Sunday 10 April 2011

Book Review - Ravenwild

Title: Ravenwild
Author: Peter J. Plasse, Mike L. Longnecker (Illustrator)
ISBN-13: 978-0983340010

Returning home from another grueling shift of E.R. work, Dr. Blake Lee Strong comes across a downed motorcyclist and stops to help, but little does he know that his world and that of his family will soon be turned upside down. Duped into being transported to another planet called Inam'Ra, Dr. Strong and his family are thrust into a medieval world populated by Trolls, Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves, Humans and other alien beings. An epic odyssey begins as the Strong family fights for not only their own survival, but also for the continued existence of the citizens of Ravenwild.  

I was sent this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
My Review
I was sent this book by the author as an ARC, It was the first offer I had ever received and I was so pleased. The book sounded interesting and the artwork looked incredible so I accepted it in no time. It arrived a few days later and I opened it with much excitement. Unfortunately I was in the middle  of another book and couldn't dive straight in. It lay on my shelf and I kept staring at it, so when I finally finished my other read, I grabbed this one excitedly.
The story is set in two worlds, our world - Salem, Connecticut, and in the magical world of Ravenwild. A rogue wizard turns up one day and convinces Dr Blake, his wife Jessica, and their children (Stephanie, Orie & Jacqueline) that his world of Ravenwild is in terrible trouble, there is a massive war breaking out and many lives will be lost. He tells them he can transport them to this magical place so they can help to fix the situation. But they are harder to convince than he thought they would be.
Circumstances mean that the family gets madly split up, Stephanie journeys across and meets Prince Erik, Her parents follow and end up with a band of gnomes, Orie then goes after them with his two friends Gracie & Ryan, and Jacqueline follows last with her cat Cinnamon. They all end up in different areas of the world, lost, alone and in the middle of a war, they must each use their knowledge, wits and resourcefulness to survive.
This story is split into a lot of scenes and events and there is a very big cast of characters, whereas some books I have read that have a big cast I have got completely lost in and struggled to know who was who, I didn't in this book. Each character is relevant to the story and progresses the events on. The story flows well and the characters are well created and thought out. I knew who each one was and felt like I was a part of each of their journeys, the only down side i could find that two of the characters had similar names - Doreen and Dorin, but they played very different roles and so it wasn't too confusing. 
I have a head for stories that progress from many different angles, as I like to see how each character got to where they are, seeing it from different points of view, I feel gives an extra layer to the story, as events don't just affect one or two characters, but everyone involved. However if you are not used to this it may be slightly confusing, as it can be a lot to take in. I did have a couple of scene shifts where I thought 'wait where am I, who are these people.' but would pick it up again within a couple of sentences. For me, it was great.
This book contains pages of illustrations, both of characters and scenes from the book, It also has a map of the world in the front of the book. I love books with world maps in, it makes me feel a bit more involved. The illustrations are great and very detailed. They bring a whole new dimension to the story.
I am a lover of fantasy fiction, and this had everything - wizards, gnomes, trolls, elves, flying horses, romance, war, magic, and so much more.
The story is quite fast paced, there are a few slower scenes such as war meetings between the gnomes or trolls. But they are important to the story as they always reveal something that helps later on.
It was longer than I originally thought it would be, at 495 pages and fairly small writing, you are definitely getting a lot with this book. But as I said before it is quite fast paced and the story carries you through, that it doesn't feel that long.
My favourite characters were Gall the gnome, he has a true heart and caring nature, but a bit of cheekiness too. I love Forrester the troll, he is like a dopey older brother, annoying and sarcastic but always there to pull you through in times of trouble. Jacqueline is sweet too and I love her quick mind, she has a way with animals and a resourcefulness. 
The author has created a whole new world that will whisk you away into adventure.
Overall it's an exciting book that I think will do well in the future, it was certainly refreshing to have a break from all the vampires and angels that are out at the moment, and get back to magical fantasy.
I have seen it written that this will be a trilogy, I liked how this book was summed up and it did bring things to a nice close, but I'm glad there will be more, I always like to know what happens next.

My Rating
I would give this book 9/10, an exciting new read, I'm glad I got the chance to read it. Thanks to Peter & Mike.

This book counts towards April's 'Morbid Romantica Challenge' category 'Fairies & Elves' 


Jim said...

Sounds good! Am definitely getting more interested in high fantasy instead of supernatural stuff set in our world.

Thanks for the review!

Vicky said...

Great review! It's taking me a while to read, but I'm really enjoying Ravenwild :D

Silver Thistle said...

Great review! I've just started a copy for review too. Only a couple of chapters in so far but liking it.

I can't work out if it's intentionally funny though? Not sure if I'm meant to be laughing out loud at bits of it or if it's supposed to be a more serious fantasy...I'm defintely laughing though lol

(sorry if this is a duplicate comment, not sure if the last one went through....if it did, feel free to delete this one :D

barmybex said...

Took me longer than I thought it would, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Silver Thistle - I did laugh at bits of it too, there is definite sarcastic wit in there.