4 out of 4 stars
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In Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner, King Amren tries to keep order in his kingdom while trying to mitigate the influences of a curse, a disowned son, and a meddling Roman Senator. His strong daughters become caught in his schemes to bring order to the kingdom, making them chose between their own happiness and duty. Amren’s youngest daughter, Princess Catrin, seduces information out of a handsome young Roman, Marcellus, at her father’s behest. She follows her heart while trying to find information to protect her country from her scheming half-brother, Marrock. There is a curse to break, and it is uncertain if Catrin’s mystical powers can help divert the curse or make it come to fruition.
This book was enjoyable to read. Characters in Apollo’s Raven were interesting and dynamic. The author took the time to add authentic information from the Celtic culture, and of Roman. It tried to show the difference between the two cultures. While reading Apollo’s Raven, I did have trouble understanding the Celtic view on women. At times, they tried to treat them as equals, offering them to choose their own spouses, but then the choice would be taken away. Queen Rhiannon had her choice taken away from her when she had to marry King Amren, and she was not upset by the prospect of doing the same thing to her own daughters. The princesses Catrin, Mor, and Vala were strong and could take care of themselves, but they had little choice in their lives. The lives of the Celtic women did seem better off than how the lives of female Romans were portrayed.
There were parts in the book that were a bit awkward. At one point, Catrin runs away from Marcellus, and she acts strangely. While it is occurring, it is difficult to understand what exactly is going on, though the situation is later explained. Catrin’s sister, Vala, feels like an unimportant character thrown into the roster for no reason. I’m not certain if she will play a more important role in the next book, but in Apollo’s Raven, she seemed there more for Queen Rhiannon’s story than anything else.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This is an excellent, well written book. There were some parts where I thought Catrin acted in an odd or awkward way, but it did not bother me enough to drop it to 3 stars. Linnea Tanner is a wonderful writer. She adds depth and gravity to her characters by researching the societies which existed during the time in which she is writing. She relates some characters to real historical figures to root the fictional characters in a time period.
Apollo’s Raven was cross between historical fantasy and romance novel. This book is a good book for anyone who enjoys saucy fantasy, though it is for adults as there are sexual scenes. If you like the book, it is a part of a series, so you would be able to read more literature written by Linnea Tanner.
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