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Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle

(Gabriel Finley #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  995 ratings  ·  248 reviews
A tangle of riddles, a malevolent necklace called a torc, and flocks of menacing birds: these are just some of the obstacles that stand between Gabriel and his father, Adam Finley, who has vanished from their Brooklyn brownstone. When Gabriel rescues an orphaned baby raven named Paladin, he discovers a family secret: Finleys can bond with ravens in extraordinary ways. Alon ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  995 ratings  ·  248 reviews

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Start your review of Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle (Gabriel Finley #1)
Some parts of this book really reminded me of certain characters and objects in Harry Potter. The plot is a bit similar to me. This is not about wizard, though. It’s about raven. It’s about a 12 yo boy named Gabriel Finley who can speak with raven. Something like parselmouth, lol. And most of all, it’s about riddle. Pretty interesting, right? That keywords: riddle and raven, are the main reasons why I put this book into my cart. And surprisingly, I did enjoy the plot, though I couldn’t help myse ...more
Jeff Raymond
Closer to a 1.5, honestly.

This book is truly a bit of a mess. It doesn't know if it's a fantasy book, or a horror book, or a book centered around riddles, or a book centered around birds, or a book about animal companions, or a book about animal zombies/vampires. It could be all of these things, or it could be about none of them at all.

And did I mention it's a book for kids?

The story is incredibly long for what it is, has very cardboard characters and a far-too-confusing premise for the audience
Amy Neftzger
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
George Hagen does a masterful job of writing an interesting story while integrating riddles into this action packed middle-grade work of fiction. Designed to appeal to readers who enjoy wordplay and word puzzles, this book does a great job of keeping the reader's interest in the characters and plot as Gabriel seeks to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance.

An example of one cleverly written passage includes the Chasm of Doubt which the children must cross in order to rescue Gabriel's fa
Nov 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
The reason I read this book was because the back of the book said, "For fantasy lovers who have worn out their copies of Harry Potter." However, this book was very disappointing to me. I found it very unappealing, the content and theme were bad, and the story idea itself was poor. I would not recommend this book to ANYONE... It was that bad. ...more
C Dussault
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this advanced reader copy.
This action packed book keeps you really interested as you wonder what will happen next. With likable characters and funny riddles through out the book, it is sure to be a hit with young readers.
Kathy Davie
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
I suspect this is the first in a series, although Hagen hasn’t given it a name yet. It’s a fantasy for middle-grade readers, and the story is based in Brooklyn.

A special thanks to NetGalley and Schwartz & Wade for allowing me to enjoy this eARC.

My Take
This truly was great fun with a unique twist incorporating vampirism. It's a combination of family, bullying, shapeshifting of a sort, and my favorite part, the riddles. Why is it my favorite? Because I can figure most of them out!! Woo-hoo! Usuall
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Brenda by: NetGalley
Shelves: fantasy, netgalley
I love Norse Mythology and was happy to see that Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle is based on the myth of Huginn and Muninn. Although, I wish Hagen had included some more detailed information at the end of the book in an authors note to the reader about the origins of the myth. But, it's a small quibble and encouraged me to do some research online for myself. I found that Huginn means "thought" and Muninn means "desire" and these two ravens were thought to be helpers to the god Odin, kinda ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Talking birds, an impossible underground city, a magical necklace, and an epic quest? George Hagen’s middle-grade fantasy, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle has all this and more!

Three years ago Gabriel’s father went missing. Riddle-loving Gabriel is sure his father is out there and that he must find him. With the help of a raven name Paladin, some unexpected friends, and unimaginable powers, Gabriel sets off on a wild adventure to an underground, bird filled city to rescue his father and st
Julia Nashif
A twelve year old buy would probably enjoy this. Me? Not so much. (NetGalley pre-approved me for it).

But thanks anyway, NetGalley and Random House Children's, for this free book to review!

The plot was a cool idea (taking down an evil bird man) but not for me. I liked reading it, but I had zero connection to it.

The characters, while fun to read about, were shallow (I did like Gabriel, though. He was funny and nice. Woo hoo!) But Pamela's greatest fear was losing her violin? What...? I'm pretty su
Ryan Callahan
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book because it had a lot of imagination that was fun to read. Also the fantasy was very interesting. I loved how riddles could save people's lives while some thought riddles were not important so they did not care about them. I also loved how the staff made people feel they were protected when in reality it just gave them confidence. ...more
Oct 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A long time ago ravens were actually one of man's best friends. Some humans and ravens would have very strong connections to each other. That all changed during a war. As ravens stood over their fallen or dying companions, one mangled bird with a glowing yellow eye flew onto the battle ground. It would visit each raven and ask if they wanted to know how to live forever. Each time he asked, the ravens would scoff, say that nobody could live forever, and return to there morning. All except one. Th ...more
leslie delgadillo
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs, favorites
what do you call a country where drives everybody pink automobile? A pinkcar-nation! this riddle might be a silly one but what if I told you it would save people's life? I know,I wouldn't believe me either. but it did in this book when Gabriel needed to get something important as for to stop a person from messing up the world he got it back and saved his friends who were in a bit of trouble as well! this all happened because of one simple & silly riddle.the genre of my book would be fantasy beca ...more
MrsK Books
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
At the time, Gabriel "didn't know anything about ravens..." but he liked riddles because he enjoyed unlocking them and trying to discover the double meanings in the words: When is a door not a door? Now just for a moment, think about what it would be like to be raised in a home where instead of sports... riddles were your daily challenge, entertainment, and connections with your father. You will realize just how much of a "riddle master" Gabriel's father truly was if you accept this "riddled" j ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gabriel Finley is a near orphan...his mother is presumed dead and his father has been missing for three years. He lives with his dad's sister, who assures Gabriel his father will return eventually, but otherwise, gives him very little information. As Gabriel nears the age of 12, lots of things begin to happen at once. He learns more about his grandfather, uncle, and father, and their special relationship with ravens.

It seems that long ago, ravens and humans communicated freely. In more recent ti
Julia O'Connell
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Loved the premise of this book, but wasn't thrilled with its execution. The story revolves around talking ravens who communicate in riddles and form bonds with human partners. A twelve-year-old boy named Gabriel forms such a bond with a young raven named Paladin and embarks on a quest to rescue his father from his evil uncle and solve the mystery of a magic torc. Along the way, he becomes close friends with the violin-obsessed Pamela and his wacky neighbor Abby. Even the misunderstood bully, Som ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have never been one of a riddler, I get bogged down in the details and then I get all confused and forget where I was going in the first place but after reading Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle I was getting pretty good. The secret I found is not thinking too deep, just look for the obvious answers and then put all the pieces together. Perhaps if my father had given me riddles every day like Gabriel’s did, I might be a whiz like him. Looking at the cover of this book you would never see the ...more
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Designed for middle grade readers on up, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen has moments of delightful fancy, as well as demonstrations of family love and the determination of one boy to find the father he thought he had lost forever. A little on the dark and serious side, Gabriel goes son a mission to uncover the truth of what happened to his father several years before. Tales of cursed ravens abound and the only way to tell a good raven from a bad rave is to give them a riddl ...more
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Genre: Fiction

Age Recommended: 12 and up

This book is well-written and has an amazing concept with raven and human body-switching.

This book is an ARC, courtesy of NetGalley. It will be published on October 28, 2014.

Gabriel Finley and The Raven's Riddle


Gabriel Finley lives with his aunt. His mother died and his father disappeared a while ago. Gabriel finds out that long ago, people and ravens were best friends. They co
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
This was quite a disappointment after all the hype. The riddles were alright although they got rather old, the storyline wasn't bad if rather familiar, and I did like the idea of being able to merge and speak with ravens, but the writing was just so trite and condescending.

Most of the characters were shallow caricatures meant to teach some specific lesson, like the embarrassing creation of the misunderstood, bullying dunce who is only terribly violent because his daddy beats him, but all he rea
Maria Mullinaux
Jul 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
George Hagen’s Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle (Random House Children’s Books, 2014) is a MUST HAVE for public libraries. Some reviewers compare it to the Harry Potter books, and It IS one of those rare books kids and teens will enjoy reading on their own and adults will enjoy reading to their younger children or for themselves – it’s that well written.

But this fantasy for young readers isn’t another story about magicians. It’s a quest, with an 11-year-old hero, Gabriel, the clever raven
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy
Closer to 3.5, because I couldn't really get into it until the last third.
This is the standard “boy finds out he’s special and heads off with friends on an adventure to save the world” story. It stands out from the hundreds of similar stories thanks to an ingenious twist of raven myths and copious amounts of riddles.
There’s a character for everyone to empathize with and it deals with some serious issues in ways that won’t get a kid down but teach them to look at things from different perspectiv
Received from Netgalley for review.

Edit: We got this from the library on audio and finished it. Still not crazy about it.

I read over half of this torturous novel before my son took mercy on me and stopped making me read it. It took about 2 months to read that half. I avoided it whenever possible, and only read it when my son asked for it. I never wanted to keep reading myself when I was done reading to him, as I do with good books.

The synopsis said that this book would appeal to fans of Harry
This book had loads of elements that I love to find in middle grade fantasy: epic battles between good and evil, but still featuring nuanced characters that are neither completely good nor completely evil, talking animals, smart and heroic girls, an imperfect yet loveable hero, and humor. As the title implies there are lots of riddles--but not just puzzle and logic riddles, but funny ones, silly ones, and even some puns! Give this to fans of John Stevens' Emerald Atlas series, The Mysterious Be ...more
Jun 02, 2017 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this middle grade 2018 Nutmeg nominee book. The characters were interesting, varied, with good back stories. The setting was wonderful - both of them! and I really enjoyed the ravens/birds stories more than I thought I would. It wove in a little Norse mythology for those interested in following a thread or picking up one of the many adventures involving Norse mythology. Well paced and it didn't leave me hanging although I know there's a sequel coming. The SLJ review that mentions Harr ...more
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a fun book to read. Characters are imaginative - imagine a magical desk that likes to dance. Students who have the language skills to understand riddles and puns are going to especially enjoy reading this book. Teachers can help promote this book in their classrooms by first introducing riddles and puns. This will help the struggling readers as well as promote creative thinking. It will be interesting to see where Hagen takes us in the next book. Can't wait to find out.

I received an ARC
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic original, creative story! Gabriel loves riddles and learns that those riddles give him a special connection to ravens. After he saves a young raven named Paladin, Gabriel realizes that he and Paladin are destined to rescue Gabriel's missing father. A series of events lead them to Aviopolis where Gabriel, Paladin, and his friends must face several challenges.

Fun, fantasy story with a great mix of magic, adventure, and good vs. evil plot.
Kirsti Call
Jul 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I got this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What I liked: This book starts like this: "Ravens love riddles." What a wonderful first line. I was immediately hooked. The premise is intriguing, the characters likable, complex, and relatable. The story is fast paced and I found myself reading until late at night when I should have been sleeping. I can't wait until the next book is out---hopefully there is one!!!

Debra Lavoie
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
I would give seven stars if I could.
I just read the best children's book since Charlotte's Web! Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle by George Hagen. The book was very well written and entertaining for young and old. Gabriel realizes he's very special; he can talk to raven's.The story would be great to read to a child, or for the child to read himself. I loved the riddles, and all Gabriel's friends. The author has a great imagination; I was delighted, and will read the book again.
Brenda Kahn
Wholly unique, unbearably suspenseful, and utterly captivating. Middle grade fantasy lovers will just eat this one up. Vivid worldbuilding, amusing wordplay, likable main character - give this one to your tween HP and Percy Jackson fans. Thankfully, no cliffhanger ending but the promise of a sequel. I hope the publisher is creating a book trailer for this one.
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I like the part where Paladin said, " all i know is,good riddance!"
On a scale of -100000000000000000000000000000000 - 100000000000000000000000000000000 it's a 100000000000000000000000000000000!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
p.s. thank you sharon
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