Raven is Part I in The Raven Saga and is an urban fantasy novel for children and young adults.
I first became aware of Suzy Turner on author Mandy Baggot’s new feature on her blog called Meet and Greet. You may already know that I love video trailers for books so of course I couldn’t resist watching the linked video trailer for Raven …………. and was intrigued enough to download a copy for my Kindle.
Raven begins with Lilly’s day-to-day life, the routine that she has with her parents. It is very rarely that she has contact with her father and her mother only sees her to feed her – food which is always from tins. Her parents stay locked in a room. At school she is a loner and nicknamed ‘Mellow Yellow’ because of the colour of the clothes she always wears. A new girl starts at school, December Moon, and they become close. Lilly’s mother is always watching at the window when Lilly returns home from school for lunch and at the end of the day. One day, Lilly returns, glances up to the window, to see nothing – no mother watching. It is from this point that Lilly’s life changes dramatically.
At first Lilly stays with the two older ladies in a flat in the same building and she is taught basic cooking skills. At night, two ravens knock on her window and this gives Lilly a sense of comfort. I have a feeling that the two older ladies are important in ways that we don’t find out about in Part I.
In Powell River, Canada, Lilly gets to know her family and settles into her life. Not only does she learn and use the genetic inheritance that has always been hers but also comes to understand why her childhood was as it was. The relationship Lilly has with her cousin Jo is brilliant. I loved the bond they had between them and this relationship is central to resolving some issues. Another character I identified with is the gentle Rose – the maternal role she takes on for Lilly is perfect.
I always enjoy watching a character grow and we certainly get to see that for Lilly. Due to her strange childhood, Lilly starts off as a very serious and lonely 13 year old. She has no expectations of life and because she has no contact with other children, believes her life is normal. She leads a very empty existence. Once in Canada, we see her accepting the love of the paternal side of her family and she blossoms. She becomes someone who believes in herself and the roots give her confidence to explore and find herself.
The quest that Lilly and her grandfather Gabriel make to The Elders intrigued me. I was waiting for a crisis to happen and when it did, I thought it was brilliant. I loved the symbolism of the cave and the cage ………… and owls being one of my totems, I was delighted to find an owl as part of the story! Lilly really comes into her own when dealing with the crisis – I was cheering her on!
Raven ends very cleverly – a resolution for Rose - but we have no knowledge yet of where Lilly’s father is. We lose two male characters at different parts in the story and I am intrigued to find out if there will be another male character to take their place. Specifically I’m hoping to see the return of one of them …………. I am eagerly awaiting Part II of The Raven Saga ‘December Moon’ which is released in September J
Raven is written in the first person from the perspective of Lilly. This alongside the style of writing works really well. Raven is easy to read, with tension building and resolution in several places. The plot and the fantastic characters held my attention throughout.
Raven is a story that includes family relationships, love, shapechanging, werewolves, witches, vampires and magic. A fabulous mix for an adventure!
Although children and young adults are Raven’s target audience, I would also recommend Raven for any adults who love the magical and paranormal!