4 out of 4 stars
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Magic, history, and forbidden romance are just a few things to expect within this historical fiction. Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner is the first book within a series and is great at building anticipation for the next books to follow. The plot revolves around Catrin, a Celtic princess who must destroy a curse that would otherwise destroy her kingdom. Whilst coming to terms with her growing druidess powers, Catrin struggles to choose between her budding romance with the Roman enemy Marcellus and loyalty to her family.
Catrin connects with her raven spirit guide and foresees a bad omen heading to her kingdom. Her half-brother Marrock, who was banished years before is back with a Roman army by his side to disrupt the peace. Marrock wants to enact revenge on his father whilst the Romans have their own agenda. On top of this, relations with a neighbouring tribe turn disastrous when they back the claim of Marrock as the rightful heir to Catrin’s kingdom. The king leaves to negotiate with the neighbouring tribe with the Romans to act as an arbitrator. To keep the peace, the Roman senator’s son, Marcellus is left as a hostage. Both Marcellus and Catrin are ordered by their parents to get close to each other and learn enemy secrets. They didn’t mean to fall in love.
The history in this book is well researched and even goes so far as to mention real historical figures. Tanner creates a believable world by using the religions, beliefs, and rituals that were practised by the Romans and Celtics during this time period. If you don’t know much about this particular period in history, then this book gives you some insight into the Roman and Celtic lifestyle. However, this is still a fiction and some parts are exaggerated for the story. I loved the extra details put into the book that added to the historical element. Tanner includes a map of Britannia at the beginning of the book to really help you picture the world you’re reading about. The font of the chapter names ties in nicely to that old-worldly feel. I think these small touches help the reader to transport themselves back in time.
Furthermore, I loved the intriguing plot. There was always something going on, whether that be a romantic scene, a political discussion, a magical scene, or a battle scene. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The book is told from the point of view of various characters and really lets you get behind the different thoughts and motivations of the characters. The characters themselves were all intriguing to read about, even the secondary characters.
There were a few grammar issues but they were hardly noticeable. At times I felt the colloquialism didn’t match the time period such as ‘lovely stuff’. The context in which it was used seemed to be too informal. However, these were few and far between. The ending left you with a lot of unanswered questions but this isn’t a problem knowing that this is only book one in the series.
I would recommend this book to historical fiction fans and those who love romance and magic. I wouldn’t recommend this to younger readers as the book contains graphic violence and sexual content.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars as I found this a truly magnificent read with a riveting plot. There were very few errors so I cannot fault this book, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
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