4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever had that feeling when you read the title of a book, and you know you are going to start a journey that will keep you sitting on the couch for the next twenty hours? How can a book have the power to turn your day upside-down leaving you with so many different emotions in your heart? That’s what happened to me after reading Apollo’s Raven (Curse of Clansmen and Kings book 1) by Linnea Tanner. This novel is the first book of a series that involves Roman and Celtic mythology, battles, magic rituals, and romance.
A terrible curse has been placed upon the Celtic King Amren, and we see its beginning when Catrin, his youngest daughter, starts to use magic powers to become one with her raven. Through the raven’s eyes, Catrin sees a future of death, but when she tries to warn her father, it’s too late. King Amren is suddenly forced to leave to try to stop a war against the Romans who support his evil son Marrock in his attempt to steal the throne. Before leaving, King Amren asks Catrin to develop her powers to defend their kingdom in case of war and to spend time with Marcellus, the Roman counselor’s son, and find out information about Rome’s real intention. As Catrin and Marcellus’ relationship becomes deeper than friendship, another threat is endangering the kingdom. Agrona, a powerful druidess trusted by King Amren, is plotting to use Catrin’s powers to kill the king. Will Catrin find a way to stop the curse and save her father?
One of my favorite aspects of this historical fiction novel is the characters, especially Catrin and Marcellus. Since the beginning Catrin was shown as a smart and strong warrior, but as the story progresses, we see the spiritual and romantic side of her character. She loves her people, and she would sacrifice her life for them, but her love for Marcellus is just as strong, and she is not ready to choose between what’s right and what her heart wants. Marcellus is perceived as the Roman enemy from Catrin’s family and the Britons; his intelligence and confidence help him to disguise his fears and true self until his love for Catrin begins to challenge all his beliefs. I grew very fond of their relationship; they loved each other deeply, but their families, the upcoming war, and the curse brought them to doubt their love and their trust for each other. Their unpredictable connection really amazed me through the book.
The second aspect I appreciated in this novel was Catrin’s bond with her raven. Linnea Tanner did a great job when describing their meld, which wasn’t only physical, but also mental, and spiritual. Their growing connection was my hope when things were getting tough for Catrin, and her enemies were getting stronger. The language used throughout the book was refined, but accessible for every level of readers. The author didn’t leave room for the readers’ imagination since magic rituals, and erotic scenes were very detailed, their presence didn’t bother my read, but it could for others. I’m thankful to the author because her language style involved all five senses as I felt like I could see, touch, taste, smell, and hear through the characters’ actions.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. It was a fantastic journey between love and betrayal, magic and religious beliefs, history and fiction. The connections and side stories of the characters twisted the plot constantly leaving many possible endings open. I found the comparison between the Celtic and Roman cultures very instructive with many details on their attitudes, traditions, and beliefs. I recommend this book to everyone interested in historical, fantasy, and romance genre.
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