From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!

Posted Friday, 31 May, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , 5 Comments

#WyrdAndWonder Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By:  I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

Previously I hosted a series of special posts attached to #blogmas featuring Fantasy novelists I was eagerly looking forward to seeking out throughout [2019]. I was hoping to read one of them for #WyrdAndWonder which is why when I saw one of the authors on my #mustread shortlist, I jumped at the chance to join the blog tour! My spot for the tour was on the final day for #WyrdAndWonder and it felt like a good fit at the time. This was prior to the 4x migraines which altered how I could read and blog this May; but overall, I was still celebrating the fact I could receive the first book “Mark of the Raven” alongside the book for the blog tour “Flight of the Raven”. This is also marking my first attempt to read #INSPYFantasy of this nature and I looked forward to what I would find inside the story-line as I wanted to see how an INSPY novelist might approach this kind of portal and epic fantastical tale!

I received complimentary copies of “Mark of the Raven” and “Flight of the Raven” direct from the publisher Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

Celebrating a new interest in #INSPY #Fantasy this
#WyrdAndWonder from a #blogmas selection!

As you may or may not recall – I first featured this saga during my #blogmas series of posts last December wherein I had a chance to seek out #newtomeauthors by showcasing their series & books in a series of featured posts wherein I had the delightful joy in getting to know a bit about their characters, their world-building and/or their writerly styles of approach within the Fantasy genre I love to read! The interesting bit though is how a lot of those selections were actually within the sub-niche of #INSPYFantasy! Something I haven’t readily explored in the past and was delighted in finding such a strong pull towards seeking out these kinds of authors as previously I had mostly focused on Indie Authors and/or Self Pub authors who were writing the kinds of fantastical reads I dearly wanted to be exploring!

In case you might not have been with me during #blogmas let me recap what my thoughts were in December to give you a good impression of how I was celebrating this new interest of mine:

I am LOVING the art direction of today’s Fantasy market! I love artwork which pulls you into the world-building – gives you something to chew and contemplate and before you realise it, you already want to be living in that world – isn’t this the case for you? I oft wonder what allures readers to read Fantasy & Science Fiction – strictly the artwork or the synopsis or a mixture of both? For me, every story starts with a keen interest in the premise & what I shall find inside the pages,.. the artwork for me is the icing on the cupcake if I love reading the novel!

Ever since I started co-hosting #WyrdAndWonder (an annual Fantasy event with mini-events throughout the year) I’ve become more mindful of Fantasy as a niche I dearly want to explore further, as I only had a fleeting sense of what was available in the past. This month I’ll be reading one of my favourite Science Fiction novelists whose written an epic Fantasy series – a series I’ve been trying to read for the past few years and felt life constantly was pulling me out of its pages. As I knew #FantasyForChristmas was nearing – I felt by celebrating new worlds of Fantasy would be the best anchour towards reading more Fantasy this December!

I was also inspired when I first started reading A Mortal Song during last month’s #Mythothon – wherein I was happily charmed by what I discovered when Japanese Mythos and Fantasy are entwined!

This particular series I am showcasing today is about redemptive conscience – as there is an heir to a legacy not of the choosing of the heir but of the family she’s been bourne. There is a moral and ethical dilemma to her inheritance and as you read the synopsis from book one to book two you can sort of start to see where the lines are drawn for her and her family. Stories of individual quests in worlds of Fantasy are amongst my favourites but what is interesting of course, is this a second selection under the umbrella of Christian Fantasy. It would be interesting how this ties into the theme but also, how it reflects the crisis within the lead character for not wanting to make a choice that goes against her own beliefs.

Curious – which other stories in Fantasy reflect this kind of quest and what did you appreciate about those narratives the most?!

Now, as we fast forward into May – imagine my heart of gratitude having *both!* novels within this saga on my shelf to read & disappear inside before the closing hours of #WyrdAndWonder! I was wicked excited the day they arrived – as it felt like I had come full circle since #blogmas to find one of the authors I could read not just for the event I was eagerly co-hosting *but!* of finding myself able to read an author I had spotlighted & featured within six months of that feature running on Jorie Loves A Story! I have been wanting to be more proactive in reading the authors I’m spotlighting within six or twelvemonths as a way forward in the future rather than waiting a select number of years before I can ‘meet’ their stories as they say!

I wonder if anyone else whose been participating with #WyrdAndWonder has disappeared into this niche of focus themselves? Or, if like me it is a new thread of exploration!? Afterall, I love INSPY Lit – I just never realised they had such a healthy assortment of #FantasyReads!

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!Mark of the Raven
Subtitle: The Ravenwood Saga
by Morgan L. Busse
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy–a legacy that supports her people–or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her dilemma comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Historical-Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764232220

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven

Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 6th November, 2018

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 352

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

my review of mark of the raven:

Selene and her sister Amara have a long history of rivalry between them – it is etched into how they interact with each other and how seething in anger Amara had been by the priest’s gesture on behalf of Selene during a ceremony with a priest who seemed to have moved in and out of trace without his own recognition of the event. It is in that moment where Selene was given only one subtle hinting towards what might yet become true for her – the presence of the Dark Lady would visit with her and thus, starts the Mark of the Raven.

Nothing short of oppressive expectation was placed on Selene’s shoulders – from what you gather of her mother’s reaction to her gifting. In this world, there is a break-down of gifts passed through different generations – each particular ‘house’ then is given a different talent of power. Selene was bourne into the Ravenwood lineage and their particular gift is that of ‘dreamers’. What was keenly interesting to me is in the front pages of the novel, we’re not just blessed with a map of the world but with a firm break-down of which house and family is given which gift! Further interesting is when it was revealled Selene has a tattooed birthmark of a raven on her back – a visual etching which did not appear to be the norm but rather the exception.

As Busse walked us through the procedure for achieving your gift in this world – your heart went out empathetically to Selene for it is not a passage of rightful inheritance without its merciless agony! Not only the fact it is a painful transformation for the person undergoing the alteration from an internal and external experience but it foretells a bit about how this world is only in balance when everything works towards rising through the ancestral lines of prophecy. You can readily see why Selene wants to push back against her rite of passage – the uncertainties of what is expected of her and the unknowns regarding her particular talent are what are bolting her to consider thoughts of exodus the women of her ancestral line may or may not have considered previously.

It is hard to decipher who was on pins more – Selene or myself as she was about to embark on her first dreamwalk! I sensed this is not a gift to take lightly nor was it one Lady Ravenwood had explained to the depth of what really occurs when a person enters another person’s dreamscape – in essence, I felt there was a flickering of distrust in what her mother would require her to do and thereby, it would become a marked moment in Selene’s life – to choose the destiny she was given or to walk a different path. At least this would be the soul searching choice I would undertake – as just as I suspected her dreamwalking destiny is not exactly what Selene might have forethought it would entail; if anything, it might be the opposite of what she intended it to encompass! And, therein of course lies the truer drama behind this story – how does a girl who newly inherits an ancestral gift sort out her own feelings about what that gift truly means to both her family and the people they oversee?

The historical aesthetic of this world reminded me of my readings of the Guinevere Tale trilogy – where ancient magic and conflict of war embattled Guinevere’s soul to the brink of where she nearly lost herself for the will of prophecy. Part of me saw a bit of Guinevere’s internal conflict arching into Selene’s own worried conscience – it is hard to embrace a gift you were given if after you’ve received it the war begins with yourself. However, back to the historical overlays – as this is set within a historic setting with the scope of detail I love from Historical Fiction, you immediately connect to Rook Castle. Even the name eludes to the Ravenwood women’s line of connection to the corvid they embody – it is quite the setting to explore – from the labyrinth corridors and the hidden passages which hold secrets of their own. Just to walk alongside Selene as she traverses her own home and the niches of solitude she attempts to seek out from it is a blessing.

It is quite chilling – this dreamwalking gift Selene has – as she’s forced to do her mother’s bidding – inflicting pain and terror into the people she felt they were meant to be protective of in their care (first the gardener, than a servant of her mother’s) she drew closer to understanding how twisted this gift could become if it continued to be used for nefarious purposes such as her mother was eluding her to believe. Yet, you rally behind Selene because she is of an independent mind – she is seeking the truth behind the legend of the gifting but also, the truer legacy of what being a dreamwalker was meant to entail all along. Sometimes it is best to walk backwards into the past – to see what came before you in order to better understand your purpose in the present; this is what I felt Selene was attempting to do. She didn’t have the knowledge of the past but she yearned to find it – to collect knowledge about the dreamwalkers but also the other Houses of this world where the darkness was strikingly real and where the evils of fate were clawing their way into her own spirit. She was a fighter but how long would the will to fight stay within her own soul?

Three sisters are entwined to this legacy of Ravenwood House – Selene, as a first bourne has the privilege or curse (if you will) of finding out the secrets their mother has kept from them first – however, her middle sister Amara is curiously adamant to follow in her footsteps as quickly as she can without the realisation of what that fever of intention would mean for her own conscience to either accept or reject. Their youngest sister Ophie is the more innocent of the three – perceived to be a mute, her innocence is full of the lightness the other two sisters do not own of themselves. They are too closely connected to their mother’s indoctrinated routines and thereby are walking closer to the shadows than their younger sister would feel comfortable within herself. It is a curious overlay to the story – how three sisters can grow in the same house and yet be remarkably different from one another from the inside out.

What is most gutting is the insurrection of Selene’s own soul – she is struggling to rectify the purpose of her family against her own will as a sentient being being crushed against a tidalwave of injustice stemming from her mother’s twisted sense of righteousness. There is a moment where you feel compelled to pause your readings of Mark of the Raven because of what is implied within one of the dreamscapes – it is the one affecting Renata, the maid Selene never wanted to interfere with through her dreams because of the closeness she feels towards her as a friend. If the two could be considered friends as there is a hierarchy in place within this world. Although the details of the girl’s attack is not graphically depicted it is hinted at in such a way as to give you the strong impression of what happened and why it happened when it did – thus, giving more gravity to the dreamwalking gift Selene is burdened with by her ancestral lineage. What is further wrecking is how Selene reacts to why her mother wanted her enter this girl’s dreamscape and what happens after she does – it is an awakening moment for Selene, one which re-shifts the power within her family but also draws a considerable line of absolutes for herself. You give her credit for finding courage out of chaos but the main concern I had reading this particular passage is the lack of control Selene experienced whilst attempting to right the wrongs of the past.

Grand Lord Damien has a conscience in-line with Selene – he is from the House of Maris (known as the Waters) wherein his gift is tied directly to the element of Water whilst his gift is as powerful as Selene he isn’t as accustomed to the strength it will wield if he chooses to use it. They share quite a heap in common on that front – each of them is burdened with a legacy not of their choosing and with a powerful evocation of that talent within them that they cannot always control. It speaks to the harder question about the world at large and how each of these Houses have their own issues with their own legacies. There is a hinting of war and a further disassociation with their lineage if they are to draw together rather than remain apart – as his entrance into the story reveals a few secreted truths thus left unknown.

What I enjoyed about this first installment is the foundation it set for the series – how we are gathering glimpses of the brewing war between the Houses and seeing the differences between what rules the Light and what rules through the Dark Lady. It is a series about the choices we make whilst we’re walking our path and the choices thrust upon us through unforeseen adversity. The path is always a clear one for each person to make – if you are honest with yourself, you can see the ways in which your path must align. That doesn’t mean to say there isn’t a darkness within this world (as there is) but it does mean the people in this world have a free will of their own to choose which path they desire to walk. In that, Busse has written a series which mirrors real life and the choices everyone must choose for themselves.

on the fantastical writing style of morgan l. busse:

When it comes to High Fantasy (ie. Epic Fantasy), Portal Fantasy and Quest Fantasy – I almost could presume to realise that Ms Busse was about to encompass everything I love from this triple threat of fantastical worlds due to how she places you inside her world. It isn’t just the fact this world feels older than the initial pages you’ve read, it is how she has chosen to let her characters peer at us from their regular habits – they are living their life and we’re observing their life from the outside. I love when writers have this authentic nature about their world-building to where you feel like you’ve slipped the veil and have re-emerged elsewhere; settling into a step with characters you dearly want to know more about and a world which although slightly curious round the edges has its own share of darkness.

Busse does a wonderful job of building the suspenseful arc surrounding the Ravenwood women’s predestined gifting – she has granted the reader an introspective viewing of what happens when you are not willing to blindly accept your fate but rather, with a thoughtful concern for what that fate might imply against your own better nature – to examine it and to sort out where your own allegiances lie within the sphere of the world you were bourne.

She makes you compelled to read the story if only to see where each of the characters are going to take their own stands because this isn’t a fate that you would wish upon yourself or anyone else. It is a question of morality and ethics, too – of what you might be willing to do for the sake of your family but if it goes against an inherent belief of yours? If it crosses that line in the sand where your conscience cannot justify the means of the gift – what do you do then? Its a good plotting to think over and to turn round on yourself whilst your examining the will of Busse’s characters to do the same even if they previously had just succumbed to what they were pushed to do.

Notations of being an #INSPYFantasy with realistic undertones:

This story deals with a lot of different themes and topics – from physical violence against women to the implications of manipulating people’s dreams whilst they are in REM sleep. The key elements of the story of course are threading through a lens of INSPY narrative – wherein you know the story is anchoured through a prism of light rather than the darkness afflicting its nature onto the characters as they each must choose which destiny they will either accept, refute or alter given the course of their own conscience choice in the matter affecting their lineage legacies.

You have to seek out the patterns of inspiration to see how this is an INSPY Fantasy novel as it has the markings of a traditional Quest and High Fantasy story arc – wherein the main question permeating through the novel is what choices will Selene make now that her destiny’s out in the open and the layers of its reach are known to her and her mother? It is not overtly INSPY in that there are distinct cross-overlays between Christianity and this fantastical world – there is a hint and a nod towards religion but it isn’t omnipresent in the narrative itself. Except for the concept of the soul and the journey of the soul – wherein is the most spirituality you’ll see as you walk through the story itself.

It is more of a thinking novel about the concepts of spirituality and the concepts of living against your moral fibre as a sentient being who has the conscience walk of the soul within you. The greatest battle of course is between the Dark Lady and the Light – of which you can draw your own conclusions about whom their representing and I loved Busse for giving readers that option of choice.

Having said that – there are realistic undertones of darkness and darker influences of behaviour running concurrent to the journey Selene and her sisters are being forced to walk. Their legacy of dreamwalking (and I would suspect others who are gifted in other ways, too) has become corroded against the good and embraced by the darker forces which seek to destroy the light – this is something that speaks volumes about how Busse has developed her world as it isn’t outwardly discussed per se but you can acknowledge the fight for these forces all the same.

Fantastical Elements:

→ Dreamwalking | Dreamwalkers (ie. Dreamers)

→ Shapeshifting

→ Inherited Gifts per each ancestral House (ie. Dreamers, Waters, Fire and Earth, Wisdom, Healing, Light and Courage)

→ Souls and their innate energies (loved the visual differences between good/evil)

As we are peering into this world through Selene’s journey as a dreamwalker – it is her gift we are first presented with understanding. The concept behind dreamwalking is a clever one but it has a hardened and twisted view of right and wrong; wherein the choice to sustain oneself in this world is brokered against the will of others who are not giving consent to what a dreamwalker can gain out of their dreams.

Part of the gift of dreamwalking is the controlling aspect of what that gift involves – where you can either influence a person to dream or to re-direct their focus towards the nightmares which live off their innermost fears – it is a crucial choice for dreamers to inflict emotion on those they entreat inside – it also a measure of ethics to will yourself to cause such influence and to become hardened against the choices therein.

One of the more beautiful visuals within the series is how the soul is represented. It was by far one of my favourite passages within Mark of the Raven and a critical glimpse I felt of where the writer’s impression on the story was centrally focused.

It is within the dreamscapes where the Ravenwood women can shapeshift – having read a lovely and beautiful collection of short stories featuring corvids – I can attest to how Busse has chosen to write about her chosen corvid the raven as being not only accurate towards their nature but it is the right choice of which bird the Ravenwood women should use as shifters.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!Flight of the Raven
Subtitle: The Ravenwood Saga
by Morgan L. Busse
Source: Publisher via Prism Book Tours

Selene Ravenwood, once the heir to House Ravenwood, is now an exile. On the run and free of her family's destiny, Selene hopes to find the real reason her family was given the gift of dreamwalking. But first she must adapt to her new life as wife to Lord Damien Maris, the man she was originally assigned to kill. 

While adjusting to her marriage and her home in the north, her power over dreams begins to grow. As the strongest dreamwalker to exist in ages, her expanding power attracts not only nightmares but the attention of the Dark Lady herself.

With a war looming on the horizon and a wicked being after her gift, Selene is faced with a choice: embrace the Dark Lady's offer, or search out the one who gave her the gift of dreamwalking. One path offers power, the other offers freedom. But time is running out, and soon her choice will be made for her.

Genres: Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, High Fantasy, Fantasy Fiction, Historical-Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780764234125

Also by this author: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven

Series: Ravenwood Saga

Also in this series: Book Spotlight: Ravenwood Saga, Book Spotlight: Flight of the Raven

Published by Bethany House Publishers

on 30th April, 2019

Pages: 352

Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

Formats Available: Hardback, Trade paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via

The Ravenwood Saga:

I am in LOVE with the cover art for this series!

Mark of the Raven by Morgan BusseFlight of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Mark of the Raven (book one)

Flight of the Raven (book two)

→ *forthcoming next* : Cry of the Raven (book three) → February, 2020!

Converse via: #RavenwoodSaga, #FantasyNerd or #EpicFantasy
as well as #INSPYFantasy + #WyrdAndWonder

About Morgan L. Busse

Morgan Busse

Morgan L. Busse is a writer by day and a mother by night. She is the author of the Follower of the Word series, the Carol Award-winning steampunk series, Soul Chronicles, and the Ravenwood Saga, a new fantasy series from Bethany House coming November 2018. During her spare time she enjoys playing games, taking long walks, and dreaming about her next novel.

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

my thoughts about this novel during #blogmas:

You can get a feel for Lady Selene in this character sketched conversation because what I suspected was the driving motivation behind the premise is actually shining through this conversation! Not to mention the fact, it sets the stage for how hard it is to overcome an ‘established rule’ and seek out your own path towards redemption. You can tell she’s not keen on the family legacy but she is also at a loss how to cause abrupt and distinct change – as it would mean going against not just what has been established as commonplace but it would affect how her sisters and their mother would interact with each other. The tricky bit there is doing what is right but realising by doing so you’ll be affecting those closest to you.

A very true statement – what is the purpose of a gift if it is to go against the ‘first do no harm’ rule of medicine? If a gift was honourable and the intentions of the bearers of the gift was to give rather than to take – how then, could this dreamwalking gift be put to better use? A curious dilemma to have and one I’d enjoy seeing answered myself!

my review of flight of the raven:

Stepping through the sequel of Mark of the Raven within seconds of the final paragraph being read felt as if Busse had planned how this series would evolve forward long before each installment was finalised. The exchange between the two novels is like the passing of a torch – where the light flickered low in one novel the strength of the second was re-igniting it to carry you forward towards where this new revelation was leading us to go next – Lady Selene and Lord Damien were now united together. Theirs was an alliance neither of them foresaw but it became a necessity once Selene recognised something within her own soul she knew she could not walk away from irregardless of her mother’s wrath once the truth would become known.

If I felt Lady Ravenwood was crafty and able to connive her way into a reality of her choosing, I daresay no one would discredit Amara! She felt like the sleeper in the story to me – the one character you would never quite understand until she was ready to step into the foreground of her own evolving story-line. As Flight of the Raven resumes their lives, it is Amara whose innate intuition is guiding her towards the hidden truths of her family’s lineage. It is a hope of my own that once she unravels what her sister Selene already knows – perhaps there is still hope for Ravenwood under her (future) guidance – unless of course, the darkness that runs through her family’s bloodline corrupts her chances to supersede her mother’s influence. Then, Busse will make a strong case for how sisters who have the same birthright must choose their own destiny outside of the will of their influencers; even if they take the road meant for them to embrace or if they turn away from it – at some point, Amara will have to choose for herself just as Selene had to do.

Damien surprised me – more than once between the first half of this story and now the second – his character isn’t easy to get a read on as he holds a lot of himself close to the barriers he puts against the world. Yet, whenever he does share a bit of himself, what you can see within him is a soulful whispering of earnest truthfulness. He adheres more to the ancient ways – where there was more of an empathsis on spirituality (though it remains unnamed) and less on the actions of man against a higher influence – thereby, Damien is held accountable differently than others in this world. His soul is purer than most – as evidenced through what Selene observed as a Dreamer but it is more than that – it is how he holds himself accountable vs how others take agency for their own lives. For Damien is a soulful thinker as much as he is a leader who chooses how best to lay his conscience against the rights of his people. He doesn’t want to lead out of fear and oppression (something from the playbook of Lady Ravenwood) but equally, he doesn’t want to overrule his lands in such a way as the truer freedom of individual free will is compromised. In essence, Damien is one of the more complex characters Busse has created and one of my favourites to find.

We finally get to observe what all her training was preparing her for in the hidden recesses of Rook Castle – Selene measures herself a warrior and rightly so, given her natural talent for combat – however, this was a side of herself Damien had not realised was such a strong gift – or as strong, as the one she inherited by birthright. It was lovely to see him and his companions find something out about Selene that they never would have felt were possible – as part of their key issues now lay with the distrust they had of her and how they were meant to reconcile that ill will before they reached the place Damien called ‘home’. For each of them were walking their own bout of stressful worriment over where their trust can lie and where their concerns were a valid forbearance over would was still yet to come.

In a world where dreams and nightmares rule the hearts of those who inhabit an upturnt balance between Houses, it is not a wonderment to me that Selene and Damien were equally having trouble finding their footing with each other. She afeared the reasons why he joined her in marriage and likewise he was afraid of the repercussions of the union not just in regards to how she would view him but how his kingdom would view them together. It was a tricky slope to slide as alliances and allegiances ruled the hour as did the conspiracies which were about to shake more than one tree!

Counter to their newfound experiences as husband and wife, it is Amara who is becoming clued into the ways of their mother – of the ruthlessness she possesses and the secret their sister Opheli has to share which could revert the whole imbalance another way entirely! Amara is surprising me by how she continues to table her own aversions against Selene with a counter-intuitive nature that gives her new measure of honesty about their legacy. She is seeing things differently now that she is in the hot seat with their mother Lady Ravenwood – she didn’t have that same opinion previously when it was Selene who was constantly at the mercy of their trainings but now that the tables are turnt, she sees more than she ever did. Towards that end, I was awaiting the moment where full recognition of their legacy would become illuminated in her mind – as that was the truer test – to foretell how she would choose the choice Selene had to make first.

The landscape of this series is breath-taking – it is a mountainous region – with freshwater and oceans – where the topography can change but the ominous feeling spreading throughout the lands cannot. It is a place with deeply seeded roots of evil and a flickering light of hope which is trying to succeed out of the darker shallows these people have allowed to take root in their souls. The most curious foreshadowing by half is how all of this is building into a climactic showdown – something I am most attached to seeing through to the bitter end.

And, yet as you tuck closer to Selene and Damien – as you listen to her father and as you peer into the awakening soul of Amara – there is more going on that you first perceive. This whole world is on the fringes of a new era where the people who once accepted their fates as readily as the next prophecy was shared by the Dark Lady are starting to take ownership of their destinies and realising that not everything can be foretold. Sometimes you have to create the destiny that you can live with pursuing rather than allowing yourself to become chained to a future which goes against your soul. For this is a world where whatever you choose to do it will have an echo effect on your internal life. Perhaps not as noticeable of a wound on the outside but it will cut just as deep.

Flight of the Raven continues to explore the differences between the belief in the Dark Lady and the Light – anchouring this story into a continuing dance between goodness and evil. As foresaid, I love the instincts Busse has for examining a story such as this one – allowing her readers to follow where she leads but pulls back just enough to where each reader might develop his or her own interpretations about where the root and heart of this series truly lies. It is also here where we see Light in an interpretation through Damien – a symphony of sorts where his innate gifted talent and his belief system co-merge together creating one of my favourite passages of insight! It is such an illuminating scene – where water and light and purpose co-mingle together to provide a harmonic experience to fulfill Damien and restore the fracturing bits of his soul.

It is such an evocative piece of Fantasy – the quest Selene has embarked on is not for the faint of heart nor is it for a woman who is unsure of herself, for Selene has a strength even she doesn’t realise she bears within her soul. It is the journey of her soul and the awakening the prophecy foretold which sets everything into motion but its the rippling effects of this moment in her life which she isn’t quite aware of which will alter her own family’s course in the future. I was hugged so closely into this story – from Mark of the Raven to Flight of the Raven I can almost suspect what Cry of the Raven will involve.

These stories are unputdownable due to the grace and mercy Busse has infused inside their core – it truly is a remarkable adventure towards self-identity with a renewal of faith and spirituality overtures of gracing your imagination with a world bent towards the darkness but with a fierceness of self-directed resilience to overcome what cannot be readily explained but simply must be believed. It is the kind of series you get happily lost inside – your emotions are boiling over and you fear that one of the characters you cherish most to see grow further in the series could be placed in harm’s way only to have your fears dashed by another circumstance which not only blindsides your heart but that of the characters you’ve come to rally alongside!

Busse has truly given me a reason to love this kind of Fantasy – of seeking out a multi-layered series wherein the quest to find oneself is anchoured against the quest to find the truth which can only be found within the Light. For it is the Light which is most important and it is only found within the strength of the soul who seeks it.

on the fantastical writing style of morgan l. busse:

I was truly swept up inside the vision Busse had for her world – this is a world built on honour and duty – where each of the family Houses are indebted to owning the legacies of their individual powers but also, in keeping in step with ancient wisdom. Of course, this many generations into the world those wise acknowledgements of the past are a bit more clouded over by personal aspirations, the tentacles of greed and the distrusting factors of subterfuge which seek to destroy a lot of the goodness inside this world.

Evenso, what Busse excells at creating is a world where you can feel comfortable visiting – there isn’t anything to shock you here – only things which seek to endeavour you to think, ponder and muse about the overlays of how this world and our world share quite a heap in common in regards to sociological observations and the patterns of society in general. There is a familiarity of this world even though nothing of it is immediately recognisable – Busse has created the world to embody a lot of what you want to seek out of a Fantasy novel of this scale. She has definitive heroes and heroines but also, lesser known reasons why some of the people in her world are choosing to act and behave opposite of their chosen legacies. She has given a strong will of freedom for her characters to remain resolute in their resolve to decide their own fates even if the influences against them are nearly to the oppressive stage wherein they might buckle from outside impressions thrust against them. It is a world of different factions and conspiracies but at the core is a world attempting to do right by its past as it remains on shakier ground in the present.

Notations of being an #INSPYFantasy with realistic undertones:

As the series continues to shift forward, the battle of wills and souls remains a fervent presence within the stories. I appreciate how Busse doesn’t conclude each of the battles her characters are facing internally nor does she wrap things together by the end of each installment. She has a carry-over effect of giving this world a way to em-better itself or rather endeavour to find a better path forward with each story within the Saga but what I applaud her for is not giving us either a cliffhanger nor a definitive ‘ending’ per each installment to where the larger story can become more encompassing of the larger whole of a series rather than individual stories within that serial arc (if that makes sense?).

In direct regard to the INSPY threads of spirituality and faith running in the background of the series – I believe this would appeal to those who have their own spirituality which can be defined or those who are still seeking a path towards knowing where their spirituality lies within their own belief systems. As a Protestant and spiritualist myself, I found it wicked fascinating how she pulled ancient truths together within the framework of this world (only wish I knew what to ‘call this world!’) whilst she layered it within the individual walk her characters must take to not just root out their own legacies within their ancestral lines but to seek out where they each draw their own allegiances between the Light and the Dark Lady. For that is most important of all – here and in our own realities.

Except to say she broke the 4th wall for me – something I realised as I started to visit fellow book bloggers after I posted my review – meaning, in FLIGHT she switches from referring to the Light and directly starts referring to him as God – however, in this particular word that is not a name and reference point these people are using. They call them the ancients or the ancient beliefs – they reference the Light in all aspects of their spirituality but in regards to breaking the 4th wall directly in the series itself and re-layering the spirituality of this world into our own reality’s concepts of religion and spiritual backgrounds – that was a move which surprised me because MARK held such as strong foundation of where this world was tracking us to follow wherein it didn’t need to become more defined in the ways it was moving in FLIGHT. I think I might have respected this layer of the story more if it had continued to build on MARK and left the continuity of their spirituality alone to be what it truly was for the sake of agrument.

Having said that – this isn’t something that wrecks the joy of reading this series for me but it was a sombering reminder that sometimes authors can either change their minds about the concepts they are building in their Fantasy worlds and/or perhaps it was the influence of the publisher – as originally when I was reading MARK I was surprised how the series was breaking traditional concepts for being a traditional publisher of INSPY Fiction. Sometimes I think they don’t realise the beauty of what they have in a series of this nature.

Fantastical Elements:

→ Dreamwalking | Dreamwalkers

→ Shapeshifting

→ Inherited Gifts per each ancestral House (ie. Dreamers, Waters, Fire and Earth, Wisdom, Healing, Light and Courage)

→ Souls and their innate energies (loved the visual differences between good/evil)

There is also a danger in using the gifts themselves – if you think about the ‘mind meld’ which can go wrong in Star Trek then you will have a bit of an idea of what can go wrong for the Dreamers. Likewise, as we have explored the Waters powers as well – just think about what ‘water’ can effectively do destructively if you put enough strength behind the molecules which can seem small and insignificant until you see them pulled together and forcefully used as a gathered unit.

I am hoping the other powerful Houses will become explored as we move through the saga – showcasing how each of these elements and gifts was meant to be used for a purpose which has no selfish means attached to them and how for the order of the world itself each of these Houses plays a stronger role in the harmony and balance which has been stripped away by previous generations. It is almost as if this world has lost its guidance and the purpose behind what is being inherited for reasons no one seems to remember – which in effect, leads you to question, how could something so pivotal and important become forgotten?

Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission.

This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

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Flight of the Raven blog tour via Prism Book Tours

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By clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
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My review of “Mark of the Raven” is cross-posted to LibraryThing.
My review of “Flight of the Raven” is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

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Previously I hosted Morgan L. Busse whilst participating on a select series of #blogmas featured posts in conjunction with the Fantasy blog tour PRISM hosted. click the banner to re-visit my selections & see if we share an author in common – of those listed, I’ve kindly had the pleasure of also reading Jennifer Silverwood this year!

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reading this novel counted towards

my 2019 reading challenges:

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whilst being read during my participation of:

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To continue reading my #wyrdandwonder posts:

Be sure to visit my TBR for Wyrd & Wonder as I’m updating the post frequently throughout the last week & a half of the event with new links to the posts & reviews I am sharing with everyone following my showcases!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Mark of the Raven” and “Flight of the Raven”, the author’s photo and biography, blog tour banner and The Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. 2019 New Release Challenge created by for and is used with permission. Wyrd And Wonder banner created by @Imyril. Image Credit: Magical book by Jakub Gojda from Beat the Backlist banner provided by Novel Knight. Rainbow Digital Clip Art Washi Tape made by The Paper Pegasus. Purchased on Etsy by Jorie and used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Wyrd And Wonder Book Review badge and the comment box banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 31 May, 2019 by jorielov in #WyrdAndWonder, Blog Tour Host, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Light vs Dark, Prism Book Tours, Siblings, Sisters & the Bond Between Them, Supernatural Fiction, Sword & Scorcery

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5 responses to “From #blogmas to #WyrdAndWonder | #JorieReads the Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse – “Mark of the Raven” (book one) & “Flight of the Raven (book two) whilst delving into #INSPYFantasy for the first time!

  1. I, too, am in love with the cover art! Kirk DuPonce at Dog Eared Design created both covers (and, I assume, is working on the cover for Cry). He is one of my favorite cover designers and always does an amazing job. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

  2. Jorie,

    Ms. Busse does a fantastic job with world building, with the complexities and tensions within each of the individual houses though many are merely hinted at. It would be interesting to see a prequel perhaps, exploring some of the other houses and their histories like Luceras, Vivek, Merek and Rafel. I feel there is a depth and richness there that could lend itself to many more stories.

    I also would have liked to have seen Caiaphas in the second book, I missed his presence and am with you on hoping he is a big part of Cry of the Raven. Even though he didn’t get much page space in Mark of the Raven, he really packs a punch.

    Don’t know how I’ll survive till the next book comes out!

    • Hallo, Hallo Faith,

      Ooh, a prequel! Now there is something I hadn’t quite considered – you’re right though – there is so much missing history about the other houses in this world – we could definitely have a prequel knit out the details we’ve only dreamt about previously! She has such a keen eye for how to envelope us into this world – the breadth of it alone is incredible and like you said – she has a way of bridging those complexities through the houses and then, re-pulling us through the central climaxal conclusions of where this series wants to take us all.

      What a wicked wonderful comment to receive tonight and how lovely our paths crossed through a book we equally admire and cannot stop musing about!! You and are are going to be on absolute pins awaiting CRY and how we’ll brace ourselves for what that story involves is a curious mystery to me right now!! Very thankful for our discussion and I look forward to reading more of your blog. Stay bookish this weekend,…

    • Good evening, Beth Erin,

      I am thankful you’ve swung by my blog to see my reflections on a saga I am still ruminating over — I’ve been visiting a lot of bloggers these past two days and the joy for me is seeing everyone’s opinions. Some differ from my own, which is wonderful in of itself as we all see and experience stories differently from one another. I just like discussing the series and having you visit me after I visited with you was a nice surprise. Thank you for your beautiful compliments and if your daughter comes to visit, I look forward to her notes as well. At least we all enjoyed reading the same saga together!

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