Secrets and special powers abound in Mark of the Raven, Book One of The Ravenwood Saga, by Morgan L. Busse. While reading and reviewing this excellent work of fantasy from Bethany House, I was drawn into the world of Lady Selene, her family, and the other houses introduced by Busse. I have read quite a bit of fantasy and I will be adding Busse to the list of authors I regularly read.
The story starts with a special ceremony in which the heir to the House of Ravenwood, Lady Selene, receives a special mark and eventually awakens with her new power – that of a dreamwalker. Sadly Selene is informed by her mother that the Ravenwood women do not use their gifts of entering another person's dreams for good. They actually are hired by others to gather information and sometimes as assassins. This realization – of the dark job that the dreamwalkers perform – does not sit well with Selene.
In the background of Selene's tale is that of the ever-encroaching Dominia Empire which had attacked the Seven Houses hundreds of years ago. While Selene is learning more of the past, representatives from the other Houses meet at the Ravenwood Home, Rook Castle, to discuss an alliance against the Dominia Empire. Not all the Lords and Ladies are in agreement as to how to handle the Empire. The disagreement causes more strife.
From the opening pages to the exciting conclusion of Book One, I could not put Mark of the Raven down. I was unsure what the tale would hold for me after reading the description and was very pleased at how much I enjoyed this work of fiction. The characters are very well-developed and by the end of the book, I felt like I knew Selene and Damien (Grand Lord of the House of Maris) well and wanted to learn more about the others in a future book.
The inclusion of magical-like gifts or abilities may cause concern for some but I found the inclusion of the dreamwalking and ability to control water or fire intriguing and fascinating. I have read a lot of fantasy novels and Busse's use of these gifts or talents was presented in a new way.
I recommend Mark of the Raven to those who enjoy fantasy. It is a well-written novel that poses some thought-provoking questions (which were explored on Instagram in late October and early November 2018). I know I will be keeping an eye out for Book Two of the Ravenwood Saga!
Instagram Discussion Questions from #FantasyReadAlong
Two of the answers I shared on Instagram.
|Selene's new power brings many challenges...which would be the hardest for you?|
|Damien raises the sea boundary...how would you respond in his place?|