Shannon (Giraffe Days)'s Reviews > The Tower of Ravens

The Tower of Ravens by Kate Forsyth
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's review
Nov 07, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: fantasy, favourite, australian-women-writers
Read in January, 2005

** spoiler alert ** This is the first book in a follow-on trilogy from Forsyth's first series, The Witches of Eileanan, which I haven't read. The characters from that first series are older and largely in the background here, with the spotlight going to Rhiannon.

A satyricorn girl who didn't grow her horns, Rhiannon escapes her herd by taming a winged horse, but not before she is forced to kill a man. She falls in with some travelling witch-apprentices on their way to the Theurgia, the witch school, in the capital Lucescere. The body of the dead man is found in the river when they pass through a town, and soon enough she is found out.

To get to the capital quicker, with the news that the Righ's messenger, Connor, is dead and to deliver his killer, Rhiannon, they take a short-cut which brings them to the Tower of Ravens. There Rhiannon and Lewen, a student at the Theurgia, discover that the Lord of Fettercairn is a necromancer, and has killed dozens while learning how to resurrect his dead brother, a crazy sorceress called Margrit of Arran, and his nephew.

Several plots interweave and then, at the end of The Heart of Stars (the third book), untangle into one, more or less. Rhiannon is an engaging protagonist, unrefined, frank and passionate, and the books move along at a steady pace. There are many magical creatures, most of them refreshingly original, or new takes on more traditional ones. Elves become three-eyed Celestines, there are Fairgeans (creatures of the water), bogfaeries, skeelies, winged princes, flying horses, beast whisperers, witches, sorcerers and ensorsellors (that's a hard word to spell and even harder to pronounce!), but it never for an instant seems contrived or overcrowded, perhaps because each character and their race, species, abilities and quirks, are taken in stride and never puzzled over. It's certainly a rich tapestry.

I would like to read the first series, but I find it hard when I know, now, how it ended, and which characters later died. It's too sad to go over again. But I will look out for her next book.
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