The Black Raven Paperback
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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
Most recent customer reviews
This book was ok...but definitely not what she could really do. Compared ot Daggerspell, this one didn't really outshine the rest. Read morePublished on July 7 2000
As a reader of fantasy novels for many years I rate Ketherine Kerr's series very highly. The Dragon mage series is her best yet. Read morePublished on April 15 2000 by Mark