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Raven Boy: The Raven Boy Saga Book 1 & Book 2 Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
So far, so good. I cannot fault the story. The magic is believable within the world Kei has created but - and it is, sadly, a humongous but - the standard of writing is such that reading to the end became a chore.
If the author used an editor she should have her money back. The tense changes within sentences, there are numerous spelling mistakes, the punctuation is poor and there are so many phrasal anachronisms - these young Viking lads call their mother "mom" - that it is next to impossible to remain immersed in the fictional world. And, let's not forget the exclamation marks! There are lots!
It's a real shame because the story is genuinely good. An editor would have been able to work with the author to knock the manuscript into the book it deserves to be.
However, the story had a number of problems which just became more and more apparent as I read. The prose is very clumsy and I suspect that the cause may be that the author does not speak English as a first language. The Vikings use a lot of modern words which sound very unnatural, sentences are structured strangely and words are frequently misspelled. These things all stacked up over time to make the novel rather difficult to read.
On top of this, the story has a rather large time jump between the first and second half and afterwards focuses on an entirely new character. While Hrafn does eventually re-enter the story, I found this shift to be jarring. It was almost as though two novels were compressed together and, because of this, the story felt rushed and lacking in detail. I think that it would have worked better if the tales were separated, allowing for the characters to receive better development and leaving more space for the relationship between Hrafn and Anna to develop (as it stands, they fall in love immediately at first sight).
All in all, the novel was intriguing and I'm curious as to how it will pan out but at the same time I hope that the sequel will receive a bit better editing that this instalment.
It's basically two different stories that only come together at the end. First of all there's Hrafn, a 12 year-old boy forced to become the leader of his father's band of Viking raiders as the result of a prophecy. The first half is more historical/action based, with fighting and plotting galore as Hrafn tries to adapt to his new role in life.
The second half is more epic fantasy in style, following the adventures of Anna, a girl with a mysterious past training to become a witch. The two stories meet up when Hrafn's band travels to Anna's country, and the two meet up and fall in love.
While there are occasional editing flubs, the author speaks about a million languages, so it's no big deal. I also really loved the index of name meanings at the end.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After a prologue as well as a preface that lay the drift for the fantasy world we are about to enter, Kei begins her Viking tale with a battle in which the Viking king konungr Torgeir is killed and the queen Turid must decide on his successor - the konungr's gentle brother Ørjan (who suffers convulsions under stress) or one of Turid's twin sons - Hrafn and Olaf, merely `twelve winters old'. Prophecy enters the scene, Hrafn is the chosen one, and in his battles and travels he encounters the strong willed, beautiful, and loving Anna whose mysterious includes preparation to become a witch (she can talk with animals, has the ability to open and close locked things at will, knows potions and spells) and it is here that the beginnings of a love affair begin.
Though Kei provides and index of names at book's end the Norse and many other language names she has pinned on her characters take considerable patience to allow the eye to remain joined to the brain to follow the story. That seems to be a trait for these fantasy books (think Hobbit, Harry Potter, The Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, etc), so for readers who love the genre the names should not provide a problem. A suggestion: list the cast of characters after the Prologue as a reference. This is a good start for a new novelist who seems to flow with the world of make believe very comfortably. Grady Harp, January 14
Kateryna Kei spins a tale reminiscent of the the boy King Arthur—an unlikely child-hero thrust into the world of men. Kei has a talent for creating vivid descriptions and interesting, likable characters. Her prose is natural and flowing, and suitable for adults as well as younger readers. I understand this is the first book in a series. I’ll be in the lookout for the next installment of the Raven Boy.
Let me start out by saying there is an interesting story here. There are old legends and magic at work here, and this story is quite inventive. There is a lot of potential to this tale, but the writing itself does not match up to what the author was trying to accomplish. I kept hoping for it to improve because there is clearly a well thought out story here, but sadly, it just isn't crafted well.
I think I could identify most with Turid. I got a better look inside her mind than any other character, and her concern for her children is believable. Not only has she been forced to choose between them, but she struggles inside with the fact that it is her younger son who will lead her people.
Though there are a few spots that are written nicely, there is at least one paragraph on each page that felt awkward and clumsy. Lines such as "he will be a very good viking" and "a couple of minutes of birth-time were making a big difference" and "big black raven" need to be reworded entirely. They have an awkward feel to them, and it doesn't flow well. It is too choppy and dumbed down when it shouldn't be.
Some of the dialogue is quite interesting, and a few characters actually can spin a good tale. However, there is a lot of trailing off of dialogue as the characters can't think of anything else to say. I found that frustrating. Also, using words repeatedly like "raven bird" is silly. I know a raven is a bird, so why say it like that? I really wanted to like this story, but the writing held me back.
With historical fiction, I want to feel immersed in the time and place I'm reading about. That's true of any book, really. But I never got the feeling I was actually among the Vikings. Either the author did not know enough about Vikings to bring their culture to life, or she did not share it with her readers. There is very little description of the world around. We are told "she rode there" without a single line of how she got there. Was it cloudy? Cold? Raining? I'll never know.
There is a lot of potential in this book, but the abundance of grammar errors and poorly chosen words doesn't do it justice. An author's job is to create art, which I believe this author has done. All she needs is more time to refine her craft and an editor who can help her along the way.
I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
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