4 out of 4 stars
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Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner is a historical fiction novel. It is the first book in Linnea Tanner’s The Apollo’s Raven Series. The book is an epic Celtic tale of love, magic, adventure and betrayal. The story is set in Ancient Rome and Britannia.
The Celtic Warrior Princess Catrin sees warships coming to the Canciaci shore. She hurries home to warn her father, King Amren. She finds that she is already late and that a Roman Senator, Lucius Antonius, is already there. The Senator has come on behalf of Rome to request the king to step down for his banished son, Marrock. Catrin soon finds herself in the middle of tense negotiations between Emperor Tiberius’ envoy, the Catuvellauni king and his father. She meets Lucius’ son, Marcellus (the great-grandson of Mark Antony), and finds herself inexplicably drawn to him. When King Amren takes Marcellus as hostage and demands that Catrin spy on him, she finds herself falling in love with him. Marcellus has also been given orders by his father to use Catrin to spy on the Canciaci people. When Catrin discovers a secret curse that tells her future, she finds herself learning the magic of the Ancient Druids in order to alter this dark prophesy that is looming over her. Catrin finds herself torn between her forbidden love for the enemy (Marcellus) and loyalty to her people. Will Catrin choose Marcellus or stay loyal to her people? Will Marcellus forsake his forefathers for Catrin? What will happen between the negotiations for peace? Will Canciaci be forced into war and will Marrock succeed in gaining his father’s throne? All these questions will be answered in this amazing book.
The main theme I encountered in this book was conflict. King Amren is in conflict with not only his son (Marrock), but with the Catuvellauni king. This conflict is hastened by Rome’s interference. Catrin is in conflict with her choices. She is both exhilarated and terrified to use the magic of the Ancient Druids. The other themes I encountered in this book were; love, betrayal, secrets and loyalty. The author uses these themes masterfully to not only make the story captivating, but to make the characters extremely entertaining.
The character development in this book was written masterfully. The author writes the book from multiple perspectives and uses the many amazing characters to do so. Catrin starts off as being meek and secretive. She does not want to reveal her magic to anyone and she is terrified of it. Catrin develops throughout the book to become confident in herself and her budding love for Marcellus. The author writes Marcellus as being conflicted and under his father’s thumb. With his connection to Catrin, he learn to forge his own path. The author used many characters in writing the book and it helped to understand the different motives and plots that drove the story. Writing from various perspectives and the well-developed characters, made me compare this book to A Game of Thrones by George R. Martin.
I would rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is because the author made the characters extremely interesting and forced me to always want to know what they were up to. I found myself wanting to read just a little bit more. The plot was incredible and I found the story flowed effortlessly. I did not encounter a single spelling mistake and nothing disrupted the flow of my reading. The only thing I did not like about this book, was the undue pressure it will force on the author. With an amazing book to start a series, I am eager to see how the author will improve on this.
I would recommend this book to all historical fiction and fantasy fans. The book is also recommended to romantic fiction fans. The author spun a tantalizing web of hidden plots in this story that I loved and I am looking forward to the sequel.
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