Happy book birthday to Dana Fraedrich and Raven’s Cry! A standalone set in the Broken Gears universe, this reimagining of Swan Lake is fab! Some of you may remember that I read the first book in Fraedrich’s series at the end of last year and then had the pleasure of interviewing her, so I was thrilled when she approached me again to ask if I would like to read an ARC of her latest book!
What the book is about…
A dark retelling of Swan Lake ~ Calandra is happiest when she’s surrounded by quiet, joined only by a book and a cup of tea, never around people and their insufferable need to make small talk. When Nicodemus, a magus with immense power, joins the royal court of Invarnis, Calandra’s life will change forever. As a terrible curse pursues her through the centuries, Calandra will have to overcome captivity, war, and loss.
In this standalone installment, set in Dana Fraedrich’s Broken Gears universe, readers will join Calandra in her battle for freedom, hope, and healing.
What I thought of it…
Having read Out of the Shadows at the end of last year, I was already familiar with the wonderful world Fraedrich has created. If possible, I loved it even more in this new standalone than in the first instalment. If you like fantasy creatures, then this is definitely a series to check out – filled to the brim with magi, dragons, vampyres and other magical beings, there is something for everyone here!
I’m delighted to say that the writing in this book is even BETTER than in Out of the Shadows (not that that was by any means bad!) I could really see an improvement! Fraedrich’s writing has become even more refined and it was an absolute pleasure to read. As I already mentioned, I loved the world-building in this book even more than the one I previously read and the descriptions were so cinematic!
I loved the protagonist Callandra’s character development; she starts out as a shy introvert but gradually gets a little bit more spice about her and ends up being a total badass. Her story is quite tragic but her handling of it felt realistic, and I really sympathised with her. I also really liked the supporting characters, though they didn’t always feel as fleshed-out as the MC.
It is important to emphasise that readers do not need to have tried the other books in the Broken Gears series; Raven’s Cry can be read as a standalone. However, I do think there is an extra level of depth that will be apparent to readers who have read Out of the Shadows. I had such an OMG moment when I worked out how the books were connected! It was very, very cool and really showed Fraedrich’s talent and the amount of work she has put into creating her fictional world.
My final word is a little bit of a fangirl moment… I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements!! I always make a point of reading the acknowledgements because it’s lovely to gain an insight into the author’s life – imagine my delight when Dana personally thanked me! Literally the coolest thing ever. It made my heart do a happy dance and reiterated what I already knew – which is that the author is not only a talented writer but a lovely human being.
Overall, I definitely recommend this one, even if you have never read Out of the Shadows. And you don’t need to know much about the plot of the original Swan Lake; while this is a retelling, the story stands up strongly in its own right.
(All book covers taken from Goodreads)
Huge thanks to Dana Fraedrich for sending me an e-ARC of this one – happy book birthday Dana!