't get to see much action in this book. We did get two crazy-powerful water scenes from Damien and that was it. But this book is part of a trilogy and there is a war coming, sooooo...I'm excited to see some elemental power smash in the future!7. The griefThis isn't a spoiler. I promise. Damien loses his family two years before the book begins. I appreciated how Morgan handled the grief. As someone that has recently lost a family member, I was able to relate to what he was feeling and experiencing.8. Everybody was clearly definedSo, I don't know what magic Morgan used to perform this amazing act but I was able to follow and keep track of who was who, what power they possessed, and where they came. There were so many people and countries and powers but I did it. I remembered every single person. I think a cake must have been sacrificed for this to have come to pass. 9. The build-upMorgan does an amazing job of slowly building up the story until the last 150 pages you just want to marathon your way to the end.10. THE ENDING!!!OH. MY. FLIPPING. FREAKING. BLAZING. STARS!!!! THAT ENDING!!! I WANT MORE SO BADLY! GAH! Luckily book 2 comes out in April 2019. Which means NOT WAITING FOR A WHOLE YEAR! But still, I HAVE TO WAIT!!! NO! 11. Basically: READ THIS!
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  • Jaime Jo Wright
    January 1, 1970
    Ridiculously delicious! I’m not a regular reader of this particular genre but am eagerly anticipating the sequel. Highly HIGHLY recommend!
  • Ralene Burke
    January 1, 1970
    In Morgan Busse's latest fantasy novel, she explores the life of a woman, a dreamwalker, as she learns about her new gifts and it's purpose in a world that is on the brink of war, both internally and from the outside. Filled with political intrigue, subterfuge, and betrayal, this tale drags the reader along for a unique experience. Although there were some spots throughout the book that were a little slow for my tastes, the story continued to pick up the pace, and by the end I was on the edge of In Morgan Busse's latest fantasy novel, she explores the life of a woman, a dreamwalker, as she learns about her new gifts and it's purpose in a world that is on the brink of war, both internally and from the outside. Filled with political intrigue, subterfuge, and betrayal, this tale drags the reader along for a unique experience. Although there were some spots throughout the book that were a little slow for my tastes, the story continued to pick up the pace, and by the end I was on the edge of my seat! Overall I enjoyed the plot and the characters, and I am definitely looking forward to Book 2.I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Laura A. Grace
    January 1, 1970
    3.5/4 starsWow! What a compelling ending! I have to admit that I thought the beginning was rather slow and just couldn’t seem to get hooked. *hides* I’m not sure if it’s because I was fairly sick when I started or not, but I also found some repetitive places that I began to found irksome.However, regardless of how I felt in the beginning and my unsureness if I would come to really like Selene, the dream walking was a unique reading experience. I haven’t read anything about dreamwalking and was v 3.5/4 starsWow! What a compelling ending! I have to admit that I thought the beginning was rather slow and just couldn’t seem to get hooked. *hides* I’m not sure if it’s because I was fairly sick when I started or not, but I also found some repetitive places that I began to found irksome.However, regardless of how I felt in the beginning and my unsureness if I would come to really like Selene, the dream walking was a unique reading experience. I haven’t read anything about dreamwalking and was very very engaged during Selene’s discovery of her new gift. Her Mother makes an interesting teacher and one that leaves you just as on edge as Selene. Damien on the other hand is a character I very strongly related to! Though I liked Selene, he was the one who really pulled my heart strings something fierce. I loved his dedication and his heart for others and just felt a strong connection with his struggles. I’m definitely intrigued to see what happens next. Selene has more discovering to do and really want to see Damien’s mission fulfilled. Hoping that good things are in store for them as well as the Seven Great Houses!Recommended to fantasy readers who want a clean read with solid characters and fascinating gifts.*(Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing me an ARC. I was not required to write a review or positive one. All thoughts expressed are my own.)*
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  • Phillip Cole
    January 1, 1970
    Selene is heir to her family's gift of dreamwalking, and is being trained by her mother to learn all the skills, including killing. But there is something that tugs at Selene, and she wonders if the glory her mother seeks is really her destiny. After walking in Lord Damien's dreams, she finds out that there may be something better.Mark of the Raven is a great story in several ways. First, the characters are well developed and relatable. Morgan L. Busse did a good job in explaining the personalit Selene is heir to her family's gift of dreamwalking, and is being trained by her mother to learn all the skills, including killing. But there is something that tugs at Selene, and she wonders if the glory her mother seeks is really her destiny. After walking in Lord Damien's dreams, she finds out that there may be something better.Mark of the Raven is a great story in several ways. First, the characters are well developed and relatable. Morgan L. Busse did a good job in explaining the personalities and appearances of the each character so that the reader could imagine how they looked and acted. Their struggles are understandable, especially as they deal with past hurts and wanting more than selfish desires. Selene is not convinced that the hatred her mother tries to instill in her is worth it. She wonders if the Light she has heard about is what she longs for in her heart.The plot moves along and hold your attention. As you read, you are caught up in the story and want to keep reading to find out how what will happen next.The story as a whole serves as a good illustration of our lives. Trying to live under our own counsel, we misuse the skills God has given us. When we follow Him, He gives us gifts and wisdom to better use our skills, and to look beyond our own lives to how we can help others. Just like the characters, we struggle with making wise choices and doing what is right, even if it is inconvenient, or worse, for us.I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I wish the second book was out. I finished it before I went to bed, and let's just say my mind was all abuzz when I was trying to fall asleep. I had a lot of weird dreams which I'm pretty sure was all the book's fault. ;) A few themes really stood out to me. Selene often asked why and sought to find the reasons behind what was expected of her. She didn't spimply accept her destiny, but examined the motivations behind it. I loved the light battling the dark throughout the book and I look forward I wish the second book was out. I finished it before I went to bed, and let's just say my mind was all abuzz when I was trying to fall asleep. I had a lot of weird dreams which I'm pretty sure was all the book's fault. ;) A few themes really stood out to me. Selene often asked why and sought to find the reasons behind what was expected of her. She didn't spimply accept her destiny, but examined the motivations behind it. I loved the light battling the dark throughout the book and I look forward to exploring it more in the next book. Sacrifice. Selene's mother killed, sacrificed others and taught Selene that following in her footsteps was her destiny. However, Selene was willing to sacrifice herself in order to do what was right and experienced what it was to have someone sacrifice themself for her.Everyone has a gift, a talent, a knack for something. Mark of the Raven really explored how different people use their gifts. Some for good, some for bad. What stood out to me was that when we use our gifts for good, for God's glory, we are truly fulfilling our destiny, the purpose God has designed for us. Sexuality: there was a very vaguely described rape scene. It was a really short moment, mostly just implied, and your deductive reasoning does the rest. It did make me slightly uncomfortable.Language: the author made up a curse word which is used here and there.Voilence: there was one scene that I can recall where someone's wound was a little gruesome. There was plenty of talk of killing and death, but was never described as a good thing. The main character comes from a family of assassins and was pressured into killing and finds it revolting. I would probably recommend this book for ages 13 and up.I appreciated how the good was good and the bad was bad and there was a stark contrast between the light and the dark. There was a lot of darkness in the book, but in the end, it was overcome by the Light.
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  • Katelyn Bolds
    January 1, 1970
    Morgan Busse weaves a dark story about the heir to the House of Ravenwood who has just learned her family's secret; her mother and the Ravenwood women before her use their gift of dreamwalking to gather information and assassinate their enemies. Now Lady Selene is stuck in a web of political intrigue, lies and betrayal while the Seven Houses ready for war with the Domina Empire. Another reviewer mentioned that it reminded her of Game of Thrones and Assassin's Creed, which I agree with completely Morgan Busse weaves a dark story about the heir to the House of Ravenwood who has just learned her family's secret; her mother and the Ravenwood women before her use their gift of dreamwalking to gather information and assassinate their enemies. Now Lady Selene is stuck in a web of political intrigue, lies and betrayal while the Seven Houses ready for war with the Domina Empire. Another reviewer mentioned that it reminded her of Game of Thrones and Assassin's Creed, which I agree with completely. The only thing that this book has that those stories do not is a thread of hope that lies within the Light. Overall, I would highly recommend this book for readers of YA and adult fantasy adventures. I might recommend pre-reading it if you have younger readers who might be put off by some non-graphic but violent content, as the book does contain assassins, war, etc.*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.*
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  • Kara
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI love a good book cover and when the cover matches the story perfectly, I am one satisfied reader. Mark of the Raven starts out really creepy, Selene is in a dark church next to her mom and sister with their people going through a ritual and that kind of sets the tone of the story for half of the book although thank goodness there are no more scenes like that one.There is also one part where it is implied that two women are raped after a caravan of unarmed people are attacked. Nothing 3.5 starsI love a good book cover and when the cover matches the story perfectly, I am one satisfied reader. Mark of the Raven starts out really creepy, Selene is in a dark church next to her mom and sister with their people going through a ritual and that kind of sets the tone of the story for half of the book although thank goodness there are no more scenes like that one.There is also one part where it is implied that two women are raped after a caravan of unarmed people are attacked. Nothing is described but it was uncomfortable reading.Selene has been marked a dreamer and that was special for me, however she is being trained to be a nightmare kind of chosen one and she is sick over it. Made me think of the movie, Frozen, because she kept telling herself not to feel in order to do her job. Elsa came to mind more than once with that mantra, except this Elsa has really cool swords.Love Taegis and Lady Bryren, best minor characters ever and I truly hope there is MUCH more of them in the sequel! Same for Renata! Same for Selene's father!Hated Lord Raoul and Captain Stanton. Lord Raoul speaks something sinister over Lady Selene at one point and I truly hope he is made to eat his words and regret ever taunting her no matter what the past has proven to be true. I really hope Lady Ragna gets redemption in the sequel but not likely to happen.There is one point where Selene asks the Dark Lady (never meet her, only spoken about) an important question in desperation. She is not given an answer and I believe that's when Selene's dark faith and loyalty are truly shifted.Even though the story was well written, it just didn't hold my attention as I hoped it would. My favorite parts of the story are when Selene talks with her father and when they watch the different houses arrive at Rook Castle. It was so descriptive learning about the other houses and their leaders. I also loved when Selene visits her baby sister."Selene knew she should go, but she couldn't make her body move. Her mind was feverishly working through the words she had just heard while her heart swelled with love for her father. Always gracious, even under Mother's harsh and unkind attitude."I also enjoyed the dream sequences, there are only a few and they are also creepy but well written. The last dream sequence was my favorite! I kept whispering, "No," as Selene explored her surroundings. Then something unexpected happens and I was like, "YES." The ending was my favorite part and totally had me glued to the pages. Lord Darien is so special and I really believe his heart matches Selene. I was also satisfied that he understood Selene's character while watching her during the gala, realizing she wasn't cold but vulnerable and uncomfortable. I'm truly looking forward to seeing what they accomplish together in the sequel.I was also reminded of Guardians of the Galaxy reading Selene's relationship with her sister, Amara. Despite me not loving the story as I hoped, I did love Selene and her heart. Selene and Amara reminded me SO MUCH of Gamora and Nebula. I believe there is more to learn with these two sisters in the sequel as well...don't want to miss that!!I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All comments are my own.
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  • Caitlyn Santi
    January 1, 1970
    5 Stars!I'm not a big fantasy reader, but the description of this one sounded so intriguing that I just had to try it! I loved this book, it was such a great read! I immediately liked the main character, Selene, and immensely enjoyed this first part of her journey from the darkness to the Light! I loved the author's writing style, and I loved that the pace of the novel was a bit on the faster side, I love stories that have a faster pace and that I don't want to put down, Mark of the Raven was de 5 Stars!I'm not a big fantasy reader, but the description of this one sounded so intriguing that I just had to try it! I loved this book, it was such a great read! I immediately liked the main character, Selene, and immensely enjoyed this first part of her journey from the darkness to the Light! I loved the author's writing style, and I loved that the pace of the novel was a bit on the faster side, I love stories that have a faster pace and that I don't want to put down, Mark of the Raven was definitely one such book! It really is so great, I enjoyed every minute of it and I cannot wait for the next book in the series! I only have one complaint and it is really pretty small, there were a couple of fictional made up swear words that were used a handful of times by the characters, but that really didn't bother me much, I just wanted to mention it as a heads up for those who might have a problem with it.I highly recommend Mark of the Raven!I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher which did not influence my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions are one hundred percent my own.
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  • Gray Cox
    January 1, 1970
    I wish this book had been out when I was twelve because I was going through my fantasy loving stage back then and this book would have been a favorite along with The Warrior of the Son series by Samuel Schiller.This book is so raw, even though it's fantasy it doesn't hold back from bringing up so many great questions about humanity and how we may be misusing the skills we have been given.Full review is up here: https://graymariewrites.blogspot.com/...
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  • Heather Gilbert
    January 1, 1970
    I was able to read this one during an ice storm, and what a fantastic read it was! I was really impressed by this and I know it’ll be something I will recommend to lots of readers of all ages. The worldbuilding was excellent, but the plotline surprised me (hard to do for a mystery author!). I enjoyed that there wasn’t an over-emphasis on romance and that it dealt more with ethical dilemmas relating to Serena’s gift. I can’t wait to get to know the well-developed characters even more in book 2! H I was able to read this one during an ice storm, and what a fantastic read it was! I was really impressed by this and I know it’ll be something I will recommend to lots of readers of all ages. The worldbuilding was excellent, but the plotline surprised me (hard to do for a mystery author!). I enjoyed that there wasn’t an over-emphasis on romance and that it dealt more with ethical dilemmas relating to Serena’s gift. I can’t wait to get to know the well-developed characters even more in book 2! Highly recommend.
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  • Suzie
    January 1, 1970
    This is book number one in Morgan L. Busse’s newest fantasy series, but don’t let the category deter you—this book will appeal to a variety of readers. Action, mystery, and the possible beginnings of romance are included in this read.Selene is a dreamwalker—she can enter people’s dreams and discover their secrets and fears. Her mother wants Selene to use her power to manipulate others to the will of their house, but Selene fights it—or tries to—by telling herself not to feel.All of houses in the This is book number one in Morgan L. Busse’s newest fantasy series, but don’t let the category deter you—this book will appeal to a variety of readers. Action, mystery, and the possible beginnings of romance are included in this read.Selene is a dreamwalker—she can enter people’s dreams and discover their secrets and fears. Her mother wants Selene to use her power to manipulate others to the will of their house, but Selene fights it—or tries to—by telling herself not to feel.All of houses in the land (each lord or lady of said houses has their own power) come to Rook Castle to discuss a treaty. Getting to know the players in this story through there houses adds great layers to Mark of the Raven.Lord Damien is intrigued by Selene. She is a fighter and there’s a coldness to her but not quite like what he sees in her mother and sister.While the setup of the book (and series) takes a little while, once readers meet Damien, the story progresses. With twists, turns, a moral dilemma for Selene, house secrets, and unexplained deaths, Busse gives readers intrigue, action, and depth.And the ending? Oh, this ending will have you clamoring for book two.Disclosure statement:I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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  • Dawn
    January 1, 1970
    This book intrigued me. I enjoy fantasy and wanted to try this one. I'll admit, I was hooked. Hooked to the point that I stayed up late many nights. Selene and Damien are interesting characters. I want to know more. I liked them both, but I really want more. I want to know more about the different gifts that the houses have. I want to find out what will happen next.I guess that you can say I'm anxious for the next book.I received a copy from the publisher in order to share my honest opinion. My This book intrigued me. I enjoy fantasy and wanted to try this one. I'll admit, I was hooked. Hooked to the point that I stayed up late many nights. Selene and Damien are interesting characters. I want to know more. I liked them both, but I really want more. I want to know more about the different gifts that the houses have. I want to find out what will happen next.I guess that you can say I'm anxious for the next book.I received a copy from the publisher in order to share my honest opinion. My thoughts are my own.Recommended to fans of fantasy. Rating - 4 stars
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  • Iryna semi-hiatus (Book and Sword)
    January 1, 1970
    What a drool worthy cover! Big thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for a digital arc of this book. My WEBSITEMy INSTAGRAMMy WORDPRESS BLOG
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars"There were no choices . . . . . . . her future was dark and bleak." As heir apparent to the House of Ravenwood, Selene has just been gifted; she's now a dreamwalker, and according to her mother, a surprisingly powerful one. Curious about an ability that the other six regions of her kingdom thought was destroyed, she listens as Grand Lady Ragna describes the seriousness of honing her skills, for she is to be the savior of her people by . . . . . . . . . . controlling the dreams of other 4.5 stars"There were no choices . . . . . . . her future was dark and bleak." As heir apparent to the House of Ravenwood, Selene has just been gifted; she's now a dreamwalker, and according to her mother, a surprisingly powerful one. Curious about an ability that the other six regions of her kingdom thought was destroyed, she listens as Grand Lady Ragna describes the seriousness of honing her skills, for she is to be the savior of her people by . . . . . . . . . . controlling the dreams of others to the point of death? It cannot, it must not, be true.Grand Lord Damien from the House of Waters is convinced that the Seven Houses must unite their gifts in order to avoid an aggressive attack from the nearby Dominia Empire. When called to the House of Ravenwood for a strategy summit, he hopes to build an alliance that will bring peace, maximizing the kind of unity that his deceased father longed to establish. Fascinated by the dark beauty residing in Rook Castle, he cannot help but wonder what kind of strength lies beneath Selene's cold veneer. . . . if he only knew, and yet, he is about to find out."A leader can serve her people by sacrifice and love." "Mark of the Raven" captures the essence of light and darkness within an ingenious package of daunting expectations and ingenious characterizations. . . . . .taking its readers on a journey that leads straight to their souls. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
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  • Nay Denise
    January 1, 1970
    Sent a copy from the publisher for review.Finished this book 20 mins before it's release day and all I can say is oh my...this was absolutely fantastic! This is an awesome read for fans of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I went into this book with no real expectations. I just knew that the synopsis sounded amazing and it's a Christian fantasy so I was intrigued by that. This surprisingly blew me away. This is my first read from Morgan Busse and I will definitely be reading more from her.Thi Sent a copy from the publisher for review.Finished this book 20 mins before it's release day and all I can say is oh my...this was absolutely fantastic! This is an awesome read for fans of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I went into this book with no real expectations. I just knew that the synopsis sounded amazing and it's a Christian fantasy so I was intrigued by that. This surprisingly blew me away. This is my first read from Morgan Busse and I will definitely be reading more from her.This book follows the lives of Lady Selene and Grand Lord Damien and their struggles with their gifts and the world they live in. Though Lady Selene is the main protagonist of the story, Grand Lord Damien gets his chapters which play a huge part to the overall plot. Both of them are such phenomenal characters with such pure hearts. They are strong in every way possible.Lady Selene has just come into her power and as the eldest daughter she is the heir to the Ravenwood house. She is not like the rest of the women from her family. She desires to be free and to help people. She desires to see peace among the people. She isn't a cold-hearted person. She plays the role well, but I loved seeing her true self shine through. She was everything her mother didn't want her to be and that was absolutely stunning! She was beautiful on the inside and the out. Such a sweet soul my pumpkin pie is (yes I call her my pumpkin pie)!Grand Lord Damien is a young man with such a huge heart. He came into his title after losing both his parents and younger brother. He is the family man and friend to many. Damien was such a sweet person. He struggled with having to kill in order to protect. I do think he focused too much on his father's dream and not enough on making his father's dream work for him (in how he could execute it). Everything about Damien made me extremely happy which why I called him my sugar plum.The romance, though non-existent, was simply adorable. I was rooting for both Selene and Damien from the third or fourth chapter. Everything about them was similar. They both wanted to use their gifts to help and protect. They also despised the idea of killing others to protect. The cuteness between them at the grand assembly made me SO happy. I hope they grow to love one another!Grand Lady Ragna...she is the WORSE mother on earth. She has allowed bitterness to overtake her life which opened up doors for evil to prevail in her life. I really couldn't stand her way of thinking at all. She was a twisted lady. As for her second oldest daughter, Amara, I just could not stand the way she acted like Ragna. I really don't want to see how twisted she becomes in the sequel.Caiaphas is the BEST father on ever! This man was pure goodness all around. Everything he did was for his daughter and to bring peace and unity. I respect him so much and hope he survives this series.The houses were all so interesting. I loved the grand assembly meeting as it showcased how the houses could truly come together if they tried to do so. The secrets between the houses really have me interested in learning more.I loved the fantasy aspects with the different gifts, but even more so I loved the reference to scripture and relation to scriptures. It was absolutely profound and made the reading experience one that I could relate to in so many ways.I cannot wait for the sequel! The cover alone has me stoked for it! Highly recommend this beauty!
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  • Maegen
    January 1, 1970
    Kind-hearted Selene inherits the family gift to see the dreams and soul of another and the heavy burden of using it to advance her family at any cost. Her gift seems more like a curse as her mother trains her to use her gift to harm others. But if she doesn’t do it, the task will eventually fall to one of her younger sisters. Selene decides she must protect her sisters even if she has to learn to turn her heart to stone to fulfil her destiny as the heiress of House Ravenwood. Lord Damien hopes t Kind-hearted Selene inherits the family gift to see the dreams and soul of another and the heavy burden of using it to advance her family at any cost. Her gift seems more like a curse as her mother trains her to use her gift to harm others. But if she doesn’t do it, the task will eventually fall to one of her younger sisters. Selene decides she must protect her sisters even if she has to learn to turn her heart to stone to fulfil her destiny as the heiress of House Ravenwood. Lord Damien hopes to unite the Great Houses to protect all of their people from the Dominion threat that once again is rising. When Selene’s mother receives a dark prophecy about a threat from the north that will Unite the Houses, but bring the end of House Ravenwood, she tasks her daughter to end that threat. Selene is horrified to learn she is expected to assassinate Lord Damien. But she must fulfil her duty to her family. When she enters his dreams she finds the warmth and light to counter the cold darkness she feels like she’s drowning in. Selene has to choose whether to fulfil her duty to her family and become a murderer or do the right thing even at the risk of her own life. My expectations for this book were pretty high. I’ve read all of Morgan’s previously published books from Enclave Publishing and I was excited to see that she had been picked up by Bethany House. I’m happy to say that I was not disappointed. If fact this book exceeded my expectations.This was a well written, cohesive and beautiful story. I loved both of the main characters, Selene who chose to protect her sisters from a sinister destiny at the cost of everything she really was and Damien who chose to protect someone he barely knew at a great personal cost (I’m not going to give any spoilers. That was the best part of the book.) Ragna Ravenwood was also a haunting character, she was a pure narcissist and if you’ve ever met one, this character will make you cringe. All of the characters were well developed and I have high hopes for the next book. I hope we will see Selene use her gift for good (especially for poor Renata). I can’t wait for the next installment of the Ravenwood Saga!Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it. Although I pre-ordered the digital version as soon as the link was available ;-)
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    "The Mark of the Raven" is the first in a brand new fantasy series from Morgan L. Busse. This was my first time reading this author, but as I thoroughly enjoyed my recent reread of Sharon Hinck's Sword of Lyric series, I decided to take a leap of faith that this might be up my alley, too.Lady Selene is the heir to House Ravenwood, one of the seven Great Houses in this realm. Our story opens as Selene receives her gift - a secret ability that has been passed on to Ravenwood women for generations. "The Mark of the Raven" is the first in a brand new fantasy series from Morgan L. Busse. This was my first time reading this author, but as I thoroughly enjoyed my recent reread of Sharon Hinck's Sword of Lyric series, I decided to take a leap of faith that this might be up my alley, too.Lady Selene is the heir to House Ravenwood, one of the seven Great Houses in this realm. Our story opens as Selene receives her gift - a secret ability that has been passed on to Ravenwood women for generations. It is the gift of dreamwalking, of being able to enter another person's dreams and thereby influence their thoughts and actions. Although she's trained her whole life to accept the role she will play in her family, Selene is surprised to learn exactly what the gift is and how things unfold as she begins experimenting with it.It soon becomes apparent that House Ravenwood has kept its gift a secret for less than honorable reasons. Selene is horrified to find that her forebears have become experts at exploitation and even murder through their dreamwalking. Knowing the same will be required of her - or worse, of her sisters if she should refuse - causes Selene to wrestle with her purpose and her calling.To the north of House Ravenwood is House Maris, where young Lord Damien must use his gift of controlling water to protect his people from invasion. Unlike some of the other Great Houses, Damien follows the Light and wants to see the Houses restored to unity as was originally intended. Damien calls together a meeting of house rulers, never imagining that such a gathering would be the perfect place for those working against him to infiltrate his dreams, as well as the dreams of others, for very different purposes.This book was hard for me to get into. For one thing, I felt like Selene was underdeveloped. We received little backstory on her, and what we did was not congruous with how she was presented on the page, making her motivations confusing. Damien was a more well-drawn character, easily understandable and accessible to me as a reader. I also had issues with some of the plot choices, and a few technical complaints about the writing itself.This story did not really seem to take off until about 200 pages in. The best thing about the book, and the reason I would be interested in reading Book 2 when it releases, was the way the Light drew Selene whenever she came into contact with Damien. This was fascinating and I cannot wait to see how it continues developing. It was an excellent reminder of the Light we hold within us.I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.This review originated at http://reviewsbyerin.dreamwidth.org
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  • Rachael
    January 1, 1970
    It's a mark of a good story when upon finishing, you want to begin reading it all over again (that is, if book 2 isn't readily available to read instead). Which leads me to the point, by far the worst thing about this book is that book 2 isn't available RIGHT NOW. Not that it's a cliffhanger per say, but that ending! I really, really want to know what happens next!I have to admit, I've had a hard time finding new fantasy novels that meet my [probably fairly high] standards. There are a lot of in It's a mark of a good story when upon finishing, you want to begin reading it all over again (that is, if book 2 isn't readily available to read instead). Which leads me to the point, by far the worst thing about this book is that book 2 isn't available RIGHT NOW. Not that it's a cliffhanger per say, but that ending! I really, really want to know what happens next!I have to admit, I've had a hard time finding new fantasy novels that meet my [probably fairly high] standards. There are a lot of intriguing stories out there, but it's hard to find ones that are both clean and captivating, complex yet not compromised. They don't have to be light and sugary sweet to meet my standards (though that's fun on occasion too)--I can handle dark deeds and poor choices, just so long as they grow and eventually choose Right. Mark of the Raven is pretty dark--Selene is basically being trained as an assassin. But even so, there's light, there's hope, and we know that Selene can be so much more than her training allows so long as she chooses Right. A lot of this book is setting up for great things to come, and I can't wait to see how Selene grows and transforms throughout the series. And it is both clean and captivating, complex yet uncompromised.Earlier this year Patrick W Carr's Darkwater Saga showed me what Christian fantasy could be--allegorical, yes, but wrapped up in such an intriguing, layered story that the allegory only enhances the story (even for me, someone who isn't all that fond of allegory). The Ravenwood Saga looks to be of the same vein. I can't wait read the next!Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for the complimentary e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
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  • C.O. Bonham
    January 1, 1970
    Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, is a gripping fantasy tale, with detailed characters and deep world building. The main setting of Castle Rook has a very Gothic feel to it, it's as though the entire building is shrouded in shadows and haunted by mystery. Completely consumed by the hate leeched off of its past inhabitants. The world building is astounding, seven great houses rule seven nation states. To help the seven houses each was given a gift. Water, Fire/Earth, Air Wisdom , healing, li Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse, is a gripping fantasy tale, with detailed characters and deep world building. The main setting of Castle Rook has a very Gothic feel to it, it's as though the entire building is shrouded in shadows and haunted by mystery. Completely consumed by the hate leeched off of its past inhabitants. The world building is astounding, seven great houses rule seven nation states. To help the seven houses each was given a gift. Water, Fire/Earth, Air Wisdom , healing, light , Courage, and Dreams. I have a soft spot in my heart for story worlds featuring hereditary elemental gifts.I can not say enough good things about this book. I loved the build up as Selene learned to use her gifts and the mystery as more of the inter house politics came to light. But most of all I loved the Characters.The third Person POV characters are Lady Selene from House Ravenwood and Lord Damien from House Maris. The former is a conflicted young woman who has just learned that she comes from a family of assassins. The later is a young man who, because of great tragedy, has found himself as the leader and protector of an entire nation. They are both well written characters who are both flawed, but yet seek to do the right thing.This is book one of a saga, so be forewarned that l you will be left wanting more, but rest easy knowing there will be more to come.*I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher for review and promotional purposes. A favorable review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own*
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  • Kelly Bridgewater
    January 1, 1970
    I have heard a number of good things about Morgan Busse's writings, but I haven't gotten around to reading any of her novels yet. Mark of the Raven was my first attempt at her fantasy novel. I enjoy Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter, so fantasy can be handled well and enjoyed. Mark of the Raven had a hint of Potter with the seven houses and the word Raven, but the similarities end there. Busse goes into a completely different direction. A direction that I actually enjoyed. I really en I have heard a number of good things about Morgan Busse's writings, but I haven't gotten around to reading any of her novels yet. Mark of the Raven was my first attempt at her fantasy novel. I enjoy Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and Harry Potter, so fantasy can be handled well and enjoyed. Mark of the Raven had a hint of Potter with the seven houses and the word Raven, but the similarities end there. Busse goes into a completely different direction. A direction that I actually enjoyed. I really enjoyed how she created Selene as a character who had a heart and wanted more of out of her life than the gift she was supposed to use. She saw the evil in it and choose a different path, even though she knew it would upset her family. Damien carries around some heavy burdens and promises to bring light to the world he lives in. The plot does have moments where nothing really happens but watching Selene use her gifts, so it became repeatable at times, but the plot moves along at a nice pace, sweeping me along for the ride. Overall, Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse is a different fantasy novel with sweeping and wounded characters. The novel ended on a cliff-hanger, and I anxiously await to see what happens next. Fans of Patrick Carr might enjoy this novel.I received a complimentary copy of Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse from Bethany House Publishers, but the opinions stated are all my own.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Mark of the Raven is an intriguing beginning to The Ravenwood Saga. It began a little slowly for me, and I really wasn't sure I'd like it at first ... in fact, I actually flipped to the end and read the final few pages when I was around the 50-page mark just to be sure I'd be OK with the ending! (Growing up, I always read the final few pages first; it's a habit I broke sometime during high school, but every so often, I still have to check out the ending first!)Overall, the book is pretty dark—no Mark of the Raven is an intriguing beginning to The Ravenwood Saga. It began a little slowly for me, and I really wasn't sure I'd like it at first ... in fact, I actually flipped to the end and read the final few pages when I was around the 50-page mark just to be sure I'd be OK with the ending! (Growing up, I always read the final few pages first; it's a habit I broke sometime during high school, but every so often, I still have to check out the ending first!)Overall, the book is pretty dark—not a surprise, considering a large portion is dedicated to Selene honing her dreamwalking gift, which her family uses to manipulate and even kill others. (I think that's why I had to skip to the end—I'm not a fan of dark novels, and I had to know everything would turn out OK.)By far, my favorite portions of the book were those regarding Damien, Lord Maris. Where House Ravenwood worships the Dark Lady, Damien follows the Light, and his story line contained a hope not present in much of Selene's story. I don't want to say much more than that, but I'm very excited to see Damien's story continue, especially as his story intertwines with Selene's.The book ends after wrapping a few things up, but there's clearly much more to come, and I can't wait to see what comes next! Disclosure of material connection: I received a copy of this for review. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Andi
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not what you'd call a fantasy fan. I read it, but I'm very picky about who I read. Mainly because the world building and language has to be comprehensible for me. I read the back cover copy to this book and I was immediately drawn to it. Morgan Busse is a new author for me, I haven't read any of her work before and I am now a huge fan.I loved this book and the story! Ms. Busse creates a world that can not only be understood, you become immersed in it and don't want to leave.Selene is a heroi I'm not what you'd call a fantasy fan. I read it, but I'm very picky about who I read. Mainly because the world building and language has to be comprehensible for me. I read the back cover copy to this book and I was immediately drawn to it. Morgan Busse is a new author for me, I haven't read any of her work before and I am now a huge fan.I loved this book and the story! Ms. Busse creates a world that can not only be understood, you become immersed in it and don't want to leave.Selene is a heroine you cheer for. She's trying to not only understand the heritage of dreamwalking but figure out why they use the information gathered to harm instead of help. Overall, this is a great fantasy read one that draws you into the story makes you feel like you have not only entered the world but feel as though you are dreamwalking with Selene.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers as a member of their blogger review program. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
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  • Hayden
    January 1, 1970
    All right, so I meant to only read the first couple of chapters of this last night...and ended up staying up way past my bedtime so I could finish it. (We did get an extra hour of sleep last night, so I tried to make excuses to myself ;) ) I honestly can't remember the last time I did that! Since I've begun college it's been very difficult for me to read a book in one sitting the way I used to, so the fact that I did that here means that I literally could not put this book down. I'll admit it di All right, so I meant to only read the first couple of chapters of this last night...and ended up staying up way past my bedtime so I could finish it. (We did get an extra hour of sleep last night, so I tried to make excuses to myself ;) ) I honestly can't remember the last time I did that! Since I've begun college it's been very difficult for me to read a book in one sitting the way I used to, so the fact that I did that here means that I literally could not put this book down. I'll admit it did take me a few chapters to get into Mark of the Raven; I'd argue the story doesn't really pick up until Damien and Selene meet face-to-face. However, eventually I got swept up in Selene's world and the politics of the Houses. I was completely captivated by the climax and I cannot wait to see what happens in Book 2.(Also, I have to wait until April for the sequel to this? Boooo!)I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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  • A.C. Williams
    January 1, 1970
    This is the kind of fantasy novel I've been waiting for. Hands down, this is Morgan Busse's best novel yet. Just enough darkness to truly represent how cruel humanity can be with a strong (but not heavy-handed) comparison to the Light of hope every Believer understands. It has all the intrigue and world building skill of Game of Thrones with an inspiring and uplifting storyline that keeps you turning pages until you completely lose track of time. Fully rounded, unique characters with truly capti This is the kind of fantasy novel I've been waiting for. Hands down, this is Morgan Busse's best novel yet. Just enough darkness to truly represent how cruel humanity can be with a strong (but not heavy-handed) comparison to the Light of hope every Believer understands. It has all the intrigue and world building skill of Game of Thrones with an inspiring and uplifting storyline that keeps you turning pages until you completely lose track of time. Fully rounded, unique characters with truly captivating personal histories help you feel like you're part of the world and a compelling cliffhanger of an ending makes me super-excited for book 2! Don't miss this brilliant book. I may go read it again.
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