“Back of Book” Summary:
After the inexplicable disappearance of Lilly Taylor’s parents, she has no choice but to move to Canada where she unravels some frightening yet intriguing family secrets… Her whole life had been based on a lie. Lilly had grown up in a loveless home with a father who she had barely ever seen and a mother who was… well, not very motherly. After they mysteriously disappear without a trace, Lilly is sent to Canada where she finds a whole new way of life. A life filled with love and people who care for her. But that’s not all she discovers, Lilly also finds out that she isn’t who, or what, she thinks she is. Lilly has a very special ability and it’s just a matter of time before her true self starts to shine. And when it does, her life will never be the same again. Raven is a fantasy novel for children and young adults set in the beautiful province of British Columbia.
Raven kept my attention. The main plot of an evil witch keeping a family hostage to maintain her youth and beauty is reminiscent to old classic and frightening fairy tales. The storyline is entertaining, although there were many things I wish were elaborated on more such as the history Lilly Taylor’s “adopted” mother and how she came to discover the Tulugaq changeling gene in which she exploited. The witch always wore white, she always dressed Lilly in yellow, why?? What is the significance to even mentioning this if it wasn’t going to be explained? The Elders, a mixed council or various types of creatures, were not quite explained in enough detail to keep the reader from being confused. This is an example of when a fantasy author adds in too many paranormal creatures into a single story without thorough explanations. It creates the opinion that the storyline was pieced together as a mix mash of ideas- something with absolutely downgrades the satisfaction of reading a book because it is too cluttered.
Probably the biggest annoyance was the incorrect use of regional slang in dialogue. The author is English and uses British slang in dialogue spoken by Canadians. This occurred several times. The sentence that stands out the most is the use of the word ‘pram.’ No American or Canadian uses this word. We say ‘stroller.’ The scene was supposed to be painful. Rose is discussing the day her husband and daughter went missing.
“One day he took her out in her pram for a walk and they never returned. Nobody saw them. It was a complete mystery,” she stuttered, trying to hold back the tears.
I got so annoyed and hung up on the fact that the slang was so off for the Canadian character that the scene became unbelievable and I as the reader became detached from the overall meaning of the dialogue. The language used became distracting from the story itself. Especially when writing of characters in a country that you are not native to, it is incredibly important to describe it accurately and to make sure the dialogue contains the correct slang. Otherwise to some people it will stick out like a sore thumb.
Another aspect that shows a poor choice in judgement by the author is the fact that two of her characters are very young girls, barely teenagers, and are falling in love, including one of them that makes arrangements to live with her partner. Instead of 13-year old characters, perhaps they should be several years older. Young teenagers falling in love, and being encouraged to do so by their families, is very naive and rather creepy and bizarre in a book with a plot setting in modern-day Canada.
Despite its failings, this book is not entirely terrible. However, I will not be reading any additional books in this series.