4 out of 4 stars
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Apollo's Raven by Linnea Tannor.
Set in 24 AD ...Southeast Brittania
Protagonist ...princess Catrin the youngest daughter of King Amren from his second wife ...Queen Rhiannon.
Marcellus Antonius ...youngest son of Lucius Antonius ...Roman senator.
The story is set in 24 AD as we follow the life and troubles of Celtic princess Catrin, youngest daughter of King Amren and Marcellus Antonius, youngest son of Roman senator Lucius Antonius. From the second they set eyes on each other, the attraction between the protagonists is clear and strong. However each of the character comes with their own history. Marcellus is well versed with the ways of pleasing women and yet finds himself completely drawn to princess Catrin's innocent charm. Princess Catrin's ambition is to be a Druidress, but she is still developing her magical powers and her father forbids her to practice magic as he believes that magical powers have always been a reason for downfall in his family history. Unknown to him though, things are being set in motion which would result in him being dependent on the very magical powers of his youngest daughter that he stops her from using. His older son Marrock, who had been banished by him years ago returns in their life with the help of Roman soldiers, and in particular Roman senator, Lucius Antonius. The senator sets a proposal in front of King Amren, where he volunteers his youngest son Marcellus Antonius to be a guest/ hostage of the Celtic King, even as King Amren joins the senator to negotiate a marriage alliance with Cunebolin who is also King Amren's rival, Marrock's father-in-law, and his strong supporter. King Amren hopes to avert a major disaster in the form of Marrock ruling his kingdom and possibly destroying his family as years ago King Amren had killed his first wife, also Marrocks birth mother, who practiced magic and threatened to destroy the king. But the queen didn't die in vain as right before her death she cursed the king that his offspring will rise as a raven, join her brother Marrock and will be responsible for the king's downfall. King Amren reveals to Catrin that she was the offspring mentioned in the curse and that the curse was fluid and only she had the capacity to change it. The king also senses that the Roman senator is not all that he claims to be and therefore the king asks his daughter to use her womanly charms to attract the Roman senator's son and get all information she could about Roman plans for their kingdom. Princess Catrin is caught between her strong attraction for Marcellus and her sense of duty towards her father and their kingdom.
Apollo's Raven is a story of first love, and attraction on the one hand, but also is about revenge and betrayal on the other side. What I liked the most about the book ....almost everything. The character descriptions, especially those of the two main characters brought them out alive in my mind. I could feel their attraction as well as their pain. Princess Catrin had to choose between her love and attraction for a compete stranger and her loyalty towards her family, especially her father.
I absolutely loved how the author brought out the humanity in each and every character, especially in the two main characters ...Marcellus and Catrin. From the second the two of them set their eyes on each other, they get pulled towards each other. But they are also tied up with their loyalty towards their respective family. However, every time they sense other to be in danger, they can't stop themselves from reaching out to help. I could feel Catrin's sense of dread every time she thought about her brother Marrock and sensed his hatred towards her. Every character had their own reasoning for the way they behaved. Marrock is constantly reminded of how his father destroyed his mother and that keeps his hatred for his family burning. King Amren is aware of what would happen to his kingdom and his family members if Marrock ever got a chance to become the ruler. Each and every character is motivated by their own reasoning and their own logic of how things should be. The characters may be fictional, but the story could be happening anywhere in today's world.
There was absolutely nothing that I disliked about the book. I therefore have to rate Linnea Tannor's book, Apollos Raven, a four out of four stars and would definitely continue with the series ...just to find out what happens to Princess Catrin and hope that she finds her true love as well as manages to save her family.
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