Title & Author: The Unkindness of Ravens, Abra Staffin-Wiebe
Publication Date & Publisher: July 18, 2018, Bimulous Books
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Literary Fiction
My Rating: 4.5
Description (from Goodreads):
The oba is dead.
The Eight Great Houses are under attack … and they are losing.
What’s worse than being ignored by your god?
As the royal heir from House Crow, Anari is desperate to protect his people from a plague-driven war.
Without the blessing of his god, he doesn’t have the magical power to compete in the succession battle for the beaded crown of the oba. He is easy prey for the strongest heirs. To stay alive, he must be quick and clever.
When his plans go wrong, he does the unthinkable.
Worse is having your god owe you a favor. Particularly when he’s a trickster.
Anari might not become the ruler of his people, but he has won his god’s undivided attention. If he can survive what he’s put in motion, he will have one chance to save them all. Fortunately, Anari has a few tricks up his own sleeve …
I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! (Sorry, had to get that out of the way before I went on.)
From the very beginning of The Unkindness of Ravens, Abra Staffin-Wiebe has you fully engaged in the world of House Crow and House Raven (two of the Eight Great Houses). I didn’t even realize how emotionally attached I was to two of the main characters, Anari and Kayin, until Anari is close to death in the first few pages…
I knew he had to live.
According to the description of the book, there was no book without him. And yet…
My heart was beating hard in my chest and I had tears in my eyes. Not only was I worried for Anari, but for Kayin (who I was both feeling mad at and worried for at the same time)! I couldn’t imagine this world without Anari in it and I couldn’t help but feel for Kayin…what would he do without Anari? What would happen if Anari died right in front him? I wanted to hug him and tell him everything would be okay and smack him at the same time!
This wasn’t chapters in where I’ve been given plenty of time to warm up to these characters, ya’ll…we’re talking the beginning of the story!
The description of both the action and the world is so artfully described that I felt as if I had left this world completely and been dropped right smack dab into the book. At one point, Anari is hiding in plain sight on a battlefield among the dead. I actually wrinkled my nose as if I could actually smell the rotting corpses. Here’s an excerpt from that scene:
…He took shallow breaths through his mouth, but the stench of meat just beginning to go off wormed its way inside his nostrils. He swallowed down an upsurge of bile. He had expected corpses to be stiff, but lying in the heat for hours had made them soft and squishy. They could not be mistaken for living flesh. One of the corpses sighed against his cheek like a love. The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end…
I could tell there were a lot of differences between each House. Each member of a House had specific traits, abilities, and tendencies. As you read through the book you learn more about the Houses, but mostly about House Raven and Crow. For much of the book, I kept thinking ravens and crows are so similar, why are there even two houses? (This was explained.) But I got chills when I read Kayin’s explanation to Anari of the difference between Crow and Raven:
Crows like to flock. Together, they make a murder of crows. A group of ravens, called an unkindness, only comes together in two places: battlefields and graveyards, where the bones of men fall.
When I finished The Unkindness of Ravens, I was hungry for more! Not because the ending wasn’t sufficient, but because I feel emotionally invested in these characters and have a deep desire to want to learn what happens to them next.
I’m definitely going to need to pick up a copy of this book once it’s published!