#Blogmas | feat. #FantasyForChristmas19 showcases | The Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse

Posted Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 by jorielov , , , , , , 1 Comment

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

Last year was my first #blogmas where I could focus on hosting the #FantasyForChristmas authors who were writing Fantasy narratives which keenly drew my interest into their series, stories and characters – some were INSPY Fantasy storycrafters, such as today’s featured author Morgan L. Busse.

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Let me share my thoughts about her writing style:

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.

I never would have realised her series would be offered on a blog tour during the coming New Year 2019 nor that I would have been selected to host her tour giving me the chance to read the first two novels in the series Mark of the Raven and Flight of the Raven – which I celebrated during our 2nd Year of Wyrd And Wonder.

It is a true honour and joy to re-visit this series for my readers whilst highlighting a few of the reasons why I enjoyed reading the series thus far along and why I have expectations about where the series will be heading from here.

Especially considering being a selection of INSPY Fantasy, I was most interested in seeing how Busse would handle the overtures of a faith-based Fantasy world and how those would interconnect to traditional INSPY narratives which either are Historical or Contemporary in scope.

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.

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.

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What I found was a very broad overview within the world with a few specific nudges of insight towards how this world has a firm foundation of faith running in the background of how the characters live their lives. In some places, I had hoped they might be a bit more empathise on this side of the story but it is how lush Busse describes this world, the sequencing on focusing on her character’s central arc of growth and the angst that goes with being a warrior – all of that was the beautiful boiling pot towards developing a dramatic thread of a story you simply want more to read as each installment only pulls you so far forward inside their lives. I do go into more details about my takeaways and conclusions on how faith is infused into the series on my reviews for Mark of the Raven & Flight of the Raven as this was just an excerpt from what I previously shared.

This was a series of Fantasy which took me by surprise and hugged me close into its world – I am most eager to see where we transition from here within the pages of Cry of the Raven – which is why today I am thankful to feature an extract from Flight of the Raven to continue to introduce my readers to what I found wicked fascinating about the Ravenwood Saga!

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

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Published by: Bethany House Publishers (@bethany_house)

an imprint of Baker Publishing Group

The Ravenwood Saga:

Mark of the Raven (book one) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 6th November, 2018 | ISBN: 978-0764232220

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?

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Flight of the Raven (book two) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 30th April, 2019 | ISBN: 978-0764232237

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.

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Cry of the Raven (book three) | add to LibraryThing

Published: 4th February, 2020 | ISBN: 978-0764232244

Lady Selene Ravenwood has come into her full power as a dreamwalker just as the war with the Dominia Empire begins.

Working with the other Great Houses, Selene and Damien use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by the war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses, destroying their unity as the empire burns a path across their lands.

At the same time, Damien Maris starts to lose his ability to raise the waters, leaving the lands vulnerable to the empire’s attacks.The only one who can unite the houses and restore her husband’s power is Selene Ravenwood. But it will require that she open her heart to those who have hurt her and let go of her past, despite the one who hunts her and will do anything to stop her power.

Will Selene survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

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Converse via: #FantasyForChristmas, #FantasyNerd and #EpicFantasy

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.

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Read an extract from “Flight of the Raven”:


So dark.

Selene shivered and pulled her cloak and hood closer around her shoulders. Her clothes were still damp from crossing the Hyr River and the cold wind did not help. The trees that lined Trader’s Road appeared like bony fingers reaching up toward the darkening sky. Twilight slipped across the road, blending the forest edge with the dirt path. Above, streaks of red split the sky as if some large animal had torn open the heavens.

Brittle leaves crunched beneath her boots as she followed the guards Sten and Karl. Karl was a couple inches taller than Sten, and younger by at least ten years. His dark hair curled along the edge of his cloak and his hand hovered near the hilt of his sword. Sten was round and muscular, with greying hair and a neck as thick at a man’s hand. He pointed at something and Karl answered in a low, gruff voice.

Cohen the monk quietly walked beside her, his presence warm and friendly. He was as tall as he was skinny, with straw-colored hair that stuck up around his face. And behind her…

Her stomach lurched and her fingers curled around the edge of her cloak. Lord Damien followed a couple feet behind, his steps firm. No, not lord, not to her anymore.

Damien. Her husband.

Selene kept her eyes ahead, but every part of her could sense him behind her. The moment the monk had finished the rites, and warmth had spread between their hands, she knew him. Most of it she had already discovered during her dreamwalks, but seeing his memories and having that knowledge imparted into her innermost mind and soul were two completely things. And just as much as she now knew him, he knew her as well. He knew who she really was. He knew what she could do.

He knew her gift.

She could still see the shock in his face the moment her dreamwalking gift was revealed to him. Yet he was still able to turn away and maintain enough mental capacity to raise the river barrier in time to save them.

Selene lifted her right hand and brushed her cheek. That power. To raise water and crush men. It was amazing. And terrifying. And if he hadn’t chosen to bond with her minutes before—

Her hand slid down and gripped her throat. She would have been drowned alongside those men.

Instead, Damien had chosen to save her. In a permanent way.

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There is that moment in the series where you are questioning which way it will go for Selene and Damien as it isn’t a given how he will react to her authentic nature and how she in turn would accept his response. This extract shows you part of the drama between them but also part of the anguish as well – of trying to live authentically and own your own nature but at the same time questioning the impact this will have on those around you.

It is a very dramatic series to read because of the layers and the ways in which Busse wrote the novel to feel alive from the moment you first enter into its world to the moment you put the book down awaiting the next installment in sequence. The hardest part about awaiting Cry of the Raven are the ‘unknowns’… I felt so dearly attached into this saga, it was hard putting down the thoughts I had about it and to table those thoughts until the third novel could be published.

This is every readers struggle when reading a series still in the throes of publication because you ache to simply return & learn more – to continue to take that journey with characters you feel have become entwined into your own timeline and of whom have grown a fond attachment towards understanding further. This is what it feels like to be inside the Ravenwood Saga and it is a world you don’t wish to exit quickly – especially if like this series it continues to evoke thoughtful musings & a curious tucking of inspired imagination!

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IF you’re a reader of the saga and/or if you have read another selection of INSPY Fantasy you think I’d love reading in the New Year 2020 – kindly leave your suggestions and comments for me as I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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My parting ruminative thoughts awaiting Cry of the Raven were these:

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.

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?

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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#FantasyForChristmas banner provided by Prism Book Tours.Click through via the badge to find out what else awaits you!

Each day, a new author is showcased – I selected the authors I wanted to feature ahead of time – therefore, return to see which of the authors I am focusing on throughout the 12 days!

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Similar to blog tours where I feature book reviews, as I choose to highlight an author via a Guest Post, Q&A, Interview, etc., I do not receive compensation for featuring supplemental content on my blog. I provide the questions for interviews and topics for the guest posts; wherein I receive the responses back from publicists and authors directly. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them; I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers.

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “Mark of the Raven” & “Flight of the Raven”, the author’s photo and biography, the extract from “Flight of the Raven” as well as the blog tour banner and The Prism Book Tours badge were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #blogmas 2019 badge and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

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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 Tuesday, 3 December, 2019 by jorielov in #blogmas, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Fantasy Fiction, High Fantasy, Indie Author, Prism Book Tours

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One response to “#Blogmas | feat. #FantasyForChristmas19 showcases | The Ravenwood Saga by Morgan L. Busse

  1. Jennifer Silverwood

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this series, Jorie! This is one I’ve been wanting to read for a while and I’m more convinced than ever now :)

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