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The Raven's Children

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Russia in 1938 is a place of great terror. Joseph Stalin is in charge. His Secret Police are everywhere, searching for anyone who might be his enemy. People have no idea who they can trust.

Seven-year-old Shura doesn't know about any of this. He's happy in his little home in Leningrad going to school in the mornings, playing with his best friend in the afternoon, fighting
Paperback, 248 pages
Published September 6th 2018 by Puffin Books (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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 ·  76 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
[I read an uncorrected, bound proof copy of this novel.]

Generally speaking, I am fascinated by all things Russian and as I had never read (or even heard of) a children's book set in Russia, nor had I ever read something written by a contemporary Russian author, this book captured my interest instantly. I just had to read it.

But oh boy - where do I start with reviewing this book? It's really hard to make sense of at times, but to reveal why that is, would be to spoil much of the book.

Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this book to young readers as well as adults! The main character’s parents and little brother get taken away to a gulag and he is confused by this and goes searching for them. Not only is this a terrible and scary situation from the viewpoint of an eight-year old, but there is also a lightness to his adventures and perceptions, which makes the book easier to read. It is appropriate for a young reader despite the topic.

These days when the U.S. government is imprisoning immigrant
Maran Subramaniam
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Russia was in a very dark period from the mid to late 30’s under the leadership of Stalin. Much akin to what Orwell described in 1984, this period in Russia is filled with fear, general distrust, paranoia, and dread. A glimpse behind the curtain reveals that all this simply reflects Stalin’s own state of mind at that time as a result of the murder of his close ally and senior party member Sergey Kirov in late 1934. Obviously affected and shaken by the incident, he’d taken to excessively ...more
Jodie Warner
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019-ya
Lordy this was a bit of a struggle! It wasn’t until about half way through that I began to think it may be a translated work (and yes it indeed is), and I fear that A LOT has gone missing in translation. As it is, this is a bit clunky and I’m not sure of its target audience- its mystical and fantastical eyes and ears in the wall, talking birds and invisible people may be too sophisticated for children to understand and too simplistic for adults. It’s suggested age is 9-12 and does come with an ...more
Kim W
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gripping, moving, and eye-opening story of a young boy finding his way through a suddenly hostile world. I loved the character of Shura, and the book cleverly lets you see things through his eyes while letting you make your own inferences about what's really happening in 1930s Leningrad. Whether or not you're familiar with the setting, I would highly recommend this beautifully written novel. (It's an elegant edition too - I love the red page edges!)
James Smith
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wasn’t too sure about this at first. It’s begins quite jumpy and lacks flow, but half way through the plot really takes over and the realisation of what happened to the children of those arrested during The Terror takes over. It’s a clever way of addressing such a horrific event in a way that will engage and inform children of this tragic period in history.
Miina Saarna
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking and at times rather surreal. The story started off as historical fiction and then quickly turned into magical realism set in the Soviet Union during Stalin’s political repressions. Definitely an interesting read but maybe a bit too tricky for kids who don’t have any pre-knowledge about Russian history.
Liz Derouet
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-review
An interesting read set in Stalin’s Russia. Review on my blog to come.
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. Review to appear in Magpies magazine.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bestseller in its native Russia and translated into English for the first time, The Raven’s Children was written to ‘break the silence’ surrounding a dark and largely hidden period of history. However, despite its setting of Stalin-era Russia, a time of terror, paranoia and the Secret Police, Yakovleva delivers an accessible, engaging and resolutely hopeful story.

This is achieved through the courageous protagonist, seven-year-old Shura, whose innocent world is shattered after his family—Mama,
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
Interesting and inventive, but ultimately not terribly engaging.
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