- Ravencaller (The Keepers #2).
- David Dalglish.
- 576 pages.
- Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Dark Fantasy.
- My Rating: Hellyeah Book review.
Magical creatures are attacking the capital city, seeking to retake what was once theirs, and no one is safe. Ancient cultists have cursed the highest members of the Church, turning them into twisted abominations. The only hope for a cure lies with Adria Eveson. To learn the cure, she must befriend an imprisoned cultist and guard her heart against his seductive promises and twisted logic.
The fate of all races, human and magical, rest in her hands, and in the choices she makes. Should she choose wrong, only one person stands in her way: her brother, the Soulkeeper Devin Eveson.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When I read Soulkeeper, the first book in The Keepers trilogy last year I found it to be a good solid read and a promising start to the trilogy. But, I also had a couple of issues which meant that unlike with some other reviewers it didn’t blow me away and it was a case of ‘I enjoyed‘ rather than ‘I loved‘ the book. For me, Ravencaller fulfils the potential that I felt that Soulkeeper had. It is an improvement upon its predecessor and it most definitely falls into the ‘I loved it‘ category of books that I have read doing what a great fantasy book should do immersing you in the story and transporting you to the world that the author has created.
In Soulkeeper magical creatures long since vanished from the world, faded and forgotten, thought only to be fables, folklore, myths and legends awoke and returned to the Cradle after centuries of slumber and imprisonment.
Ravencaller starts not long after the ending of Soulkeeper and takes place solely within the confines of the city of Londheim building upon, broadening the scale and scope, raising the stakes and going deeper into the return of the dragon-sired creatures and what it means for the future of the Cradle.
Ravncaller is told through multiple perspectives that encompass both the human side and the side of the returned magical dragon-sired creatures. One issue that I had with Soulkeeper was that I didn’t care about the characters and that is through no fault of Dalglish, his writing or his creations simply, I just didn’t connect with them. In Ravencaller all of that changed and I was hooked finding myself completely invested in the characters, the struggles that they face to survive, the hardships that they endure, the tough choices that they have to make, even the questionable actions that some choose to take and I cared about them and their fate. Some new characters in Dierk, the mayor’s young son and Evelyn and Logarius who are both dragon-sired creatures known as Avenria are introduced and serve to expand the story and fill out the cast alongside the returning characters from Soulkeeper of Devin Eveson, Adria Evenson, Jacaranda, Tommy, Puffy, the little firekin, Tesmarie, the onyx faery and Janus (who only has a very minor role this time around). The characters are flawed and all in some way show change, development and growth throughout the story. Many you will root for and they are likeable, some of the others, not so much, but, even they have reasons for their actions, their feelings and their resentments and there is a depth to be found in them all.
As the setting Londheim is a cauldron, simmering and waiting to boil over. It is a dangerous place for all where miracles, prayers and devotions become manifest and at night ravenous cannibals plague the streets and where dragon-sired under the cover of darkness hunt the humans.
There is a depth to the story that goes beyond mere monster-slaying whereby the newly returned creatures want to re-establish their way of life and reclaim their lands which they believe that they have as much right to as the humans but, the humans don’t see it that way. A few like Devin, Tommy and Adria have befriended the magical creatures, forming bonds and relationships. However, most of the humans perceive the creatures as less, as not equal to them and they also have a fear of the unknown, of things, like the creatures that they don’t understand and, instead of listening and learning they resort to violence. That sentiment is also true of the creatures and both sides use weapons rather than words looking like they will repeat the mistakes of the past rather than build to a new future. The creatures were slumbering and while humanity has forgotten them, they still remember humanity and the past. They remember the wars between the races, the chaos, the bloodshed and the countless deaths that ultimately saw them imprisoned.
Not all humans are humane, some do very bad things and they are more monstrous than the monsters. Likewise, not all monsters are monstrous, not all of the returned magical creatures want to harm humans and some have humane traits that put humankind to shame. Some of the dragon-sired creatures desire a diplomatic solution to the problems caused by their unexpected return. You can’t erase but, you can forgive the dark deeds of past and forge relations in the hope that you can find a solution that allows for a new tomorrow where they can build a land where they are neighbours, trade partners and all races co-exist as equals. While others, those whose animosity, hatred and loss fuel them like the faction known as ‘the Forgotten Children’ who have infiltrated Londheim want war and a land that will drown in the blood of humankind as they seek to reclaim what was once theirs.
The writing in Ravencaller flows well and it is descriptive and engaging. At a length of 550 pages, Ravencaller is quite a long book but, the page-count feels like far less. The story is fast-paced, Dalglish doesn’t skimp on the action and it is definitely what you would class as an ‘action-packed’ read. Luckily, Dalglish knows how to write exciting action scenes and exhilarating sequences that get your heart racing as you lose yourself in the thick of the intense fighting. Even though there is an abundance of action there is still plenty of room for characterisation, emotion, intrigue, machinations, story-telling and world-building to be found within the pages of Ravencaller too.
Ravencaller is an action-packed mix of magic, monsters and mayhem.
Purchase Ravencaller (The Keepers #2) by David Dalglish.
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