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The Black Raven [Paperback]

4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Duality, dweomer, detail... Sept. 10 2001
By Esther
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book in the Dragon Mage series, which chronicles the fortunes of the inhabitants of Deverry and those of the Northlands and Westlands in various centuries.
I found this sequel to The Red Wyvern slightly unsatisfying, but still an absolute charm of a novel, with the kind of detail a fantasy trainspotter like me thrives upon. Kerr does feudal villages and castles and fantasy/history exceedingly well; her characters are multidimensional and challenging - particularly the women, which I believe is deliberate: the men tend to be more distant - romantic figures or even caricatures - which I suppose might annoy you if you are a man. But this is quite unashamedly a book from a woman's point of view: for instance, when the men go to war the action of the novel tends to stay with the women left behind. This works very well indeed: it's not a feminist treatise, just an honest authorial perspective.
In The Black Raven, we meet my favourite Lillorigga again, this time on the horns of a different dreadful dilemma, torn between her good, honest, loving, considerate, brave, strong, boring husband-to-be and the not altogether natural charisma and charms of the importunate Prince Maryn; working with dangerous magic to unravel a deadly curse on the Prince at the expense of her health and not entirely free of the spectre of her evil dead mother.
But it's Niffa who takes my fancy in this one. Just coming into the awareness of her psychic abilities and hounded by Raena, the misguided sorceress with little conscience and too much power for her own - or anybody else's - good, Niffa mourns her murdered husband and is comforted by the family ferrets, unaware that her pain and persecution is a repetition of that of Lillorigga and her mother, doomed to continue, cycle upon cycle, in different incarnations, until, presumably, the battle between the supernatural forces which blights the lives of the inhabitants of Deverry and, centuries later, Cerr Cawnen, is resolved.
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By Elyon
Format:Paperback
Katharine Kerr's Celtic based fantasy series is among the best available, without the fanfare but equal, in my opinion, to other contemporary sword and sorcery fare such as Jordan's or Martin's ongoing series. Not meant as a stand-alone, this work continues the storylines of the previous "Red Wyvern," as well as the overall narrative thread begun so long ago with "Daggerspell." Without starting at the beginning of the series, most readers will find themselves lost here. But for those who have never read Kerr's work, how fortunate, for you can begin with "Daggerspell" and read all ten books successively!
I would have rated this book more highly--the quality of writing found in the best of her previous books is present here--had I felt this work significantly moved the storyline along. However, most of the pages in "The Black Raven" are devoted to the relationships existing between the main characters, as well as life at court, and, as satisfying on one level as I found this to be, I would have liked to have seen further resolution to elements of the story left dangling in the previous work, as well as more buildup for the continuance of the narrative to follow. It was gratifying, however, to see a return of the character of Ebany, who has been absent from the tale for some time.
On a separate note, I feel I must take the author to task for neglecting to provide a thorough character list and chronology at the back of her books. Her tale spans centuries, shifts back and forth within time, and includes incarnations of characters from different books and simultaneous storylines that creates some confusion for the reader in the lapse between publications.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Raven Review March 3 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As a fan of this Katharine Kerr series in its entirety I found this book to be a must read, and one that I could not put down. Her style of writing has remained as easy to read and all engrossing as when she first began the series. This last series though has tended to focus on fewer time-line scenarios than her previous books. While in after-thought I find this a little tedious (the book mainly revolving around the Llilorigga-Maryn, and Rhodry-Raena story-lines) you can tell that the story is coming to some grand conclusion which makes it worth the read!If you have read the series from the beginning it is a little disappointing compared to the excitement of the initial Daggerspell series, but we are still comparing greatness to not-so-exciting greatness! Its not a book to be read out of sequence, start with Daggerspell and from there you can't go wrong!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating like the rest of the series. Nov. 20 1999
Format:Paperback
Like the rest of this series I found I couldn't put the book down, the author is clearly preparing for something special. The thought that this book is bringing us so near the end is a sad one. The only negative point I feel I should mention is the fact that I waited so long for this book I did not retain the characters and their lineage as well as I would have liked.
I highly recommend reading the whole series: Daggerspell, Darkspell, The Bristling Wood, The Dragon Revenant (first book of the series I read, read it again after I read the first 3), A Time of Exile, A Time of Omens, Days of Blood and Fire, Days of Air and Darkness, and The Red Wyvern
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