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Otherworld #1

Crooked Raven

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“Sometimes you must let go of who you were to
embrace what you could become.”
“And if that damns me to Hell?” she asked.
He smiled. “Then we shall meet again.”

There is an island that protects the young not because they are lost, but because they were taken. The Island of Oneiroi is not a mere destination for children and dreamers – it’s a sanctuary for the murdered and vengeance has come.

Adrianna Verdandi holds the cooling corpse of her foster brother, Geoffrey Martinez, when a curious stranger turns up with an invitation of passage to an impossible realm. Little did she know that accepting a second chance would bind their fates to the very darkness they flee from.

Time is of the essence, the rebels are rising up, ancient forces stir in the northern woods, and through it all a strange sailor named Titus watches bemused, shrewd, and knowing far more than he is willing to divulge about this ruthless game for power.

The darkness isn’t coming. It’s already there, walking in your shadow.

406 pages, Paperback

Published June 26, 2018

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About the author

Talis Jones

22 books35 followers
Talis Jones is a Mexican-English author of magic and mischief. Graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Theatre she has explored both stage and film, now finding herself drawn towards the literary world as a new venue for storytelling.

Dog mom, Broadway enthusiast, and life-long bibliophile, Talis currently resides in North Carolina.

Find out more about Talis and her books at www.talisjonesofficial.com.

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5 stars
11 (57%)
4 stars
4 (21%)
3 stars
3 (15%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
1 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews
Profile Image for Lili  Marcus.
715 reviews407 followers
January 9, 2019
This book is really fascinating. The plot is certainly original. Yes, I did feel a vibe of Peter Pan while
reading still the whole idea of Oneiroi as a detour to afterlife is really unique. When I first read the synopsis, I thought this series is very promising and I’m happy to say that it delivered. I was hooked the moment that mysterious stranger showed up to take Adrianna’s brother. More hooked when the term, ‘Whisper’ was mentioned and I knew by then I’m off to a great read and deep exploration of a new world. There’s also a bit of Pirates, war and Politics. So yeah, great read.

I enjoyed the twists and turns the story made, more so how everyone and everything came together.
The writing is responsible for this. But first let me admit how worried I was at the beginning coz I thought the story would be too descriptive and lost the plot like most books do. It didn’t. The book managed to be descriptive without stealing the spotlight from the plot.

The characters are fine. Adrianna was easy to connect with probably because she’s not too badass but not weak. The author didn’t exaggerate her character and I like the journey she took and still taking. I can say the same for the other characters. It’s like no one stood out the most which made it obvious that the author treated them equally; protagonists, antagonists/villain and side characters. I’m learning from this author, you all. 🙂

Lastly, I liked the way this book was rounded up. As Book 1 of a series, it just tackled enough to
make a whole book interesting and left so much so the readers become eager for the sequel.

All in all, a great read. A unique, fascinating fantasy novel that’s perfect for ALL fantasy lovers because this book has a bit of everything but didn’t ruin the main plot.
Profile Image for Lauren James  (storied.adventures).
367 reviews40 followers
December 20, 2018
Full review on my blog, Storied Adventures

A fantasy story that feels part Peter Pan and part Alice in Wonderland (Specifically the Queen of Hearts).

Really fun and interesting story and characters. The writing itself was beautiful but the execution was a little hard to follow sometimes. Like, one minute they would say they were going to do something, then the next they did a whole other thing. I am still interested in reading the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Cecily Wolfe.
Author 17 books491 followers
December 5, 2018
Wonderfully written fantasy with believable characters that really explores what it means to be a hero, as well as love for family. Adrianna is easy to cheer for, and the story is, while bearing a very classic feeling, unique and refreshing. I'm definitely on board for book two!
Profile Image for Debbie  Victorino.
416 reviews10 followers
August 13, 2018

This was a really good book. It had a great storyline and strong characters. It was very well written. And once you start reading it your hooked. It will grab you and not let go. There is an island called Oneiroi and it protects the young. It is where the murdered go and vengeance is served. Adrianna foster brother died. She finds out she can take her brother to this island. But is it a good choice? Will they be safe? Or will this be the end? A definite must read I highly recommend!!
2 reviews
September 25, 2018
A fantastic book worth the read for the delightful story, comforting plot line, and an unconventional main character thrown into a world where a war is looming across the island of Oneroi. She wants to become a hero with the ultimate fighting skills and stamina, however becoming the hero isn't as easy as she thought it would be, it seems it takes a lot of work to become the hero.

So to conclude If you love a good fantasy story with war, pirates and corrupt crowns, then you must read this book you will love the characters, twists and magic to this beautiful story.
Profile Image for Jordan (Forever Lost in Literature).
818 reviews104 followers
January 10, 2019
Find this review at Forever Lost in Literature!

Crooked Raven is an imaginative tale set on the Island of Oneiroi, a place where children are protected and that acts as a bit of a different sort of afterlife for many. There is definitely a very Peter Pan sort of vibe from the story, but Jones makes this story wholly unique and full of adventure. Still, there is a bit of a classic overtone that lingers throughout the book in the best way possible and that really drew me in.

For some reason, however, it took me a little while to initially become engrossed in this story. I felt a bit confused at many times in the very beginning of the book, though at some point I realized that all of my confusion was slowly melting away and I was beginning to find myself more engaged in the characters, the plot, and the world itself. There are also plenty of unexpected twists and turns that kept me turning the pages and waiting to find out more about this new land and the conflict that currently brews there.

The main characters we follow are a pair of siblings, Adrianna and Geoffrey, as they are thrust into an unexpected direction. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading these characters and caring about both their present struggles and the background that led them to their present. I wasn't initially drawn to either of them so it took a little while to develop a connection, but I soon grew to really feel attached to these characters and couldn't help but root them on. I liked following Adrianna a bit more and thought she was a particularly well developed character. She wasn't perfect, she wasn't horrible--she was very human, and I appreciated that.

Jones' writing style itself is lovely. She has a very unique and engaging way of writing that completely drew me in and made me really appreciate the obvious care she puts into each word and sentence. The only issue I occasionally had with the writing was that it felt slightly choppy and inconsistent at times, though this seemed to be more of an overall writing/editing/plotting issue rather than a stylistic one, as Jones' voice remained strong at all times.

I also loved the themes explored in Crooked Raven as well, such as bravery, goodness, and justice--all of which sound like very common ideas, but the way they are conveyed throughout the story really bring them to life. It left me curious to see what the rest of the series will be like, and I appreciated that this book wrapped up enough of the story to make me satisfied, but also left enough to keep me excited for the next book.

Overall, I decided to give Crooked Raven four stars! Although there were some issues here and there, I have to say that I overall genuinely enjoyed exploring this world and finding out what would happen next in the story.
Profile Image for Kelly .
49 reviews9 followers
September 12, 2018
I absolutely recommend this book! How would you love to go to an island if you have died violently and be able to go seek your vengeance? This book had an unbelievable storyline and enjoyable characters!
Profile Image for Rendz.
373 reviews25 followers
October 16, 2019
DNF @ 40%
No star rating bc I feel like that requires making it past the half way point.

This book was just not for me. I tried to appreciate some of its aspects, like the Narnia reference, but I just didn't find myself enjoying it. I didn't really care for any of the characters, or the world, or the politics. The world itself was a little confusing. The magic system was probably the only thing that kept me reading for that long. But in the end I didn't feel present while I was reading, it was just not for me.

*Many thanks to the author for sending me a review copy*
7 reviews
July 2, 2018
Great story. Fun to read, I couldn't put it down. The characters are well developed and interesting to follow through the story.
Profile Image for Whisper Eardley.
32 reviews3 followers
December 22, 2018
Interesting, intriguing, and different from what I was expecting. At some points it got confusing for me because I wasn’t sure who’s point of view I was reading from but overall a very good book.
Profile Image for Claire Sholar.
5 reviews
February 17, 2019
Most amazing book I’ve ever read! Truly original and filled with exciting plot twists. This is a must for your to-read list! 10/10 recommend!
12 reviews
May 11, 2021
Crooked Raven by Talis Jones was a pleasant surprise to me. When I noted that the genre of Crooked Raven was “adult fantasy,” I was concerned that it might be about silly stuff like pixies or like the 1960’s stories I viewed as a boy on “The Wonderful World of Disney.” Reading the first twenty pages, I thought the book might be mostly very dark stuff about urban street criminals. Not so at all. Instead, this book was a most excellent adventure story.
The plot is intricate, but not so much that I ever lost track of what was going on. There were some shifts in the scene of the action and the characters involved, but this was done very well. These transitions continued the excitement of the story. Unlike some books, these were not merely interruptions to the to the real story, but really part of the action.
The text suddenly turns to first person for one chapter. I was surprised by this, but considering this was a very dramatic and personal account, this seemed appropriate. Certainly caught me by surprise, and got my attention. As a guy, I usually dread anything suggesting romance in a book. But Jones does not describe mush and gush. This is no pulp novel or Harlequin Romance. Instead, this element of romance is presented as an exciting and surprising part of the story, with emphasis on courage and an outgoing concern for the other person.
Major characters are well developed. Here are a few examples. The evil king (called the Crown) is not Satan incarnate. He is mentally tortured by thoughts of his own betrayal of a close friend. He appears also to suffer from psychotic depression, or perhaps post-traumatic stress disorder. Thus, the darkness of his character is not only portrayed, but related to past and present events in his life. The heroine (Adrianna) is not idealized, but shows human weaknesses and failings. We see her determination, as well as her desperation. We see her eagerness to learn, as well as her awesome stubbornness. Saria, future leader of an insurrection, struck me at first as beautiful, fierce, an excellent fighter and leader. I advise carefully observing her throughout the book for some hints about her character beyond these initial impressions. Much like real people I know, I gradually learned the personality and values of each of the characters as the story progressed. This made them much more interesting than if a complete description of their appearance, habits, manner of speech and inner nature was provided all at once when each character was introduced.
I enjoy humor, and although Crooked Raven is a serious book, Jones did introduce a few glimpses of humor as the story unfolded. My personal favorites were when Adrianna was trying to show off her horsemanship and leaped into the saddle only to have the momentum from her leap nearly propel her over the horse. I also enjoyed her comment about Sam, as sort of self-impressed small village sheriff. When Adrianna learned he was to become General Melanthios in Sarai’s army, she responded “that Sam guy?”
There was little in Crooked Raven that I thought needed improvement. I did think the sentences (especially at the beginning of the book) were sometimes too long. I had to read some twice to get the meaning. Along the same line, I would like to have seen more commas used to separate a clause from the rest of a sentence. I also found place names and character names difficult for me to say, and had to refer to the glossary often several times to get a name right. To put this in perspective, the degree of name difficulty was nothing like the monumental effort required to recite some of the incredible tongue-twisters in the Elvish poems recorded in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings!
Here is a book well worth reading, an excellent story well told. The story is told very vividly. After I finished the book, I wondered in my imagination what the characters were up to once I closed the cover! I suggest a slow, careful reading to better pick up on the nuances of the story. And be sure to read everything, even the acknowledgements.
Profile Image for Talis Jones.
Author 22 books35 followers
January 5, 2022
When one life ends, another begins…
A tale of two siblings crossing worlds and embracing war to find one another, vengeance and love will become two paths intertwined until a debt is demanded in blood. Lyrical prose and bursts of humor cannot wholly mask the dark depths the players in this game for power are willing to go. Begin the tale with CROOKED RAVEN, the first installment in this Young Adult dark fantasy trilogy.
Displaying 1 - 16 of 16 reviews

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