4 out of 4 stars
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Apollo’s Raven by Linnea Tanner pulled me in just from reading the synopsis. I am a huge fan of fantasy, historical fiction, and romance. I was delighted to see that this novel has all three elements. I had never heard of this author before and she wove together an intriguing story with different elements and made a great read! The relationships and personalities of the characters in the story, along with the diverse elements make this book able to draw in readers that enjoy different genres. Warning for readers, this book is intended for mature audiences. There are a couple of sex scenes that get steamy but not full-on erotica.
Readers are thrust into a kingdom of a Celtic king named Amren whose last wife foretells a prophecy that states his downfall. A new queen and three daughters later, King Amren has realized that his youngest, Princess Catrin, is one of the individuals in the prophecy. Catrin learns of the prophecy just as Romans land with the intent to back King Amren’s banished son, Marrock, as the rightful king. She struggles to learn how to hone her magic in order to prevent the prophecy from coming true. As she tries to do this, she is also in a struggle within her heart. Her growing love for the enemies son, Marcellus, threatens to consume the loyalty she has for her people.
One of the things I enjoyed about this novel is that even though it is written for adults, Catrin has a growing experience usually reserved for young adult novels. Even though she is so young, she is told to jump into more grown-up problems and decisions. She displays great courage, strength, and determination that is great to see in one of the main female characters. Especially in someone with no real life experience as well as her youth. I also loved the magical element that gives the story a whole other side to add depth to the story. The fight between good and evil is fought with varying degrees of ferocity and on different battlefields. All of these intricately woven pieces fit together to make the beginning of this series start off with a bang.
The love scenes didn’t detract from the story at all for me. Rather, they showed the growing love between two central characters. Readers that don’t enjoy love scenes of at any degree should skip this book. There are a few important details that happen right before and right after that would confuse someone who doesn’t read these parts. One thing that I didn’t like was that Vala seemed to get lost in the scramble of other scenes. She’s mentioned towards the end but the audience doesn’t know if she’s still alive or not. That may be one of the loose ends intended to stay that way until the next book, but I found it odd. Other than that, I don’t like how Catrin and Marcellus ended up but that’s a great way to keep readers wanting the next one!
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. This book didn’t have a dull moment and it was an easy, fast read. There were no points in the story that dragged. Readers that love historical fiction, as well as those who love fantasy, will love this book. There is a couple of love scenes as well as action interspersed that gives more elements to a great story. I would highly recommend this enjoyable read and I am looking forward to reading the next one!
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