4 out of 4 stars
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Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tanner is a book that is a thrilling mix of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. The book begins with one of the main protagonists, Catrin, who is the daughter of King Amren of the Cantiaci people in ancient Britannia. After using the power of her raven to discover that her banished brother is returning with Roman soldiers, Catrin rushes to warn her father, only to discover that the Romans are already upon them. Forced to become a glorified babysitter for Marcellus Antonius, son of a Roman senator, Catrin worries for her father, who has gone with Senator Lucius Antonius to try to establish a treaty between Rome, the Cantiaci, and the rival Catuvellauni. Unfortunately, the longer the king is away, the closer Catrin grows to Marcellus, and the closer she gets to unraveling the secrets of what happened to her on that day many years ago when her brother kidnapped her and was subsequently banished by King Amren. The book has multiple layers and levels of intrigue, suspense, and thrill, so much so that I couldn't put the book down!
One of the things that I most liked about the book was the relationship that develops between Catrin and Marcellus as the novel progresses. As Apollo's Raven is the first of the series, I feel that there was enough foundation built to further develop their bond in later novels without making it too forced or unrealistic. From the moment they are both in a scene together, Catrin and Marcellus have a flame that burns between them, making me as the reader hope that the two of them will get their fairytale happy ending.
However, one thing about the book that I disliked the most was that the names used in the books did not always match their roots. Linnea Tanner is well-versed in history; however, there were some moments where I disagreed with Tanner's choice to use the English spelling, Marc Antony, rather than the Latin spelling, Marcus Antonius. Lucius, Marcellus' father, is Mark Antony's grandson, and yet even he refers to the famous Roman by his English name instead of his Latin name. In my mind, that doesn't add up.
Despite this, I would give Apollo's Raven a 4 out of 4 stars. This book is professionally edited, and I was unable to find more than two errors within the book. Even then, it didn't detract from my reading experience at all. Linnea Tanner excelled at weaving this story together; she is truly a gifted author, and she is exceptionally knowledgeable about this period of time. She has definitely become one of my new favorite authors of all time.
If you are a fan of historical fiction, fantasy, romance, or all three, this book is definitely for you. However, I would like to warn potential readers that this book contains various adult themes. As it takes place in ancient times, there is copious amounts of violence and gore that is explained in explicit detail. Furthermore, this book also discusses some heavy subjects including rape and murder. Also, because it is a romance book, there are a few erotic scenes, though not too many to detract from the overall experience. Potential readers should keep these things in mind when deciding whether or not to read this book.
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