Jennifer's Reviews > Raven's Shadow

Raven's Shadow by Patricia Briggs
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's review
Mar 11, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: pure-fantasy
Read from March 11 to 14, 2011

This was so good! I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have read Briggs' later, urban fantasy series Mercy Thompson - and loved it - but this was my first of her fantasy novels. I should have known it would be characterized by her strengths - primarily amazing characters. In this story, Seraph, a teenage orphan mage from a tribe of gypsy-like people called the Travelers, is rescued by a young soldier returning home from war. They marry and fall in love, have children, who all grow up... and then they all go on an adventure, to save the realm from the "shadowed", which is what happens when magic is used without any checks and balances.

The worldbuilding here was solid. Was it entirely original? No. However, I didn't go into this expecting a world that is entirely new. It is a fantasy novel, and it sits clearly within the standard fantasy novel conventions. However, I felt the whole time that I did understand the setting and its place in the story. Briggs also has a masterful pace, revealing enough of the world's backstory at just the right moments. This is a trait I should have expected from her as it's in the Mercy books too. This was a very slim volume, for a fantasy novel. Fantasy authors are so often so interested in explaining everything about their world and what makes it unique - which is great when well-done and when it doesn't drag on and lose any semblance of dramatic tension. But there is no dragging on in this book. Briggs tells a tight story. Once I picked it up and dug in, I really couldn't put it down. There was nothing here that felt like fluff to me.

Again, the strength of this novel was the characters. Of course the very best character is Tair, the young soldier who grows into a Bard, and who is a born leader that sways everyone to his cause. He sees the truth in everyone and he is so very easy to love! I really enjoyed Seraph as well, and found them great foils to each other. Seraph is the young Traveler mage - The "Raven" of clan Isolde - who marries Tair and bears his children. She is terse, direct, and rather prickly. In short, Tier has all the people skills of the pair. I enjoyed that. Their children, Jes and Lehr, are also interesting, although Jes is probably the most interesting, as he has a kind of a magically imposed split personality disorder. I loved reading about this family and felt their relationships very strongly. I also enjoyed Phoran, the young emperor seeking his power. My complaint would be that most secondary characters, including the villains, are not very well-drawn. However, in such a short, action-packed book, it's probably not feasible to give them too much depth.

So, I loved it and couldn't put it down. There appears to be a sequel about the continued fight with the Shadowed, and I will definitely pick that one up.

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Reading Progress

03/13/2011 page 72

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Gretchen (new) - added it

Gretchen Williams I will put that on my list then.Been reading Live Wire by Lora Leigh,and I'm bored with it!!Can you believe it?Too predictable i think.

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