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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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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