Thank you so much Hodderscape for sending me a press release of In the Ravenous Dark. This book is out on May 18th and you don’t want to miss it!
In the Ravenous Dark: ★★★★☆
Out May 18th 2021
YA Fantasy Standalone
In The Ravenous Dark Synopsis:
“In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception.
Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul. Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.” [Goodreads synopsis]
In The Ravenous Dark Non-Spoiler Review
Trigger Warning: this book contains scenes of death, murder, violent gore and discussions of sexual violence.
A.M. Strickland does a fantastic job and writing an entertaining and dark YA book, I didn’t want this to end!
In The Ravenous Dark follows Rovan, a blood mage who is forced to live in the palace after her abilities are discovered. Rovan is rash, she acts first and thinks later. She doesn’t always make the right choices, but you understand why she’s fighting so hard. She’s determined and unapologetic, and I really liked that.
Rovan is pansexual, and we also follow Lydea, a lesbian, and Japha, a non-binary, asexual character. They discuss love and attraction and gender, and it was so lovely to see these conversations happening in YA literature, especially fantasy.
While this book is set in a palace, we don’t have the expected amount court intrigue. It’s present through political alliances, arranged marriages and gender oppression, but because we’re following Rovan and her perspective, we instead see the hostility and the hidden areas she explored. We also learn about the underworld, how that realm operates and the link between life and death. A lot of this is connected to Ivrilos, a dead spirit with an agenda of his own.
This book could have been easily expanded and split into a duology, so much happened in such a short space of time that I was constantly engaged and ready to read more. This is a solid, standalone fantasy and one that I will be recommending to those looking to read more. Despite so much happening, this book remained fun and easy to follow.
One thing I didn’t love was the instant-romance. Within a standalone, there’s only so much room to fit everything in – plot, characters, world building – but I found it hard to believe how quickly everyone professed their undying love for one another.
Overall, I thought this was a solid, fantasy standalone, with a rather intriguing plot and characters. It was a little predictable in places, but it also had twists I didn’t see coming. The best way to get the most out of this book is to go in blind, without knowing too much. With blood mages, magic, and stubborn characters, I can see myself recommending this one as a spooky season read. I really enjoyed this book!
Are you planning on reading In the Ravenous Dark? Let me know!
Thank you for reading,
Nicole / HalfWildBooks