Note: I received a free copy of this book from Online Book Club in exchange for an honest review. Apollo’s Raven was selected as an OnlineBookClub.org Book of the Day. You can check out both the novel and other reviews here!
If you were to ask me my two favourite genres, I would have to say epic fantasy and historical/period fiction. So when I saw Apollo’s Raven, a book that combines both genres into one, I leapt at the chance. And I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed!
Catrin, a Celtic warrior Princess finds herself at the mercy of her new powers. She is a druidess with a raven spirit, possessing rare and powerful abilities that could save or destroy her nation. With Rome at the heels of Britannia, Catrin’s family takes the great grandson of Mark Antony, Marcellus, as hostage/guest in their home. But he is not as cruel as her family would have her believe, and when love begins to blossom, Catrin is conflicted. Should she follow her heart or obey her orders? Will this man who seems to be her own Apollo be her downfall? Can she break her family’s ancient curse, or will she be the one to fulfill it?
I was hooked from the first page. Tanner creates this beautiful balance between reality and fantasy, combining the genres in a way I’ve been desperate to see! I loved the magic intertwined with the history, it was truly well done! Her writing style immediately entrances the reader, transporting us back in time and allowing us to perfectly envision what she describes. At many points, it felt like I was watching a movie rather than reading a book. She is descriptive without feeling dull, a true skill.
Tanner delves into each of her characters as if they were the protagonist. I’ve found in a lot of the books I’ve read recently that many secondary characters tend to be carbon copies of each other, with no distinct personality. That is not the case here. There are characters you love with all of your heart, and characters that you hate with every fiber of your being. Tanner does an excellent job at creating realistic antagonists, and I was most impressed with how she crafted Catrin’s mother, Rhiannon. She is able to write with such passion and anger that you physically feel the results. I felt myself getting frustrated and upset as if these things were happening to me! Again, this is a skill that Tanner should be very proud of.
This love story is inspiring and heartbreaking, incredibly easy to relate to. Star-crossed lovers, you can’t help but root for them. It’s confusing, filled with a passion that even they can’t understand. But at it’s core, this story is so much more than that. It’s about self-acceptance and understanding. It’s about acknowledging the dark and light within us all, and that nothing is black and white. Everyone is the hero of their own story, and that at times is frustrating, but it’s also beautiful. The magical element was extremely enjoyable, but it’s a very human story, and I think that’s what makes it so successful.
I have very few criticisms, and none of them have anything to do with the plot of the book. I found a few errors in Apollo’s Raven. Small ones that could easily have been fixed with a little more attention, but they did stand out for me. There were also a few instances where phrasing felt a little awkward or forced, just not quite in keeping with the tone of the novel. Again, they are small things, but enough for me to take note of. In all honesty, some of it may have just been personal preference, so don’t let this deter you from reading this amazing novel!
Overall, I absolutely adored Apollo’s Raven. Tanner is truly gifted and I cannot wait to read more of her work! I rate this book 4/5 stars and would definitely recommend it, especially to any fans of epic fantasy and historical fiction!
As always, thanks for reading! And remember that you can check out other reviews, along with the novel itself, over at Onlinebookclub.org.