3 out of 4 stars
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Celtic Warrior Princess, Catrin learns she has a mystical and perilous ability that can lead to the success or downfall of her people. An act viewed as a bad omen, Catrin can connect with ravens. Struggling to understand the supernatural link, she meets an entrancing Roman named Marcellus, the son of her family’s enemy. It isn’t long before Catrin has to choose between staying loyal to her family, her peculiar gift, or her forbidden love for Marcellus. Between the romance, mystic abilities, and more, the reader questions if Catrin can break a curse placed upon her family years ago.
Catrin’s gift and connection with ravens along with her strengths and weaknesses made me curious. The romance between Catrin and Marcellus drew me further in. The ancient curse and its various outcomes also kept me engaged. It sees every chapter of Apollo's Raven comprises themes of honesty, loyalty, family, love, trust, and more.
There was only one error I found in all my reading of my novel, which isn’t serious as it’s only a missing quotation mark for the beginning of a conversation. Though Apollo’s Raven is the first installment of a series, it’s clear it is lacking. The plot, the characters, and magic felt underdeveloped. Not only is Catrin is gifted, but is only discovering her abilities. Reading, it confused me with the vagueness of her abilities. She appeared capable of many abilities mashed together rather than a united magical arrangement of powers. Perhaps in other books it is deeper explored, but what the author wrote is too vague.
The characters also felt as though they were lacking. They seemed made up of different traits rather than having unique personalities. When expressing one trait, it’s if that is their personality. It left me disliking a few of the characters. When Marcellus is brazen while a kinder or honorable side doesn't exist. I felt his impudence was prominent internally and externally. The only other character I felt great issue with is Queen Rhiannon. She came off horribly cruel and stubborn, which felt like a huge contrast to her initial introduction.
There were some sexual scenes and thoughts along with some disturbing scenes involving blood, death, and talks of torture. While the scenes were not heavily descriptive, I don’t recommend Apollo’s Raven to those who may take offense. I believe the love story is the highlights of the book. It depicted the depth and passion needed of the characters. It felt rushed as there doesn’t seem to be much of a relationship before a deep love blossoms. Despite this, it’s well written, and I could feel their emotions. Their connection is, perhaps, the most appealing part of this book. Aside for the one missing quotation mark, the writing is great. If the characters and plot were more developed, this could have been a great book for me.
I give Apollo’s Raven 3 out of 4 stars. The writing and settings were enjoyable, but its lack of complexity keeps me from giving it a higher rating. I recommend the book to fantasy readers who enjoy a little Roman-era history, but the history isn’t utilized as much as one may like. Regardless, there is light history applied, and it adds to the general theme of the book.
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