Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse ~ Review

My Review:

Selene Ravenwood is the heir to her Great House, and to a gift believed by outsiders to be lost, she trains under her mother as a dreamwalker fanning the flames of other's nightmares. Selene tries to deaden herself to the pain that she is inflicting, but continues her training in hopes of sparing her sister a similar fate. Her father encourages Selene to discover other uses for her gift, and believes that she has the power to help bring the fractious houses together, if she can get out from her mother's influence.

Will Selene follow in her mother's footsteps, or choose the less sure path, risking it all and trusting a stranger with her life to bring the Great Houses together against the oncoming invasion?

I didn't know what to expect with this new series, and honestly I was on the fence as to whether I wanted to read this series or not, but I'm sure glad I did! Morgan L. Busse is a previous Christy award finalist, and I'd heard of her books before, but had never read one until now. Ms. Busse is a masterful storyteller, her world-building felt seamless and flowed effortlessly with the story.

 I was instantly drawn to Selene, she is brave, compassionate, and a loving sister, though she must hide many of her feelings behind a mask. She is good at holding the cards close to her chest, and is justifiably reluctant to trust. Selene is self-aware, protective of her sister, bound by duty, she shows the world a cold detachment while locking away her deepest feelings as if afraid to hope. Selene is the kind of heroine that I could cheer for, vulnerable, with an untapped inner strength and longing for more, for purpose.

Damian is the youngest Grand Duke, and he doesn't take his responsibilities lightly. He is a natural ruler, with a heart for the people, bearing the duty of his people's safety. He has a vision of unity amongst the Great Houses. Selene intrigues him, he sees past her mask of coldness, and can't help but be drawn to her and the secrets that she keeps.

An excellent start to a new series, I was instantly drawn into the masterfully crafted world of powerful gifts, nobility, politics, and intrigue. Selene is a brave young woman, mentally strong, with a desire to break the chains of past generations. One of my favorite characters is Caiaphas, he is a wise man who has sacrificed much in hopes of working towards peace and unity. A gripping read, from beginning to end, I liked the way that Ms. Busse brought the chill of Ravenwood's atmosphere to life, with a strong sense of urgency and intrigue. One of the best Christian fantasy books that I have read in a long time, I can't wait to read the next installment in the series!

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  1. Hallo, Hallo Faith!

    I was delighted finding that you had previously shared your thoughts on MARK! I noticed not all the readers I've been finding blogged about reading both stories, so this is a random bit of joy tonight!

    I also enjoyed Selene's father - I felt he was a bit short-changed from the plot and the arc of the series in FLIGHT; hoping he'll make a return visit with us in CRY - this is one reason I felt this needed to be longer than a trilogy. There is so much breadth of the world to explore and to entreat inside - it has this larger than life scale to it and I love that quality about it but sometimes I think by holding it to a trilogy is doing it a disservice.

    The darker this story went the more on pins I felt as I knew I could *handle!* it being an INSPY variant of the genre (ie. no graphic violence, etc) but it was how evocative and evoking Busse wrote the darker bits which I felt were not just realistically brilliant but she really delved into those elements in order to pull us forward into the quest Selene was on to right the wrongs of her ancestral past. There is so much at stake in this series!!

    Plus, too - the more I learnt of Lady Ravenwood the more I truly felt repelled by her choices and by her necessity of having to fuell her darkness with more evilness than she bargained for... the whole battle between the Dark Lady and the Light I felt was a lesson in how expansive this genre can become and how much heart you can fuell into the background.

    So very happy I found your reviews by following the tour route! Hope you'll drop by to visit with me in return.

  2. Totally agree would love to read more stories in this universe, and I'm dying to read Cry of the Raven now, don't now how I'll be able to wait a whole year!


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