Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Book Review - The Ravens Head by Karen Maitland

Auther: Karen Maitland
Publisher: Headline Review (12 Mar. 2015)
ISBN: 978-1472215062

From the back:

A gothic delight, swirling with the smoke of alchemy about a young man whose clumsy attempt at blackmail leaves him master of a raven's head ... the Alchemical symbol of death 

The Raven's Head by Karen Maitland, author of the bestselling and much-loved Company of Liars, will delight fans of Kate Mosse or Deborah Harkness seeking a new, dark fix.

'A compelling blend of historical grit and supernatural twists' Daily Mail on The Falcons of Fire and Ice

Vincent is an apprentice librarian who stumbles upon a secret powerful enough to destroy his master. With the foolish arrogance of youth, he attempts blackmail but the attempt fails and Vincent finds himself on the run and in possession of an intricately carved silver raven's head.

Any attempt to sell the head fails ... until Vincent tries to palm it off on the intimidating Lord Sylvain - unbeknown to Vincent, a powerful Alchemist with an all-consuming quest. Once more Vincent's life is in danger because Sylvain and his neighbours, the menacing White Canons, consider him a predestined sacrifice in their shocking experiment.

Chilling and with compelling hints of the supernatural, The Raven's Head is a triumph for Karen Maitland, Queen of the Dark Ages.

My Review

OK so let me start by saying that this book really is as macabre as it says it is and even lurid at times! At times I was not sure if I liked it because it tugged on a slight moral thing for me (I really don't want to say what because I don't want to ruin the story!) but then I had to remember that it is set in an age where things are very different to how we live now. I am not sure when this is set but I kind of want to say medieval!?

I really struggled to get into Karen Maitland's 'The Vanishing Witch" and to some extend I did a little with this book but once I got into it, I was into it! The first half of the book, like many I read, was fairly slow going but you do have to bear with it because it really is setting the scene and weaving all of the details for what is to come later on in the book. Without all that it probably wouldn't make much sense.

From the start of the book we follow three 'sets' of people whose stories all come together at the end of the book into something quite alarming and very interesting. So you have all heard of the philosophers stone in Harry Potter right? Well erase all that and you will see alchemy in a very different way.

This book was addictive in the end and left me wanting more which I always think is a really good sign for a book and they way it was left means there could quite easily be a sequel!

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