Mark of the Raven – Morgan Busse

Mark of the Raven Morgan Busse
Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse
Series: The Ravenwood Saga #1
Published by Bethany House on November 6, 2018
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Suspense, Fantasy
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five-stars

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood—and to a powerful ability. But it comes with a dark secret. Tasked with assassinating the man who can destroy her family—and the only one who can bring peace to the nations—she must choose between justice and honor or legacy and power. Is she willing to pay the price for the path she chooses?

All of the Seven Houses have a special gift. Ravenwood, it is commonly thought, has none. That special ability died out in the fall of House of Ravenwood to the Dominia Empire all those years ago.

But there is a dark secret within the House. The gift remains. The women of Ravenwood have ruled their House with an iron fist for generations, carefully guarding their power. Today, that gift passes to a new generation. Lady Selene will become a dreamwalker.

It is everything she wanted, everything she’s trained for, everything she’s been taught to embrace—but she soon discovers the dark side of their secret. The women of House Ravenwood are assassins, using their dreamwalking abilities to enter the dreams of another and kill them in their sleep.

Selene is conflicted about this role. Her gifting ensures her House’s power, prestige, position, and financial wealth. But is that what the gift was created to do? In Mark of the Raven, Morgan Busse delights readers with a wonderful tale of finding one’s place in the world.

Busse’s fantasy world is drawn perfectly. With seemingly little effort—which means with great effort—she sets up the parameters of her world. We catch glimpses of a rumored past when the Houses worked together in their giftings for the benefit of all. We get pieces of a more recent past when the Houses betrayed Ravenwood to the Empire and nearly caused its destruction. There’s a glimpse into the mythology of the world—a contrast between the Light and the Dark Lady. And we see the seeping, seething resentment and anger of Grand Lady Ragna, who carries the wrath of the generations wherever she goes.

It’s a deeply emotional work—of course it has to be, because it is centered around a girl trying to discover her identity while stepping into the dreams of another. You feel each character’s motivations, conflictions, and passions. The storyline slows a bit when the Houses gather for a conference in Ravenwood. The boardroom scenes linger on a bit too long. But it’s worth what we get from it.

Selene sees the power of the other Houses. She is introduced to a world beyond Ravenwood. Suddenly, she sees a world of possibilities. And a hope of change and light. It all leads to an intriguing twist that will no doubt drive the story of the next installment.

Mark of the Raven is the 2019 INSPY Award winner in the Visionary category and the honor is well-deserved. Busse kept me enthralled late into the night digging deeper into the world she has created.

five-stars

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