PrintE-mail Written by Callum Shephard

Review: Shadow of the Raven / Author: Robert Charles / Publisher: Self-published / Release Date: Out Now

Exiled to the home of his ancestral enemies to take a position even he considers a joke, Ambassador Edric Saran finds his already unwanted job made harder when he becomes the prime suspect for a murder case. Hunted through the streets with little but his wits and an unlikely ally as his only defences, he soon finds that clearing his name is but the first step in a far deadlier task…

This is a first-person narrative, and the manner in which we see the world through Saran’s eyes is the book's greatest strength of the book, with his observations and thoughts embellishing every scene. Both his personality and predicament help greatly in driving the story forwards, and he also serves as a useful guide to the world around him, explaining its long history and troubles.

The book's problems mostly come with the actual story rather than the world or characters. A surprising number of plot points are abruptly resolved at around the midway point and, while they might link into a much larger tale, it makes the story feel oddly staccato, especially as some of the later scenes seem tacked on and superfluous.

There's also a lack of clarity as how certain fantastical elements work, with one group of unstoppable foes seemingly coming out of nowhere. These moments can easily throw off a reader and they occur a few times too often for the book’s own good.

Yet despite a few glaring issues, Shadow of the Raven has enough to it to make it well worth reading. Those after an engaging, fast-paced and entertaining fantasy tale could do worse than give it a go.

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