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Raven's End

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A young raven with no memory of his past joins a flock of his fellows in California where he learns to live all over again in his new home. A first novel. (General Fiction)

360 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2001

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Ben Gadd

17 books6 followers

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5 stars
109 (42%)
4 stars
87 (34%)
3 stars
38 (14%)
2 stars
15 (5%)
1 star
6 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for Janie.
406 reviews3 followers
December 22, 2015
Raven's End came to my shelf as a rabbit-trail result of my first-time visit to the Canadian Rockies this year. Bibliophiles, you know how it goes . . . one book leads you to another, and that one to another, almost ad infinitum.

After learning a little about the book and first searched for it, I could not find it inexpensively as a used book, but checking again later, there were a bunch of copies. So, I broke my self-imposed and bendable rule of "No more book buying until I finish reading my shelves."

I had a wee trouble getting into the book because the story was more of a children's one with talking birds. I wondered how similar it was to Watership Down which other reviewers had been reminded of, yet I personally didn't care for. I pressed on knowing the high ratings from adults for this story.

Then, I spent some time (probably way too much) on Google (or Bing) maps locating the mountains described and looking at the available "street-view) pictures and photos taken by hikers. Plus, the "earth" or "bird's eye-view maps helped me live the story through a raven's eyes as flying above the earth. That's when the story took on some real life. Having finished the book, I'm sure that part of my interest in this whole story was my oft-consuming interest in physical geography; maps can absorb my attention for hours. Now that I'm finished reading, I want to go back through the book and find all those mountains mentioned and map them...why?, I don't know. I just do!

Raven's End begins with the introductory "Yamnuska," then "Autumn," and follows the seasonal year in the Canadian Rockies.

The story is enjoyable and mostly instructive for both adults and children. For children below sixth grade, I'd suggest it as a read-aloud with map activities. If I were teaching earth science, especially if I were living near the Rockies, this book would be a literature component of my curriculum. What better way to learn than through an enjoyable story! Caveat: If reading aloud to children or assigned reading to older ones, you might want to particularly pre-read the last chapter regarding the creation.

I really wish I could hear the author speak. Not only is he an excellent writer, he knows about all this stuff that he writes. And he lives right where he writes.

While this might appear as just a children's / young adult storybook, it is feeding me with something right now, and I love it, probably because visiting that area recently has been a real highlight.

I would like to give this story five stars; I thought it was delightful. I will be generous with four only because the ending was too fantastical to me when compared with the rest of the story.

A bit more in my blog post here.
Profile Image for Kathy.
214 reviews5 followers
October 3, 2009
This is an amazing book! The story is told from the omiscient viewpoint of the ravens at Raven's End in the Canadian rockies. The main character, Colin, arrives with no warning and no memories of who he is or, indeed, much of anything. The ravens of the flock at Raven's End especially Zack, Molly and Greta are his anchor and his major sources of information.
Following them takes us on a journey of stunning beauty, day-to-day living with plenty of silliness, life and death, good and evil and a sense of discovery that encompasses far more than you would expect.

This is a magical tale, but not one of magic. It's a tale of nature and mystery, it's wonder and life and a battle between good and evil; it's a story that lives on long after the last page has turned.

Finding a copy for myself was difficult, but very, very rewarding. I just wish I could remember where the copy that I and my oldest daughter read a few years ago came from. That's a mystery.
Profile Image for Noella.
906 reviews55 followers
August 31, 2019
In het nederlands gelezen: Het Ravenklif. Heel mooi boek. Korte hoofdstukjes ook, dus het leest heel vlot. We volgen Colin, een raaf, die bij de troep van het Ravenklif terechtkomt, in eerste instantie een jaar, doorheen alle seizoenen in de Canadese Rockies, op de berg de Yamnushka. Zeer mooie beschrijvingen van het dierenleven in die omgeving, en meer bepaald van een troep raven. Natuurlijk is er ook een mooi verhaal in het boek verweven. Dit soort boeken lees ik graag.
1 review
February 28, 2019
I think Raven´s End is a very good book. Raven´s End is about a Raven named Colin, who crashes into a tree and forgets everything. A flock called the Raven´s End Flock takes Colin in and they teach him about the world he lives in. There is a lot of suspense and danger in the book. This book teaches you about the Rockies but at the same time giving you a great story. I am recommending this book because I personally really liked it, and I think other people would to. I recommend it to anyone who is between eight and fourteen.
Profile Image for Sean Anderson.
51 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2021
The author's love for his subject matter shines through every line of this book. While it is longer than it really needs to be it still felt like talking to someone about their passion and watching their eyes light up. Wonderful companion piece to Gary Paulsen, and perfect reading level for middle grade readers.
3 reviews2 followers
December 31, 2018
I had to read this book in school and it is possible that that is the reason I have such a strong dislike for this book, but it is a strong dislike all the same. This book has a lot of very beautiful descriptions and scenery of the Yamnuska and the area around. I am pretty familiar with the area so it was cool seeing it described in a book (even if it is a book I dislike). A large amount of the novel is dedicated to watching how the ravens live and most of the plot happens at the very end of the book. This style made it extremely difficult to read because it seemed like nothing was happening, or the same thing was happening over and over and we weren’t getting anywhere. When the plot did start to come together at the end of the book it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. A book based a lot in real life happenings suddenly turned into a totally mystical and strange book, and for me I just couldn’t get behind immortal ravens living in the Canadian Rockies. I think this book would be better for someone who wants to casually read it and can pick it up and read a few pages once or twice a week rather than reading large portions of it at a time.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
8 reviews
November 13, 2018
I had to read this in school and to date it is probably the worst book I have ever read. There is not spoiler warning for this review as there is no plot to spoil. It is very poorly written. It is also quite long and a very tedious read, as the only thing that happens is ravens cawing and eating. I would not recommend this book to anyone, it is terrible.
199 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2018
Read in anticipation of a visit to the Canadian Rockies. An entertaining folkloric tale and bit of a cautionary tale environmentally with palpable appreciation for the geography/terrain and native wildlife.
Profile Image for Nathanial Iles.
115 reviews
August 25, 2021
Buried somewhere in this bloated 300+ page book is a really effective short story about wildlife, nature cycles, and the Canadian Rockies. There's lots of cool ideas, stunning descriptions of the scenery, and some interesting world building; kudos to Gadd for having the courage to embed some more esoteric, spiritual ideas into the text. There's also a strong, blunt environmentalist theme.

But my God does this book meander, featuring scene after scene of nesting/birds eating/flying/etc with no direction or sense of pacing. Making this worse is the prose and dialogue; as beautiful as Gadd can describe scenery (makes sense given his background as a naturalist), his descriptions of character interactions and action are bland and utilitarian. The dialogue is all incredible stiff and formal and weirdly amateurish, especially with some of the "higher" status characters. And Colin, amnesiac as he is, makes for a boring protagonist. Constantly discovering, but never having much agency of his own.

I think if this book was half of its current length, it would be a much more effective story. It's slow, meandering, and boiler plate in its prose. This kind of pacing can work in a novel (see American God's or Lord of the Rings) but it needs a really strong ability to paint a picture and engage the reader with prose to maintain such a pace. Despite its stronger elements, this book fails to do that.
Profile Image for Natasha Fairweather.
55 reviews1 follower
August 21, 2020
Part ecological field-guide and travelogue, part mystical folk-tale. I liked this book quite a lot, although the "twist" was predictable by chapter two or three, and the mystical stuff left me entirely flat. The geographical descriptions were engrossing though, and the author did an amazing job of describing real-life animal behaviours in a personal and seamless way.

This book was recommended to me to read to my 8yo but I pre-read it and I'm glad I did. There are some graphic (but straightforward) descriptions of ravens eating dead things that I think would be too much for my sensitivr kid. Maybe in a year or two.
Profile Image for Wayne Palmer.
Author 1 book3 followers
January 7, 2019
This is one of those takes that attempts to tell a story from the view of a non-human, in this case, is a ravennin the Canadian Rockies. In this regard it does tell the story well and certainly links well with the spiritual aspects of the story which is hinted at throughout the book until it is clear where the author is going with it. Given all this, the book is an excellent and enjoyable read and you will find yourself knowing more about ravens without realising it.
Profile Image for Slambert.
14 reviews
January 5, 2020
Love reading about my Home. Good a setting the scenery and I could see each place as it was read.
Through the eyes of a Raven group on Mt Yamnuska.

Great animal pov fiction. Good for teens and adults
1 review
December 19, 2021
Beautifully written. Lovely insight into the natural world (lichen to ravens to whales and more!)
Especially excellent as I frequent the areas mentioned within and doesn’t everyone enjoy hearing about their own stomping grounds?!
1 review
November 9, 2020
If you can get over some cringe-y passages and character dialogue, this book has a lot to offer!
March 5, 2017
My all time favourite book. I read this book whenever I feel like I don't know who I am and I am in need of some inspiration.

Collin is a character who has no memory of where he comes from and meets the Raven Enders who take him in. You travel with Colin through his up and downs of not knowing where he comes from and where he is going. You fall in love with the characters even if you don't meet them for long.

Gadd takes you on a journey of growth, joy, and an eye opener that makes you want the story to continue on.

You will not be disappointed if you read the book.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,216 reviews
January 11, 2019
This book was given to me by a good friend (who owns a bookstore), or I might never have gotten far enough into it to enjoy it. It seemed that I had to let go of my dislike of anthropomorphism, but after a while I realized that Gadd was telling me more about Raven behavior than making Ravens into people and I ended up really enjoying the lovely presentation about Raven behavior. I enjoyed that the author was obviously a fan of Tolkien in the treatment of Trees with capital T. I may start saying "Oh, for the trees sake" - I mean, Oh, for the Trees sake." Gadd also notes Tolkien in his Acknowledgements and I double checked that some Canadian Rockies peaks do have names from Tolkien books or is it vice versa? I also enjoyed the name Zygadena for the evil Raven. Zigadenus (probably Zygadenus in Canada) is the Genus for the plant Death Camus (or it used to be – now it is Toxicoscordion). I wonder what other references I missed.

Early on, I suspected that Colin had been human. I read a LOT of books about mountaineering and climbing and many people die when climbing. I found it very good to think about these often young climbers having a chance to become Ravens.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Claire.
600 reviews6 followers
July 30, 2014
One thing that drew me to this book was having heard the author of The Mind of the Raven speak. Having been introduced to the intelligence of ravens, I was intrigued to hear of a book told from the raven's perspective.

The plot was well paced: I was always interested in what would happen next. Information was delayed long enough to maintain suspense without losing interest. Most of the characters were likable (one had no redeeming qualities, however). There was some apparent anthropomorphism in the thoughts and actions, especially in the young adolescent lover ravens. (I have yet to read The Mind of the Raven; maybe when I do I will change my mind.) There was room for a lot of nonintrusive instruction about the ways of nature as Colin, the crow who had lost his memory, was reintroduced to raven ways, observed other animals,and met and conversed with yet others.

There was a delightful mythic quality woven here and there as well, including a creation story from the raven's perspective.
Profile Image for Pat.
225 reviews
December 16, 2019
Well, I think I like the idea of this book and its premise more than I actually liked the reading of it. Much like the book "Watership Down", told from the animal's perspective, this book follows the lives of the ravens at Raven's End and is told from the main raven, Colin's perspective. It actually would have made a delightful short story but as a 350 page book there was a lot of dragging to the story. But there were interesting aspects about animal behaviour and funny bits about how they viewed humans.
Profile Image for Joe Minten.
41 reviews
March 18, 2012
This is a fascinating tale of personal discovery. With elements of good, evil, happy, sad, social behaviour and the environment, there's something for almost everyone. Told from the perspective of ravens, it is interesting how other animals, including humans are perceived.
I found this book especially interesting, having spend some time with the author on a couple of occasions, and also knowing the man who gave the character "Boogs" his Scottish accent.
A truly worthwhile read.
1,107 reviews36 followers
November 24, 2011
I enjoyed it enough, but was disappointed when Colin's identity was finally revealed. It felt like a bit of a cop-out. I give it 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Dena.
59 reviews
April 12, 2012
If you love animals this is the book for you. It follows the life of a group of ravens living in the icky mountains. Told in their point of view it is a magical book and is very well written.
Profile Image for Sharil.
53 reviews
July 17, 2013
This book felt like the "Watership Down" of ravens. I was a little disappointed in the wrap-up of the story though.
Profile Image for Chance Hansen.
Author 20 books20 followers
April 29, 2017
I did not finish this book.
I am not going to give it a star rating because I have this love/hate friendship with this book. I am truly confused with how I feel about it. I'll give you the positives and negatives about this book at the same time. Another thing is that I didn't finish it. (I'll explain a little later.)
First off I tip my hat to the author that was able to create a realistic book through the vision of a bird. Ben Gadd pulled off something amazing.
- First off I want to say this book is long. Like really really long. And I have a lot to say about it.
- The book is extremely boring. I struggled to get though it.
- BUT this book changed my view on ravens completely. (That is something I don't think I would ever expected to say.)
- I read 90% of this book and a fair amount did leave a good impression. (And I like it for that.)
- The characters were uninteresting BUT also really interesting at the same time. I had trouble having feeling for them when some passed on. (Sort of like having food burnt and raw at the same time.)
- Every time I see a raven I call it Colin or Dolus. Like I said boring but unforgettably interesting.
- I learned a lot about certain animals through Colin's adventures but I really didn't see the point of the adventure this book took us through. I would conciser a huge amount of this book as filler. But it's interesting and fascinating filler at that.
-Believe it or not this book actually made it's own lore and creation story all I can say about that is that it was really ODD and from what I read had no real meaning to the story.
-This book had some really weird (Unnatural) stuff going on, mostly at the end. (Reason I quit reading it.) (This was the stone that killed the book and the bird for me.

Like I said I would probably rate this book at both a FIVE star and a ONE or TWO star at the same time.
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews

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