Mark of the Raven

Mark of the Raven

by Morgan L. Busse


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764232220
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/06/2018
Series: Ravenwood Saga Series , #1
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 120,967
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series and the new steampunk series The Soul Chronicles. Her debut novel, Daughter of Light, was a Christy and Carol Award finalist. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel. She and her family live in Bloomington, Illinois. Visit her online at

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Mark of the Raven 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
StudentofParables 7 days ago
This book was superb! The world-building, the lore-crafting, the character creation were all expertly executed, topped by a great plot. The large cast of characters and shifting points of view transitioned seamlessly throughout the story, never losing or breaking the reader’s attention. And now I’m hooked. There are so many unanswered questions, so many narratives crossing each other – I’m eagerly awaiting the next in the series. I feel like the author brought us to the edge of this sweeping lake, and next book is going to push us off to plunge into everything this tale wants to tell. This was pure enjoyment to read. You should definitely get a copy! I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley
Blooming-with-Books 14 days ago
Can I just say Book Love? Mark of the Raven The Ravenwood Saga #1 By Morgan L. Busse Oh my, I've found another series to add to my can't wait for what comes next list. What is it about this book that has brought me to this conclusion? Well, the characters are engaging as their situations draw in the reader. First, we have Lady Selen Ravenwood the heir to the House of Ravenwood. The House of Ravenwood is a house with a carefully guarded secret, one that they have been hiding for hundreds of years ever since House of Ravenwood was sacrificed to the Dominia Empire by the other Great Houses. And the House of Ravenwood is about to task Selen with her role as heir become an assassin taking down the Houses that betrayed them years ago. There is just one problem with this plan - Selen's heart. Then we have the House of Maris being led by Damien Maris who came into the role of Grand Lord upon the death of the rest family. Not ready to take on the burden of leadership Damien has taken his father's place as both leader and protector of his people. Determined to see his father's dream of the Great Houses uniting together Damien calls for an assembly hoping that the Houses will see the threat that the Dominia once again poses and agree to come together. An assembly is the perfect opportunity to work out long-held differences and it is the perfect opportunity for Selen to become whom she is meant to be - the killer her mother has trained her to be. Selen's victim is Damien and to kill him she must enter his dreamscape and learn his weakness. Damien is unlike anyone Selen has ever met. He is burdened by his gift just as she is but he possesses a light that she is drawn to. Could this light that fills his soul free her from the darkness that is taking her slowly day-by-day as she does her mother's bidding? This book is well-written with characters that can bring out one's sympathy and compassion while others bring a shiver of dread when they enter a scene. And the conclusion leaves one in anticipation of the next book. Where will Selen's "gift" of Dreamwalking take her? Will the approaching danger destroy the Great Houses or will an alliance be formed against the Dominia? Fans Patrick Carr, Jill Williamson, S.D. Grimm, Thomas Locke, or Nadine Brandes will find much to love about this book. Get ready to enter a new world of fantasy and be intrigued! I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.
J_Augustine 16 days ago
Is she a killer or will she discover the Light? There are two kinds of fantasy novels out there; charmingly captivating, and deliciously dark. Mark Of The Raven is one of the latter. I don't know what it was that caught my attention, I haven't read any of Morgan L. Busse's previous books. Maybe it was the gorgeous eerily mysterious cover, which is much like the heroine herself, or maybe because I was just in the mood for a fantasy novel that promised to be a shadowy tale of danger and intrigue. Oh, I got just that and more! This dark and absorbing tale will have you, as it did me, immersed in the battle between The Light and the Dark Lady played out in the sinister halls of the ancestral home of the Ravenwoods and also in the dreams of the powerful and the powerless. While aimed more at the YA market Mark Of The Raven is just as appealing to adults. There was something about Selene's struggle with upholding family expectations and her natural bent to protect those weaker that will capture the attention of readers both YA and adults alike. Fantasy fans are in for a real treat with Morgan L. Busse's new book and will quickly find themselves, like me, impatiently awaiting the next release in the Ravenwood Saga series. Seriously, I HAVE to know what happens! (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Anonymous 19 days ago
In Mark of the Raven, Morgan L. Busse creates a new world full of gifts and realms. She does a wonderful job of taking the reader on a journey, far from the real world. Whilst I love fantasy novels, I get impatient for the action to start. It takes to about halfway through the novel for the story really takes off. I found the dreams traumatic but understood highlighting the evil was the purpose. Lady Selene is easy to like and her divided loyalty easy to understand. She is trapped trying to fulfill her mother’s wishes and staying true to herself. Christianity appears through the Great Light working against dark evil and it’s beautifully done. The ending is a cliffhanger, a set up for the next novel. The scene is set and the characters formed. I’m looking forward to seeing where this one goes. Four out of five on the en-JOY-ment scale, if you like fantasy this one is for you,
Madis Musings 19 days ago
Positive Elements: Selene’s family cares for their people; a character mentors another; Selene is determined to protect her sisters. Negative Elements: None. Spiritual Elements: Character pray to the Dark Lady; a priest falls into a trance; characters pray to the Light; characters question the existence and knowledge of the Dark Lady. Violence: A character suffers when coming into her gift; it is mentioned someone murdered their parents; a man is attacked by a wolf; a caravan is attacked, and people are killed; people are forced to relive their worst fears; people are killed on the sea; someone’s mind is shattered; people are assassinated. Other: It is implied that a woman is raped (there is nothing explicit, nor does it go into details). Rating: 5 Stars Epilogue: I’ve read all of Morgan Busse’s books, and while I enjoyed them, Mark of the Raven is by far my favorite and the best. Action-packed, full of angst and danger, and brimming with decisions that mold Selene and Damien into relatable characters, Mark of the Raven is a book that will keep you up until you’ve finished it, and is a must read. *I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
CelticForestDweller 23 days ago
Aaah, that was so cool! Now where’s the next book? I love a good epic fantasy and this one was awesome! The world was so rich and the characters were fantastic. The plot was a slow-burn kind of one, full of mystery and politics but enough spice of danger and adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat—the rest of it did that actually as well! I love anything involving dreams in fiction so I was really excited to try this one. Like Inception in a fantasy world. :P The Dreamwalking was a cool aspect to the book. I particularly liked the soul aspect of it. I think I thought there would me more time spent in the actual dreamscapes, but at the same time I don’t really mind because the rest of the book was so cool too! I was so intrigued by this setting and loved the world-building. The idea of the seven nations and the Great Houses and their secrets and gifts was so intriguing. The political intrigue aspect of it was interesting instead of boring. It made me think a little of Jill Williamson’s fantasy, which is high praise from me. ;) I was pulled into this story and loved visiting these mountains, castles, secret passages, and seaside—and the different Houses were really neat. Everything had a distinct feeling and vibrant color to it and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can’t wait to return to this world and find out what happens next, as well as learn more about the gifts—and spend more time with these characters. The characters were all well-drawn and I loved them. ^_^ Selene was an interesting heroine and I felt bad for her and was always curious what she’d do next. I can’t wait to see where her story goes from here. No spoilers but... it should be interesting! ;) Damien was my absolute favorite! I loved how the story alternated between his point of view and Selene’s. It was so neat getting to see each of them from the other’s perspective. But yes, Damien was a high point of the book—I loved his passion for helping people and how he had such a good heart and tried so hard and... he was just awesome. :D I loved many of the side characters, too! Selene’s father was so great. Taegis, Damien’s mentor, who I also loved. Lady Bryren! Man, I LOVED her and the other wyvern riders and hope we’ll see more of them! (And I don’t love them, but the villains stood out too. Lady Ragna was sooo chilling.) The atmosphere of the book was just really neat—with the rich colors, the harsh beauty of the mountains, the shadows and mysteries of Rook Castle, the autumnal feel, the meetings and gala and dances, the passages and secrets, and all shot through with so many questions and interesting thoughts, a thread of faith in a unique way, and the many varied people and cultures inhabiting this world. It took me a little while to get invested in the story (maybe until meeting Damien?) but once I got into it, I lived and breathed it, and now I’m sad it’s over. There were some pretty neat twists at the end which make me super curious to read the next book! I NEED IT. MARK OF THE RAVEN was gorgeous and a little ominous and I was so intrigued the whole time, and I’m attached to these characters. It’s a touch scary a few times but is a basically clean read which I think older teens and adults alike would enjoy, and I highly recommend it to fantasy fans! :) My thanks to Bethany House Publishers for the complimentary copy of MARK OF THE RAVEN. I was not required to write a positive review. These opinions are entirely my own.
Anonymous 30 days ago
There are very few stories that come around that are as original as this one. I loved how the plot was so unexpected, and kept waiting to find out what would happen next... such in-depth characters! This is a must read for anyone that loves fantasy, as there were a few familiar elements but Morgan has done an amazing job making this world her own. The ending was quite surprising, in a good way, and I cannot wait for the next book!
Laura_Pol 3 months ago
3.5/4 stars Wow! What a compelling ending! I have to admit that I thought the beginning was rather slow and just couldn’t seemed to get hooked. *hides* I’m not sure if it’s because I was fairly sick when I started or not, but I also found some repetitive places that I began to found irksome. However, regardless of how I felt in the beginning and my unsureness if I would come to really like Selene, the dream walking was a unique reading experience. I haven’t read anything about dreamwalking and was very very engaged during Selene’s discovery of her new gift. Her Mother makes an interesting teacher and one that leaves you just as on edge as Selene. Damien on the other hand is a character I very strongly related to! Though I liked Selene, he was the one who really pulled my heart strings something fierce. I loved his dedication and his heart for others and just felt a strong connection with his struggles. I’m definitely intrigued to see what happens next. Selene has more discovering to do and really want to see Damien’s mission fulfilled. Hoping that good things are in store for them as well as the Seven Great Houses! Recommended to fantasy readers who want a clean read with solid characters and fascinating gifts. *(Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing me an ARC. I was not required to write a review or positive one. All thoughts expressed are my own.)*
A_N 3 months ago
I'm not what you'd call a fantasy fan. I read it, but I'm very picky about who I read. Mainly because the world building and language has to be comprehensible for me. I read the back cover copy to this book and I was immediately drawn to it. Morgan Busse is a new author for me, I haven't read any of her work before and I am now a huge fan. I loved this book and the story! Ms. Busse creates a world that can not only be understood, you become immersed in it and don't want to leave. Selene is a heroine you cheer for. She's trying to not only understand the heritage of dreamwalking but figure out why they use the information gathered to harm instead of help. Overall, this is a great fantasy read one that draws you into the story makes you feel like you have not only entered the world but feel as though you are dreamwalking with Selene. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers as a member of their blogger review program. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
bookstoregal 3 months ago
Wow! I really didn't want to put this book down, but I've been so busy with work and other things that I had to... Frustrating! It's an "edge of your seat" kind of story. I love this story!! I love the characters -there is such a variety of people (especially in the 2nd half). This series, and I can hardly wait for the next book!, is going to be an epic battle between the Dark and the Light. For a while I was wondering exactly what was going to happen -what would Selene's decision be? -how would the Light prevail? I'm very happy to say that it ended well, even if it does leave you hanging! But what are series for, right? I kept thinking as I was reading that this book would make a great movie! I'd love to see it on the big screen. There is some violence in it, but not anything graphic. Still, I may not recommend it for younger readers...under 13 or so. Now I'm anxiously awaiting the next book! Thanks Morgan!!
katelynsbolds 3 months ago
Morgan Busse weaves a dark story about the heir to the House of Ravenwood who has just learned her family's secret; her mother and the Ravenwood women before her use their gift of dreamwalking to gather information and assassinate their enemies. Now Lady Selene is stuck in a web of political intrigue, lies and betrayal while the Seven Houses ready for war with the Domina Empire. Another reviewer mentioned that it reminded her of Game of Thrones and Assassin's Creed, which I agree with completely. The only thing that this book has that those stories do not is a thread of hope that lies within the Light. Overall, I would highly recommend this book for readers of YA and adult fantasy adventures. I might recommend pre-reading it if you have younger readers who might be put off by some non-graphic but violent content, as the book does contain assassins, war, etc. *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.*
MaryJeanAdams 3 months ago
Review: Mark of the Raven Genre: Fantasy Subgenre: Young adult, clean As part of my personal writing/reading journey, I’ve been branching out a bit and trying to read more novels outside of the romance genre. That said, I am first and foremost a historical romance writer/reader, so I have a tendency to look at books through that lens. I’m certain this comes through in my review of Mark of the Raven. Now for the required disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of Mark of the Raven from Bethany House. I am giving Mark of the Raven three stars. I really wanted to like it more, but it had a couple of drawbacks that kept me from raising it to four stars. To be completely fair, I’m going to start with the things I liked – and there were many – before sharing what I didn’t. I should be able to avoid any plot spoilers. Story background: Lady Selene is heir to the House of Ravenwood, one of seven great houses, each endowed with a special gift. Ravenwood’s gift is the ability to walk in another’s dream; however, the other six houses all believe Ravenwood’s gift died out when the Dominian Empire razed the land hundreds of years prior. Unbeknownst to them, there was a survivor who passed on the ability to the female heir for hundreds of years. Whereas once Ravenwood women used their gift to help others, now they are hired as spies and assassins. This aspect of their secret is kept from Lady Selene until she awakens to her abilities. One of her first assignments is to slay the young heir of another great house: the one who may hold the key to uniting the great houses and protecting their land from new ruler of the Dominian Empire. Selene is torn between her alliance to her people and the good that dwells within her. What I liked: It really is a compelling story, and although I’m only giving Mark of the Raven a three star, I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. The characters are all believable and likeable. The villains are compelling and not altogether unlikeable either. The author does a great job of making them vivid characters. In fact, I could easily see Mark of the Raven having been produced as a graphic novel. Also, being a romance reader, I appreciated the relationship between the two main characters. There was a chemistry that appealed, even if it didn’t rise to the level of a romance. (I am really hoping this gets played up in the sequel.) I also really liked the cover! What I didn’t like: The story started out a bit slow. It was interesting enough, but it wasn’t until chapter 9 that we meet the male lead – Damien. I would have loved to have seen more of him earlier, maybe his backstory interspersed with Lady Selene’s. You could argue that he’s a secondary character, but once he makes his debut, he doesn’t feel like one. In fact, he somewhat steals the show. I also thought the story ended too abruptly. Maybe this is how all fantasy stories end these days, but I felt like we had just reached the climax of the story, when suddenly, I’m reading back of the book material. I flipped back to see if I had accidentally missed a chapter or even a page or two. I don’t want to give away too much, but at the very least, I felt like it should have wrapped up with more of the main characters’ stories. Even just one or two chapters that gave us an idea of what was going on with them and the battles they would need to fight in the next book would have done it for me.
Pooke 3 months ago
Flight of the Raven! Lady Selene was born with two things, a large mark on her back in the shape of a raven, and a home in a castle. Living in this castle is not bright and beautiful. Just the opposite, in fact, all is not well in the House of Ravenwood. Ancient treachery by the other houses towards Ravenwood has caused her mother, Lady Ragna, a cold unfeeling woman, to be bitter. She justifies things Selene doesn’t feel good about. According to her mother, the raven shaped mark means Selene has a secret power. One the rest of the houses believe died out long ago—because of their past betrayal. Only recently has Selene discovered what a life-changing effect that power will have on her. Despite her mother’s claims of good for the people of Ravenwood, the power along with the changes she has had to make in her life does not feel right. Reluctantly, however, Selene has been obeying her mother. Now a common enemy has caused representatives of all the Houses to meet. In fact, their discussions will be held in Selene’s castle. Her mother, Lady Ragna, will be the representative for Ravenwood. The young Lord Damien desperately wants all the houses to unite. Damien believes the strength of a united bond could not be broken by the threat coming their way. Secretly, Lady Ragna is doing all she can to sabotage the uniting of the houses. Selene finds herself with the dilemma of either following her mother’s instructions, or going against them. Can she be bold enough to refuse what her mother wants? Or should she continue doing her mother’s will despite the toll it is taking on her life? Is it true that Selene’s power is the only thing that is helping the people of her land survive? Intrigue, violence, and possible expulsion or death will follow. The future might even hold love for Selene. This book is part of the Ravenwood Saga, and the story stands alone. However, this tale will leave you wanting more adventures, and I look forward to a future installment. I am not a reader of fantasy books. Other than the famous works by J. R. R. Tolkien, I never pick up a book in that genre…until now. Once I started reading this tale, though, I couldn’t put it down. This book is clean, and done from a Christian point of view. God is mentioned throughout this story, but He goes by another name in this tale of fantasy. I highly recommend this 5-star book to readers of fantasy and well-written fiction. Bethany House Publishing has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Mark of the Raven, for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I was approved to read an advanced e-copy of Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. The cover and description is what drew me in but the plot and writing kept me glued. This book was so good that I read 80% of it in one day. Mark of the Ravens is filled with Assassins, murder, and twisted families. The main character, Lady Selene, is relatable as she struggles to not lose herself when the ones close to her ask for more. It also has multiple POVs which adds to any book and makes the development of the characters even better as you get to see their side. This book will leave you wanting more and I can’t wait for this series to continue!
Anonymous 3 months ago
This book is amazing! Of course, I knew it would be since I've adored every single novel this author has ever written! This one started off slow. But the sort of slow where the plot and worldbuilding are unfolding like a flower, one petal at a time. Just at the moment when I wasn't sure where this was going, stuff started happening, deceptions upon deceptions and betrayals and plots and planned assassinations, and everything just got tense and crazy. The worldbuilding is well done. Each of the Houses had their own personalities, and the author does a great job of writing clearly during the scenes where multiple houses are together and a great number of characters are introduced so that even someone like me who struggles with names didn't get confused. Damien was my favorite character from the moment he stepped on the page. His introduction in this book is simply epic. Gave me chills. I still think one scene with him early on is my favorite in the whole book for how spine-chillingly awesome it is. Selene was also a really, well-done character. It would've been too easy for her to feel whiny or too passive, but the author does a great job of making the reader root for her. This is a great start to this new series, and now I am even more eager for book two!
Fala19 3 months ago
I loved Morgan L. Busse's Soul Chronicles and got so excited when I saw that she had a new series coming out. I couldn't wait to dive into it. I was expecting to really enjoy Mark of the Raven and, I've gotta say, it exceeded all expectations and was even better than I thought it'd be. It's fast-paced and I couldn't read it quickly enough. I ended up neglecting everything else and read the last quarter of the book in one sitting. There was a lot of pressure on Selene to restore House Ravenwood to it's former glory. She's extremely conflicted about how her family's gift is used. She feels a deep sense of wrong but to not use her gift would send her family and their people into ruin. It's such a dilemma for her. The journey she goes on to discovering herself is truly captivating. And Damien! Oh my! He's such a good and noble guy, always looking to do the right thing even when it's the most difficult thing to do. He's definitely one of my favorite leading men that I've read about lately. The characters were so great. All of them, even the minor ones, were distinct and fully fleshed out, seeming like real people I could easily picture in my mind. A near-perfect fantasy, Mark of the Raven is not to be missed. I wish I could give it more than five stars; it was just that good. And with that ending, goodness, I need the next book, like, right now! I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and comments are my honest opinion.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Cool world. Intrigue. Interesting characters. Tough choices. The glimpses into different souls fascinated me. I highly recommend Busse’s Mark of The Raven!
FyreHorse 3 months ago
This is my first book that I have read by Morgan Busse, and I know it will not be my last! This book was amazing with word pictures that drew you into the world of Salene and Damien and all the intrigue of Seven Kingdoms blessed by gifts that where meant to protect from the Empire. Through betrayal and hurt the gift of the house of Ravenwood was thought to be lost forever. Instead, they have been hidden away and what was once meant to protect the kingdoms is now being used to cause fear and even death all in the silence of dreams and leaving a trail of mysterious deaths in seemingly healthy people. Raised to only know the dark side of the Ravenwood gift, Salene struggles with questions as her heart seeks for more than just a tool to gain power and exact revenge. She her heart not only seeks to protect her siblings from the darkness of this gift but also her people and find another way, but how when all she knows is what she is being taught? Damien was thrust into the role of leader of his house at a very young age, but not before his father taught him of the light and how to use his power over water to protect his kingdom. But with great power often comes great costs and Damien must grapple with the consequences of protecting his people as he also faces the threat of invasion by the Empire and he must convince a divided seven houses to believe that the threat of invasion is real from an Empire threat that is the thing of centuries past legends. Salene and Damien are thrown together when the houses meet at Ravenwood and Salene is ordered to kill Damien as a threat to the House of Ravenwood. In the secrets of dreams fates are decided for not just two souls but a kingdom on the brink of war. This is an amazing and dramatically energetic tale of intrigue and suspense all wrapped up in fantasy complete with wyverns! It is a must read and I look forward eagerly to the next in the series that is in the works.
BrendaSoto 3 months ago
I am not quite finished, but I couldn't wait to get a review made. You will absolutely love this book! 'Mark of The Raven' is first in a new series by Morgan L Busse. I fell in love with her books 4-5 years ago and this one will definitely join them on my bookshelves. An in-depth fantasy that sweeps you quickly into Selene's world. Morgan's characters are rich and full of life. Immediately, I was enthralled with the story. It moves quickly yet is descriptive and deep; so you don't feel like you are missing anything. The characters emotions come through without effort and are realistic. Selene's despairing of her gift, and her yearning for something more shows so vividly. Here's a short quote to show you what I mean: “I want to know,” Selene whispered and took another step toward his soulsphere. “I want what you have. I’ve experienced pain and grief and fear, same as you. Yet you live with a burning hope inside of you, and I…” A tear formed in the corner of her eye as she continued toward orb. “I live in darkness. And I can’t find a way to escape... " Will she find light in the dark world she lives in? Will she find peace as she follows Lord Damien and continues to move ever closer to his soulsphere? You need to read this book! I can't wait for book two and I am not even finished with book one! A very good read. I received this book free of charge from the publishing house, but it did not influence my review
MechelleMS 3 months ago
Loved it! Can't wait for book 2. Mrs. Morgan did an outstanding job as she does in ALL of her books. Loved the two main characters. Plot keeps you turning the pages and then a major cliff hanger at the end.
honeychile 4 months ago
I’ve heard it said that when a good book opens up, the reader falls in; I fell into Mark of the Raven within the first few sentences, and thoroughly enjoyed my stay within its pages. The characters are compelling and genuine; the world of the book is haunting and beautiful; and the plot full of intrigue. Author Morgan L. Busse crafts a beautiful narrative with clear descriptions and an occasional foray into the lyrical, following the coming-of-age story and moral dilemma of protagonist Lady Selene. Escalating throughout the book, Busse reveals the benefits of following the Light, and illustrates the prison that worshippers of the Dark Lady find themselves ensnared within. The book weaves themes of light and darkness, hopelessness and rescue, and the power of individual choice to determine the caliber of life for the chooser and those around him. The conclusion of the book leaves a clear expectation for sequel(s) which is good because Busse has created a world I long to revisit. Mark of the Raven rates five bright stars from me.
Blogger35 4 months ago
3.5 stars I love a good book cover and when the cover matches the story perfectly, I am one satisfied reader. Mark of the Raven starts out really creepy, Selene is in a dark church next to her mom and sister with their people going through a ritual and that kind of sets the tone of the story for half of the book although thank goodness there are no more scenes like that one. There is also one part where it is implied that two women are raped after a caravan of unarmed people are attacked. Nothing is described but it was uncomfortable reading. Selene has been marked a dreamer and that was special for me, however she is being trained to be a nightmare kind of chosen one and she is sick over it. Made me think of the movie, Frozen, because she kept telling herself not to feel in order to do her job. Elsa came to mind more than once with that mantra, except this Elsa has really cool swords. Love Taegis and Lady Bryren, best minor characters ever and I truly hope there is MUCH more of them in the sequel! Same for Renata! Same for Selene's father! Hated Lord Raoul and Captain Stanton. Lord Raoul speaks something sinister over Lady Selene at one point and I truly hope he is made to eat his words and regret ever taunting her no matter what the past has proven to be true. I really hope Lady Ragna gets redemption in the sequel but not likely to happen. There is one point where Selene asks the Dark Lady (never meet her, only spoken about) an important question in desperation. She is not given an answer and I believe that's when Selene's dark faith and loyalty are truly shifted. Even though the story was well written, it just didn't hold my attention as I hoped it would. My favorite parts of the story are when Selene talks with her father and when they watch the different houses arrive at Rook Castle. It was so descriptive learning about the other houses and their leaders. I also loved when Selene visits her baby sister. I also enjoyed the dream sequences, there are only a few and they are also creepy but well written. The last dream sequence was my favorite! I kept whispering, "No," as Selene explored her surroundings. Then something unexpected happens and I was like, "YES." The ending was my favorite part and totally had me glued to the pages. Lord Darien is so special and I really believe his heart matches Selene. I was also satisfied that he understood Selene's character while watching her during the gala, realizing she wasn't cold but vulnerable and uncomfortable. I'm truly looking forward to seeing what they accomplish together in the sequel. I was also reminded of Guardians of the Galaxy reading Selene's relationship with her sister, Amara. Despite me not loving the story as I hoped, I did love Selene and her heart. Selene and Amara reminded me SO MUCH of Gamora and Nebula. I believe there is more to learn with these two sisters in the sequel as well...don't want to miss that!! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All comments are my own.
DBergsland 4 months ago
Morgan L. Busse offers Raven Mark and I’m of two minds again. Mark of the Raven is an excellent fantasy. The characters are complex, memorable, and intriguing. The world build becomes real very quickly. Evil reveals itself graphically with over-the-top nastiness and a gruesome reality. Sadly, good remains obscured by vagueness and a complete lack of specificity. There’s no savior and nothing like the Holy Spirit. Yet, Light has an incredible draw. It’s clear who it must be, yet remains tantalizingly out of reach. Neither light nor dark are personified. If you know the Lord personally, this always hurts. One would think that (with all that’s used to make a built-world feel genuine) a real, personal god and savior would be simple to fictionalize—and add a great deal to the story. Busse offers Raven Mark with wonderful possibilities My hope is that the second, and possibly the final book, will provide some spiritual satisfaction as well. The characters are wonderful, conflicted, and easy to love. The romance should be wonderful. As I said, I love the world and the story. My quibbles mean a lot to me but do not mean much in the world we live in. The book should sell well and be loved. My sadness comes from memories of Bethany as a source of hard-hitting Christian teaching. More recently, Morgan’s book seems about as good as we’ll see in the near future. I don’t want to single out Bethany. It seems to have infected the entire Christian publishing industry. Someone with Morgan’s writing skill could write truly anointed Christian fiction that would actually transform the lives of her readers. That’s what I pray for— a fantasy which edifies and transforms readers. I want one which leaves me exhilarated and praising the Lord. I’m grateful for the opportunity given to me by Bethany to review their books with no strings attached. It was a good read.
NadineTimes10 4 months ago
First off, while I do enjoy high fantasy from time to time, I'm no fantasy buff. And given that I'm not the fastest reader around, I scheduled to have this novel finished in three to four days. I finished it in less than a day. The novel's themes just got to me. The idea of a heroine who, for the sake of her younger siblings, accepts a role she hates, and she has to shut off her emotions to do it. The idea of controlling others through manipulation, by playing on their fears. The idea that in order for Selene to protect and provide for her people, she has to...oppress them? Light, Maker of Worlds, help us all. Now, sometimes Selene's inner questions are redundant or a bit simplistic, and the narration sometimes states the obvious or repeats explanations or details the reader already knows. But I like that the story doesn't unfold with nothing but unexplained alternate-world-riddles for half the book or anything like that. It wasn't long before I got a good grip on what was going on. An amazing read about leadership, courage, conscience, compassion, and sacrifice. The only downside is that I have to wait a while for the next book in The Ravenwood Saga. Light, Maker of Worlds, grant me patience... ________ Bethany House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.