4 out of 4 stars
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Apollo’s Raven is the captivating first book in Linnea Tanner’s Curse of Clansmen and Kings series. Based in the early 1st century, the novel revolves primarily around a political conflict between the Celtic kingdoms and the waning Roman empire. Catrin, the main protagonist, is the daughter of a prominent Celtic king, whose rule is threatened by the actions of neighboring powers. Before Catrin’s birth, a powerful curse was placed on her family, predicting that her father’s rule will be destroyed by a Raven and a Blood Wolf. As Catrin learns more of her family’s troubled history, and comes to terms with her rare magical powers, she realizes that she plays a crucial role in changing the fate of her family. Along the way, she must deal with her forbidden love for the son of a Roman senator, while also discovering the importance of her mystical abilities.
This is a thrilling novel, with extremely well-developed characters, and an engaging storyline. The emotions that fuel the characters’ actions are both raw and relatable, and each new challenge reveals more about the true depth of each character’s story. In addition, because each character continues to develop to the very last page of the book, Tanner has set up an exciting conflict for the next book in this series.
One of the most compelling aspects of this novel is the multidimensionality of all of the characters, events, and stories. At times, I found myself sympathizing with characters who are Catrin’s enemies, while other scenes caused me to question the motives of her supposed allies. Each new scene demonstrates the complexity of the world in which Catrin and her family reside.
With an enthralling writing style, and a plot that never grew dull, there is little to criticize about this novel. At first, the incorporation of Catrin’s magical powers was a bit confusing, however, as the story moved forward, it became more clear how things worked. While this might be slightly frustrating as a reader, it is the mark of a successful author to be able to demonstrate the workings of the world, rather than to simply describe them.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Overall, there were almost no writing errors, the characters were compelling, and I enjoyed the plotline throughout the entire novel. I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, mystical romance, and ancient political intrigue. There is some sexual content, and I caution those sensitive to these types of scenes. I would also not recommend this book to readers under the age of sixteen, both because of the content, and because of the relatively high level of vocabulary.
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