Saturday, 28 March 2015

Book Review: Karen Maitland | The Raven's Head

It's very rare that I will read a book particularly by a new author without gauging the reaction of previous books through previous reviews. However, for some reason there was a strong pull for me to read 'The Raven's Head' by Karen Maitland. Baring in mind this was an author I hadn't heard of before so was tempted by this book from purely by instinct, blurb and of course the gorgeous book cover showcasing a Raven in all its sinister glory.

I am always nervous when diving into a book from an author that I haven't read before, I tend to get settled with favourite authors and seek comfort in their appealing and recognisable writing styles. I need not have worried for this book from Karen Maitland had me gripped within it's black talons from the very beginning. Maitland is said by many to be the queen of the dark ages and there is clearly merit in this title, not only from her dark and compelling story telling but how you have no choice but to bow down and surrender to the story's will.

There are three main points of view that we are allowed to witness this tale unfold through and each one is as compelling as the next. First we meet Vincent, a 17 year old librarian who allows himself to be led by his immaturity and desire to make something of himself. Then there is the timid Gisa, an apothecary's niece who may be the key to something very powerful. Finally 5 year old Wilky, who is unknowingly the key component in a very sinister plan. By the time you have submitted to one angle of the story, you are ripped away and thrown into the perspective of someone else which is a fantastic way to tell this story. It keeps you hooked, longing to get back to the last bit of story that left your mind reeling with what has just happened.

From the start of the book these three tales couldn't seem more separate from each other and the reader is left wondering about the significance of each perspective. As the book progresses along, each of the three stories get drawn together until we realise that each perspective is as important as the rest and the pieces of a Gothically beautifully jigsaw slowly reveal the final picture.

This is a novel that allows the reader to dip in and dip at at leisure with short chapters and easy to follow prose. The story moves along at a wonderful pace with plenty of suspense and some occasional well written comedic moments. I must warn you in advance, give yourself plenty of time to read this book particularly as you get closer to the end. I am a fast reader but because this book had me hooked I ended up reading it until 4am just so I could find out how it all ends.

From now on whenever I see a book from Karen Maitland I will not hesitate to pick it up and purchase it so that her books can sit proudly on my shelves. I don't usually go for books that could be classed as 'Historical Fiction' but this book is something different altogether. It is a wonderfully addictive read that will have you gasping to the very end. Some scenes in this book aren't for the faint of heart but you will not be disappointed when you throw yourself into this wonderful book.

I give this book 5/5

If you want to buy this book then please check out the link below.

Karen Maitland | The Raven's Head: 

For more information about the author please head over to the official website

Karen Maitland Official Website

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