Friday, January 2, 2009

The Tower of Ravens by Kate Forsyth (5/5 stars)

Kate Forsyth is best known for her last series the Witches of Eileanan which I haven't read. This book is the first book in her latest series; Rhiannon's Ride. Rhiannon's Ride is a trilogy. Overall this was an excellent and very solid fantasy. For me it fell somewhere between and epic type of fantasy and an adventure fantasy. The first book is more of an adventure fantasy.

This book starts out with No-Horn a half-satrycorn girl who is in danger on being killed by the satrycorn tribe because she has not yet grown a horn. No-Horn manages to kill a prisoner and steal his goods; she captures a black-winged horse and flees the tribe. She ends up in the forest near Lewen's parents' land. Lewen finds her tied to the horse and helps to heal her. Lewen and family decide to name her Rhiannon. The remainder of the book deals with their adventures on their way to the Shining City of Lucescere.

This was a great book. There was a lot of action, the plot is complex and deep. The world is magnificent and is developed to great detail. There are a number of different races of creatures and there is a very complex history behind the story. I am guessing that some of the history and backstory were developed in the Witches of Eileanan series. Rhiannon and Lewen are wonderful characters who come across as believable both in the heroism and their humanity. The supporting characters are also rich with personality and history. Reading this book really made me want to go back to the first series and read more about all the fascinating characters in the background.

That being said, I found this to be a stand alone series. Although I am guessing you might understand the motives of some of the supporting characters better if you knew their history from the first series. That being said this is *not* a stand alone book. The first book stops basically mid journey. I was extremely grateful that I had purchased the next book in the series already.

This really is one of the best straight fantasy novels I have read in some time. There is action, adventure, intrigue, true love, and magic. The intricacies of all of the customs of the different races are fascinating but never overbearing.

In summary a wonderful read. My only complaint would be that the book does not wrap anything up before its conclusion. I would recommend buying all three books if you opt to read the first one; otherwise you will be fretting about what is going to happen to Rhiannon while you wait to get the next book. I can't imagine reading the first book and not reading the second and third one. This book made me want to go out and get all of the books in the Witches of Eileanan series too!

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