“Wow…what a book!” is an exclamation that I don’t make very often. And when I do utter these words it means the book in question has completely immersed me in its own world that I have failed to notice my own. It means I have visualised the setting so clearly that it feels as if I am actually there. Furthermore, this world that I have been living through stays alive beyond the last page and a piece of it never really leaves me.
Raven had me hanging onto his every action and word from page one right to the end and then some. Yet I still managed to breathe…just. I’m not always the greatest fan of 1st person narrative, however here it is used so well to keep me in suspense and feel Raven’s perspective in not knowing enemy whereabouts and their plans. Perfect for keeping me on the edge.
Usually, it takes me time to start feeling sympathetic towards characters and in a way, for them to prove themselves to me. To show me why I should or shouldn’t like them. Not this time. As I got more and more engrossed in the story, I felt more and more for the wonderful cast including the Wolves. Well, most of them – but then finding myself hating the bad ones is goal achieved I guess. I was a little sad whenever one of the Norsemen was sent off to Valhöll possibly with the exception of those who may have deserved that fate. I found myself holding my breath until I knew Sigurd and his men were alive. For Black Floki and Penda I had fingers and toes crossed. Unfortunately, I never really found myself hoping too much for Raven because I knew he had to survive in order for there to be a Trilogy. But I’m ok with this because the story made up for it and there were still some touch-and-go moments.
Giles Kristian has this subtle but effective way of juxtaposing nature’s beauty with man’s violence. I can’t remember exactly where (so engrossed was I) but somewhere along the journey I remember birds singing in the forest – that really stood out for me. At the end, he brings such a stunning description of the waves to life. In contrast, he had me looking through the carnage desperately picking out survivors and wanting to wash the blood, guts and dirt off Raven, Weohstan and Cynethryth. Wonderful writing throughout!
The thing with these amazing stories is that you want to finish the last page yet don’t want to. I’m sure you understand what I mean – that feeling of needing to know what happens yet desperately not wanting the story to end. At least I have two more in the Raven Trilogy waiting for me so I can prolong the story a bit more (hope that they meet the bar set by Raven: Blood Eye). And call me old-fashioned but these stories just need to come in the shape of a physical book. There’s something special about living an alternate world through actual paper pages that just isn’t there electronically.