Good morning guys! I agreed to read White Raven by Irina Lopatina as part of TLC Book Tours*. I really like fantasy, and anything with a bit of a Russian-feel, so I was really excited to read this! And I was pleasantly suprised. Here is the book description from the TLC tour page:
In the kingdom of Areya, humans, animals, and the magical creatures that inhabit the Eternal Forest have long coexisted peacefully, but now something is horribly wrong. A terrifying stream of monstrous creatures has begun to emerge from the secret depths of the earth, terrorizing all of Areya’s native inhabitants. From the tiny, wise drevalyankas to the bellicose cave-dwelling gnomes to the devious kikimoras who gather roots and herbs in the marsh, everyone is in danger.
With the aid of Urart, the magical sword that has been passed down from the time of the ancient northern ancestors, Grand Duke Vlady can offer temporary protection to his people. But Prince Vraigo, Vlady’s nephew, who is endowed with magical power himself, understands that the source of the evil monsters must be found if there’s any hope of survival. Along with a motley crew of his forest-dwelling friends, Vraigo sets off on a perilous quest in search of the koschei, the powerful, corrupt Archmagus whose mission is the destruction not just of Areya, but of the entire world.
When Urart disappears from the duke’s stronghold, Areya is doomed, and only Vraigo, the White Raven, can possibly retrieve the sword. This journey requires Vraigo to use all of his keen wits and magical abilities, as well as to ally himself to dangerous creatures like yagas and werewolves, natural enemies of man, and precipitates the young prince into the most bewildering, complex challenge he has faced yet: life in the twenty-first century.
White Raven was great for a couple reasons. First, I really liked the magic and how it worked – those able to do magic do it by reaching for energy from the “magic veil” in the sky. Also, there are a lot of quirky little creatures in this book: the drevalyanka, kikimoras, gnomes, pikshas, etc. And there’s a character and creature glossary in the back of the book with little pictures, which was really helpful. (My personal favorite was the drevalyankas.) Vraigo is a fun hero. He’s very powerful and skilled, but he’s a good person. I also liked that there seemed to be a concept of other dimensions or universes in the book – since I’ve actually been reading up on multiverse theories, it was fun to see something like this in a fantasy book – it’s surprisingly rare in fiction. In fact, this book definitely stands out in the fantasy genre, and it’s refreshing to see something new and unique.
The story itself was fun, but a bit long-winded. It read a bit like a fairy tale, but there were times that I felt the story was moving a bit too slowly. The sword that gets stolen and leads Vraigo on a hunt to find it doesn’t actually happen until almost halfway through the book. It was really fun to see Vraigo suddenly try to manage in the 21st century though. The book definitely ends on a cliffhanger, and leaves you wanting to reach for the sequel immediately.
Overall, this was a fun new twist for the fantasy genre and I look forward to more from the author! And thank you TLC Book Tours for the chance to read it.
Sarah Says: 3.5 stars
Also, TLC asked me to mention some special promotions going on for White Raven right now. Orders placed through the Light Messages site will be $12.00 per book instead of $16.95 (that’s about a 30% savings), and folks will also receive a PERSONALIZED, signed post card from author Irina Lopatina. Postcards feature landscapes from Altai, Siberia––the inspiration for White Raven’s Kingdom of Areya. The promotion goes for 14 days after today.
And if readers submit photos of themselves with their copies (or e-copies) of the books, then Irina will send them a personalized, signed book plate for the front of their book. Go here and use the Contact link to submit the photo.
Visit the White Raven website.
Follow White Raven on Twitter.
Visit the other stops on the tour!
Monday, July 30th: Just Joanna
Thursday, August 2nd: Books Without Any Pictures
Friday, August 3rd: Geek Banter
Monday, August 13th: Imaginary Reads
Tuesday, August 14th: Book Spark
Wednesday, August 15th: The Written World
Wednesday, August 15th: Reading Reality
Thursday, August 16th: Sarah Says Read
Friday, August 17th: Words I Write Crazy
Monday, August 20th: Pieces of Fate
Wednesday, August 29th: Laura’s Reviews
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and received no compensation.