3 out of 4 stars
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Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner is a romantic fantasy novel set in the days where the Celts ruled over the land that is now England. Catrin is a young Celtic warrior princess who possesses magical powers she can’t yet control. She becomes embroiled in the politics of the realm when a Roman force arrives. The force is there to force her father into recognizing her half-brother as the true heir to the realm. It has been prophesized that her brother will seize control of the kingdom, murdering those in his path, as retribution for his mother’s execution when he was only a child. According to the same curse, Catrin is seemingly the only one who can stand in his way.
Complicating matters further is a young Roman soldier named Marcellus. He remains behind as a captive while negotiations proceed between the Romans and Catrin’s father. The soldier and the warrior princess forge a romantic bond that further empowers Catrin but leaves both of their futures in doubt.
The story has a fascinating premise and is situated in an interesting time. As someone who has always loved mythology, the various aspects explored in the novel were very entertaining. I liked the curse aspect and how it could be altered depending on actions taken or untaken. We didn’t see her villainous half-brother too often, but he seems like a worthy adversary, and I look forward to seeing more of him. My favorite parts were when Catrin was exploring her powers. I would’ve liked to have seen more of that in this novel. I hope that the sequels contain more about how her powers function.
The biggest negative aspect for me was the inconsistency in some characters' actions. The biggest inconsistency was in Catrin’s mother. For example, at the start of the novel, she makes a point to mention how she distrusts the king’s druidess. Later Catrin directly tells her mother that said druidess is evil. Confoundingly, her mother then insists Catrin is wrong and literally forces her to go with the woman to “get treated.” This made absolutely no sense to me. There were other instances of this as well. I hope that the author will clear these up in future novels.
I enjoyed this novel a lot, but it did have some confusing aspects. Due to this, I give Apollo's Raven 3 out of 4 stars. The book was exceptionally well-edited. It does contain scenes of a sexual nature and violence to animals and children. I recommend it to lovers of mythology, romance, and fantasy who won’t be bothered by these darker subjects.
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