Shawna Reppert, an award-winning author of fantasy and steampunk, is proud of keeping readers up all night and making them miss work deadlines. She believes that fiction should ask questions for which there are no easy answers, while at the same time taking the reader on a fine adventure that grips them heart and soul and keeps them turning pages until the very end. To that purpose, she took workshops and seminars from the likes of David Farland, Donald Maass, Elizabeth Lyon, and Charles de Lint.
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by Shawna Reppert
Reviewed by William J. Cook
Rating: 5 Stars
Ravensblood is the first of a series, the fourth book of which is scheduled for publication in September. Shame on me for only just now catching up with it!
Reminiscent of Prohibition-era Chicago under the lethal thumb of a crazed Al Capone, the city of Portland cowers before the ruthless dark mage William. The three communities--the Mundanes, the Art, and the Craft--are in league against him, but fear they cannot match his strength. Their unlikely ally is Corwyn Ravenscroft--Raven--a man the Art rejected from their Academy. Taken in by William and schooled in the Dark Arts, he is a wanted criminal. But Raven has had a change of heart. Appalled by William's brutality and bloodshed, he commits himself to destroying the dark mage, even if he forfeits his own life in the process. His only help may be Cassandra Greensdowne, his former apprentice and lover, who is now a Guardian, a member of the special police forces tasked with combating magical crime. And Cass hates all Raven has become.
Author Shawna Reppert has created a multi-layered alternate Portland. You will recognize the streets and the weather, but there the similarity ends. Magic abounds, but it is so entirely believable, the reader soon forgets it's magic. In fact, the magic is just the context for a superb study of psychology and motivation. Reppert's characters are so exquisitely drawn and emotionally complex that the reader begins to care deeply about them. We become immersed in their world--fearing what they fear, hoping what they hope, loving what they love. What would have been only another urban fantasy novel in the hands of a lesser writer, Reppert has elevated to the status of literature. She reminds me why I love to read really good fiction.