Nancy O'Toole's Reviews > Raven's Shadow

Raven's Shadow by Patricia Briggs
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Feb 22, 2012

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bookshelves: fantasy, paperbackswap
Read from June 01 to 07, 2012

Recovering from ten years at war, the soldier Tier meets Seraph, a mage whose brother has just been executed. Quick thinking Tier manages to rescue the proud Seraph from slavery and brings her home. Time passes, the two become married and have children, all three whom are surprisingly blessed with magical abilities. Then Tier goes missing on a hunting trip, and is believed to be dead. It’s up to Seraph to save the day this time, but doing so will bring her up against powerful men with dangerous magic.

Patricia Briggs may be best known for her paranormal series starring Mercy Thompson, but she got her start as a traditional fantasy author. At this point, I have read a handful of her fantasy books: the Aralorn duology, which I found flawed yet satisfying and The Hob’s Bargain, which I did not enjoy. Raven’s Shadow has similarities to these title, but there are many areas where it diverges. Most of this stems from the fact that Raven’s Shadow appears to have a wider scope. Instead of focusing on a single character’s perspective (as in the Mercy Thompson Books), or a couple (as in Aralorn, and the Alpha and Omega series), Raven’s Shadow tells the stories of a larger cast of character and takes place over a longer period of time. Romance plays a comparatively small role in this book, and Raven’s Shadow doesn’t stand on it’s own quite as strongly. There’s plenty left to be resolved in its sequel, Raven’s Strike.

Raven’s Shadow wasn’t quite what I’ve come to expect out of Patricia Briggs but it’s still a satisfying read. Briggs is a character centric author, and the main cast here is quite memorable. Seraph may feel like a cold and unfeeling heroine at first, but I found her determination to be admirable. I had a similar experience with the young emperor. Two characters I particularly enjoyed getting to know where Seraph and Tier’s two teenaged sons. Another enjoyable aspect of the novel can be found in how Briggs slowly introduces us to the world around the characters. When it comes to learning about Travelers and magic there are no large info dumps. Instead the information is included rather organically as the story requires it. I believe Raven’s Shadow’s ultimate weakness to be in its ending (which is a flaw found in other works by Briggs). After a rather nice set up, the ending felt sloppy and rushed to me. There were also a handful of minor characters that become important in the book that I don’t feel were developed as much as they could have been.

Although not fault free, Raven’s Shadow is a solid traditional fantasy offering from Patricia Briggs. I will be reading the sequel, Raven’s Strike, as a result of enjoying this novel.
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Reading Progress

02/04/2012 page 36
10.0% "Reading one of Briggs's older works. Too soon to tell."
06/01/2012 page 88
25.0% "Like this so far."
06/05/2012 page 192
55.0% "Book continues to be interesting. Seems to have a wider scope than the other Patricia Briggs books I've read"
06/07/2012 page 352
100.0% "Done! Enjoyed this one, although I thought the end seemed a little chaotic. Review coming soon."

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