I’ve seen this book talked about and it almost made it to my most anticipated reads list for 2021 but didn’t. It made it to the runner-ups instead but it was a close call 🙂 Luckily I got hold of an e-ARC.
This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review. Thank you.
In The Ravenous Dark
by A M Strickland
A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead, in this dark fantasy by A.M. Strickland, author of Beyond the Black Door.
In Thanopolis, magic is rare – and closely controlled. Those blessed – or cursed – with power are kept under constant guard, assigned to undead spirits who watch their every move.
Ever since her father died to save her from this fate, Rovan has kept her magic a closely guarded secret – until an accident exposes her powers for the world to see, and her tenuous freedom comes crashing to an end.
Brought to the royal palace against her will, and thrust into a maelstrom of intrigue and deception, Rovan is drawn to two people she cannot fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling and rebellious princess struggling against her own destiny, and Ivrilos, the handsome, powerful spirit she has been bound to, who can control Rovan, body and soul.
Together, they uncover a terrible secret that could destroy everyone in Thanopolis – the living and the dead. To save them, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and the undead spirit vying for her heart – if she doesn’t betray them first . . .
A.M. Strickland’s richly imagined dark fantasy features court intrigue, a revolution that stretches across life and death, and a pansexual love triangle that will leave readers desperate to find out what happens next.
- blood magic
- death magic
- revenge plot
- great friendships
- self-destructive MC but then decides to trust friends
so many highlights…!
I didn’t know what I got myself into starting this book. I thought something about blood magic and death and maybe some gothic vibes. I got so much more than I bargained for!
The story follows Rovan as she tries to hide who she is but ultimately fails and gets taken to the palace. There she tries to prevent getting friendly and more with some royals, and fails! And she tried to find a way out.
I love the story with its twists and turns. I loved where it went and how it got there. There were several twists I didn’t see coming in a good way.
I also loved the number of friendships in here. There are some solid ones that last through thick and thin. I ship several of these friendships!
As this is a standalone I expected something heavy and a lot just to set the scene, but there wasn’t. It was a pleasant level of world-building. It felt like a vivid place and a rather large place even though only a few other places are mentioned. There was just something about it that made me think it was a big area.
There were several things about this world/magic I didn’t see coming but explains why the character on the cover cries red. I didn’t see that feature coming at all and almost laughed out loud. And it fitted nicely into the story and the magic. It was very well done.
The magic feels complex with a specially written language you use to cast spells and stuff. However, there isn’t the need for a lot of explanations and building it up. As a standalone book, it was efficiently told and held the magic of the magic if that even makes sense.
There are two different types of magic here; Blood and death magic. Which in this world is not compatible and you can only work with one type. You also need the ability to wield magic before doing anything. Just because your parents had magical abilities doesn’t guarantee you will have them.
Rovan is the main character and we get introduces to her as she wakes up with a hangover on top of a gazebo with a lady friend wink wink. Immediately I like her… I mean why wouldn’t I? She also becomes determined to achieve her goal even if it becomes self-destructive. And she doesn’t trust easily. All my favourite traits in a character.
Of the side characters, I think I prefeed Japha. They were just amazing and ace and so cool! Loved them.
YES! Several characters are queer both in sexual orientation and gender. and they have a discussion about it in here too which I really enjoyed.
The main character is supposed to be pansexual.
The writing was smooth. considering this is a new author to me, I didn’t know what to expect. But I enjoyed it. It drew me in and prevented me from putting the book down. It was uncomplicated and flowed easily from page to page.
I had zero issues. I can’t wait to pick something else up by this author.
I loved it! It blew me away. It was so much better than expected and had so many interesting features that I didn’t see coming.
Yes, it wasn’t perfect but I still loved it with some much of me that I think this author might become an auto-buy/request in the future. I’m excited to see what they do next.
Have you read this? What did you think?