An exiled man wonders if he should forsake his new life and risk returning to his homeland. A troubled girl seeks redemption for a terrible crime she has committed. A solitary tracker breaks an oath in order to communicate with an infamous, supernatural criminal. A vagabond thief chances leaving behind the world he knew for an unknown destiny.
An unlikely cast of characters, they are thrown together by chance, or perhaps by fate, willingly embarking upon an eccentric wizard’s mission to recover a magical stone: Raven’s Heart.
A piece of the “Stone of Undoing”, Raven’s Heart is deadly. Though the stone has the ability to unravel the very essence of magic, it brings Arcturus, Kariayla, Hawkwing, and Jinx together in a mission beyond individual ambition that could determine the fate of the world in which they live.
Well it took me several months to read but I’m happy to say I finally made it to the end! Raven’s Heart is a humongous undertaking into the extremely well developed world of Secramore. It was slow in the beginning as there are many characters and before really getting to know everyone I found it complicated to keep everything straight. Once, the merry band of travelers all met up (Arcturus, Kariayla, Jinx and Hawkwing) it was easy and fun reading from there, up to a point.
I really got into their journey and rooted for all of them. Arcturus was pretty straightforward, you knew what he wanted and there weren’t really very many surprises. Kariayla’s past was hinted at numerous times throughout the book and left you wondering and intrigued throughout constantly waiting to find out the mystery behind her. Jinx again was a straightforward easy going character with little surprises. Hawkwing was another character built upon by intrigue and a dark past. He was another character that you constantly wanted to know more about and at times thought you knew what was going on with him and were either pleasantly surprised you were right or perhaps mildly shocked that you were wrong and it was something else altogether.
The character’s themselves were extremely well written as was the journey itself from the start until the end of part one. At the end of part one I really felt as though it could have been the end of “Book One” with the rest to follow in a sequel. Part Two was much more disjointed as the band of travelers broke up and most went their separate ways, either by choice or by force, and the rest of the part two, the majority actually followed two new characters whom I didn’t care as much for and just wanted to get past their bit and find out what was happening with the original main characters. Of the original main characters one of them is barely in the second half as he is taken against his will and the rest then commence trying to find him and rescue him, yet he was one of my favorite characters so that was a big disappointment. Another character who plays a large role is the white demon, he comes in during part one and is very mysterious and intriguing yet once you find out more about him you genuinely care for him and wish for him to succeed in his endeavors. Yet, once he goes off on his own way you never hear from him or about him again, there isn’t even any summary of he is alive or perhaps captured at the end of conclusion of the book. I was extremely disappointed by this as I figured maybe there would be a few lines in an epilogue about him or something else small to summarize where he was and what he had been doing during the rest of the characters adventures.
I thoroughly enjoyed part one, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy, however I cannot say the same for part two of the book. While part two did hold my interest I just did not find it as enjoyable as part one. Also, as far as the writing style goes one thing that drove me crazy while reading this was the author’s use of quotation marks during large speaking parts, and there were many large speaking parts throughout this book. If one character was speaking and they broke it into paragraphs they would not end the first paragraph with quotations marks but they would start the next paragraph with them. I have never seen this before when reading and it drove me nuts! Also, the characters come across elves in part two of their journey. I have nothing against elves or the flowery language the elves used, but if you are going to employ flowery language then use the word “yes” instead of “yea”. The use of “yea” when the elves spoke seemed so out of place and really ruined reading their eloquent way of speaking, in my opinion.
Available on Amazon: Raven’s Heart (A Tale from Secramore – Epic Fantasy)
Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.
Dershik Cartaskin is the heir to the Cartaskin Barony, a distinguished and ambitious household in the Valley of Ten Crescents. When his father sets his sights higher than the Sword and the Seat, Dershik refuses to take on a legacy of unquestioned power, abandoning those he loves for their benefit and his personal desires.
Taking on the name ‘Derk’ and a life of thievery, he strives to transform his world. The Holy Church, a cunning streetswoman, a peculiar guide, a beautiful priestess and a secret organization; Derk must face them all and forge his own legacy within the Valley of Ten Crescents.
I went into Self Made Scoundrel with ideas of what it would be about already in my head. Upon reading the blurb and beginning the book I realized it was not going to be a continuation of the first and I would have to wait even longer to find out what would become of Derk and Tavi. I was very excited for this book when I thought it would be an extension of the first and a bit disappointed when I found it was not. Let me not dwell on what I thought it would be and what it really was. . .
This book does a fantastic job at further developing Derk’s character and explaining the background on how he came to be a member of the Cup and even how he acquired Tavi. In this book we learn that Derk chose his life of thievery because he finds it enjoyable and that in reality he could have had a cushy life living as a baron. Even though Derk chose a life many probably would not the author still makes it possible to feel bad for him when things go wrong, instead of saying “well you chose this life, so it’s your fault”. Overall, this is a very well written book (though it could use a second edit) and provides a lot of insight on Derk making him a character that you care about even more than the first book, or perhaps hate now that you know his history.
If you’ve read the first book, I would recommend this one as it compliments it very well. This still leaves me really wanting to find out what happens after the ending of the first book!
Self-Made Scoundrel is available at Amazon: Self-Made Scoundrel (The Valley of Ten Crescents #2)
Author’s website: www.backthatelfup.com
Book received from author in exchange for an honest review.