Author: Pauline Creeden
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy
Published: October 2014 by AltWit Press
Summary from Goodreads:
Human life has value.
The poor living in the gutter are as valuable as the rich living in a manor.
The scoundrel is no less valuable than the saint.
Because of this, every life a reaper takes must be redeemed.
Raven has lived by this first tenet since she was trained by her father to become a reaper. But since his death, she’s been spending years redeeming the lives she’s taken. By her count, she’s even and it’s time for that life to end. If she settles down and becomes a wife, she might just feel human again. But on the way to the life she thinks she wants, the baron of New Haven asks her to complete a task which she cannot ignore… Just when Raven decides to give up on her life as an assassin, she’s pulled right back in.
I would like to thank Kathy of I Am a Reader for sending me a copy of Raven.
Can we just take a moment to admire the cover? By the cover alone, we are already charmed by Raven. I have not read and enjoyed a fantasy novel as captivating as this since Graceling. Raven is a compelling book that is action-packed and deals with love, trust, loyalty, romance, and redeeming one’s happiness.
The Plot: Don’t you just love it when the book is about bad-ass female assassins wanting to have peace after a lifetime of danger and bloodshed? No? Well, it is the kind I love. On her way to her childhood friend Gregory’s house, Raven had witnessed an accident resulting in her rescue of a young boy from drowning. It turned out that the boy was the younger son of the duke, Baron Darius. She was then entrusted with his life by the request of his older brother Baron Solomon. In this adventure of Raven and Darius, we see how the pair had learned and grown to trust and love other people. Although there is a hint of romance, Creeden had done a great job staying in the plot by focusing on redeeming Raven’s happiness since the death of her father by finally accepting that it was not her fault and that after everything, she still deserved to be happy.
The World Building: The setting is unique although I have not read that many fantasy novels to say nothing is like it. I remember the anime Fullmetal Alchemist with the automatons and the other mechanical stuff included. There are also witches who use and deal with alchemy. Their kingdom as well as the other places were not given emphasis though so that’s what was missing in the book. You know when the neighboring places/kingdoms are introduced to the story? In this one, there was no background story included. How were the people distributed in this place and that place? Are there other kingdoms aside from the one in New Haven? Where are the other citizens? The other nobles? How about the peasants? We know that there is a place called Ipswich because Raven and her company had traveled there and New Haven is like the central place in this world. Still, I really loved their unusual world with automatons, royal guards, and reapers.
The Characters: The characters are very likable. Some of them may be annoying and frustrating but they are driven by their own principles so it’s understandable. Raven, obviously, is my favorite character. I loved how passionate she is and she doesn’t even know it. She is very strong in every sense but also fearful. I loved how her flaws and weaknesses were presented and because of that, I really adored and appreciated her character. Captain Grant is very loyal and trustworthy. I do admit that I was not captivated by him enough to develop an adoration toward him. There was no backstory involved so that’s probably why. I felt like he was there just because. Darius and Monroe are my favorite supporting characters. I love love love children so it’s not a surprise I loved Darius. He is very adorable and mature for his age. Monroe is an amazing character. That plot twist! Love it! Creeden really got me with that one. She had also done a good job creating the villain. That’s just the kind of villain I’m looking for. Creepy, evil, selfish, heartless ones. All in all, the characters are well-developed and I liked them.
The Writing: Raven is written in third person and in dual POV, consisting of Raven’s and Captain Jack Grant’s. The writing is descriptive but precise. It is also fast-paced. I often felt like the story’s going to end but no, there’s more. I liked the plot twists. I often felt the “WHAT? NO! Shut. Up.” moment.
In conclusion, I have three reasons why you should READ THIS.
- Raven is just the kind of heroine everyone is looking for. The strong, independent, but imperfect kind of woman.
- The writing is great; very enjoyable and not boring. It’s captivating, actually.
- Darius. ♥
This is a stand-alone novel but Ms. Pauline Creeden is currently working on Darius’s story, which I am very excited for.
Pauline Creeden is an award-winning author, horse trainer, and overall book ninja. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.