4 out of 4 stars
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A curse from the lips of a Druidess sentenced to death foretells the downfall of King Amren and the Cantiaci Kingdom. “The gods demand the scales be balanced for the life you take. If you deny my soul’s journey to the Otherworld by beheading me, I curse you to the same fate as mine. I prophesy your future queen will beget a daughter who will rise as a raven and join your son, Blood Wolf, and a mighty empire will overtake your kingdom and execute my curse.”
The Celtic Kings are locked in struggles for power. Tensions are high when an envoy from Rome comes to the Cantiaci Kingdom to meet with King Amren and declare the support of Rome for King Amren’s banished eldest son, Marrock. As negotiations become heated, the life of the Roman Senator’s son, Marcellus Antonius, is threatened. The quick thinking of Catrin, the youngest Cantiaci warrior princess, saves the life of the handsome young Roman. Knowing that she is the raven from the curse, Catrin must choose between loyalty to her family and kingdom, or her forbidden love of Marcellus, the enemy. Will Catrin be able to summon the power to alter the curse, or is she bound by fate to be the destruction of everything and everyone she loves?
Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner expertly weaves a tale that combines some of the histories of Celtic Kingdoms with intrigue, forbidden love, and magic, to create a compelling story that held me captive from the first page until the last page. Tanner manages to effortlessly balance detailed descriptions, well-written dialogue, and exciting battle scenes that aren’t overly graphic. The narrative changes points of view between Catrin, Marcellus, and Marrock. These shifts keep the story compelling and give the reader a greater understanding of what is happening on various sides.
While the author has done a lot of research on the Celtic tribes in Britain and the history of the Roman Empire, the historical aspect is loose and doesn’t offer a lot of background into the Celtic tribes or their customs. In the Author’s Note, Linnea does mention that the ancient Celts left very few written records making the research arduous. The gods mentioned in the book are from the Roman pantheon which made it easy to look up the one or two I came across, other than Apollo, that I was not familiar with. There were a couple of erotic scenes in the novel where the euphemisms got a little flowery, but it wasn’t terrible.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The story was engaging, and I only found a few minor errors that did not detract from the enjoyment at all. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys coming of age tales or fantasy. Those who are looking for a novel that contains more of a historical aspect may want to skip this novel, and because of the erotic scenes, I would advise against it for younger readers as well.
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