Author: John Lawson
The Raven is about the internal struggle of a man who is trying to find his way. His strong religious beliefs have unraveled and he is trying to get it back. The outcome of the journey may not be what he expected.
The Raven is the sequel to Witch Ember. It gives an account from the other side of another character from the first book. Sir Guiromélans is introduced in Witch Ember when he comes into contact with Esmeree while she was a sellaria. A chance meeting again with his troop, the Ravens, and the Alfs in the forest along Ymyl Gwland, rekindles their relationship. He watched his men die that day but his life was spared with the help of Esmeree. Sir Guiromélans was in awe as he witnessed her talk to the God of the Alfs and he sees the witch in a new light. At the time, they were in the middle of a war with man and Alf.
Although he still tried to bring her before the Inquisition, Esmeree would not go with him. He believed he was trying to save her from herself. In the end, Sir Guiromélans went his own way when she wouldn’t follow him, but Esmeree was the first one to plant the seed of doubt.
In The Raven, the main character, Sir Guiromélans, goes through conflict. He starts off seeming self absorbed and self righteous. Given his nature and his occupation, you would think he needed to possess these qualities. Throughout the novel, you see him slowly break away his barriers and seem to let a few people past the wall be built up. You can feel him being molded into a new character by the story’s end.
John Lawson uses detailed descriptions which leaves nothing to the imagination. You cringe as the characters do, while they walk along the coast and wonder with every page you turn, at what the next creature is going to be and if it is as horrifying as the last.
The dialogue was creative. The reader definitely gets a sense of different cultures within the characters interaction. If you can get beyond the difficult pronunciations of the dialect, you will find a deep story about a man’s quest for personal reconciliation. The dialogue adds spice to the story which otherwise would have been a run of the mill fantasy. I felt it slowed the pace of the story to some degree but not enough to lose sight of the big picture. As in Witch Ember, this character driven story centers around Sir Guiromélans’s actions and how they affect the people around him.
The illustration on the cover of the book is some sort of metal ring with splats of blood, and this caught my attention. The object has two embers – one red and one blue. It looks solid and immovable. The metal bar down the middle seems to represent a separation and the blood may show the extremes of battle. It is interesting enough to draw you into the pages of the book.
The story is well written. We’ve all been placed in a position where we feel as if we’re going to be torn apart by a decision or a path we must take. Although it’s a dark fantasy, readers will warm up to Sir Guiromélans’s turmoil and hope he can find his way.
The above review was contributed by: Jennifer Andrew -Freelance Writer and Reviewer. To read more of Jennifer's reviews CLICK HERE