Friday, November 30, 2018

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

book cover
Mark of the Raven
by Morgan L. Busse

ISBN-13: 9780764232220
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Nov. 6, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person's dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family's dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family's legacy--a legacy that supports her people--or seeking the true reason behind her family's gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

My Review:
Mark of the Raven is a fantasy novel that's rather depressing until nearly the end. At the beginning, Selene gains the gift of dreamwalking only to learn that her mother expects her to kill and terrorize people using her gift in order to earn money and increase their House's power. She's kindhearted, so it's destroying her to follow her mother's instructions. Much of the story is her using her gift to hurt people.

She's willing to do this so that her sisters won't have to. It's nice that she isn't selfish, but the destruction of her soul through obedience was not fun to read. And it's a meaningless gesture anyway. One sister is eager to learn dreamwalking and would love to show how much better she is at it than Selene. Plus her mother probably intends for all her daughters to help her make money and gain power; she never said otherwise. Also, Selene kept consoling herself that she would learn a better way to use her gift, but she made no effort to explore other ways of using it (while actually dreamwalking) even when her father hinted at what it used to be used for.

There were also several holes and conflicting things in the story. Selene wants to learn how the other House gifts are used, but even her father (who comes from the House of wisdom and learning) doesn't know this information. On the other hand, the hero only has to ask that pretty girl from the other House to learn more about their gifts. One House leader only had to anger another House leader in order to see his gift in action (and in public). So it doesn't seem like it should be that difficult to find out about the other gifts. Also, no reason is given for why no one seems to have a written history of what happened in the last conflict with the Empire or about the giving of the Gifts (even just a legendary version).

While the ending left me interested in what happens to Selene in the future, I'm not sure that I trust the author to not create another depressing read even though the story seems to be Selene's journey toward the Light. There was no sex or bad language.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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