Author: Lotus Oakes
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Four Petals
On the Publisher's Website:
In a world covered by a deadly miasma, humans survive by way of the protection of powerful mages known as Keepers. In the town of Ravenhearth, the Keeper requests a companion from the village every ten years. What happens to them after those ten years, no one knows, for none has ever returned.
Ash is a young orphan who dreams of learning magic. When the newest request for a companion arrives, he volunteers. But when he arrives, he finds a place nothing like the fearful whispers shared around the village. Instead, he slowly grows to be a part of the close-knit family of the Keeper's castle—and falling for Giles, the butler of Ravenhearth, instead of the Keeper he's been sent there to attend.
I received this book as an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ravenhearth is a story about a young man trying to find himself in a crazy world. As the only orphan of the town, Ash lives a difficult life. He jumps on a chance to go to the castle and learn magic. However, the Keeper that rules the castle and the town is a mysterious cloaked man that Ash rarely sees. He instead learns magic from Giles and slowly begins to fall in love with him.
I really enjoyed seeing Ash's growth through the story from a young man desperate to find a place for himself in the world to a much stronger man trying to keep those he loves close. I really enjoyed seeing the world through Ash's eyes and learning as he learned about the Keeper and the dangerous miasma that covers the whole world. The other characters in the castle were just as interesting, if a bit strange, and watching Ash interact with them was definitely one of my favorite parts of the book.
My only disappointment was that I kept waiting for any plot to happen. There is so much potential in this book. I thought Ash would learn magic and then go on a journey to help fight the miasma, or to defeat an evil wizard using the miasma for terrible spells, or that his mother's ring that he wears around his neck would prove to be significant in some way that would send him on an epic quest. I kept waiting for something to happen, but more plot never came, and I was honestly starting to get bored with the story halfway through. I couldn't figure out why Oakes needed to write yet another scene where Ash is learning magic with Giles or sitting with Giles drinking tea. It almost felt monotonous in comparison to the epic journey that I was certain had to be coming soon. I was about two thirds of the way through the story before I realized that I was missing the plot entirely. This story isn't a build-up to a magical adventure, it's exclusively a love story. Every scene Oakes put in served an important purpose to further that plot until I was rooting for Ash to win the battle for the heart of the man he loves. Yes, I would have preferred the epic magical journey to save the world, but I really, really liked the love story that emerged instead.
Although I haven't seen any evidence to suggest Oakes might write one, this book needs a sequel. I want to read the epic journey that I missed out on as well as learn whether Ash reaches the future he was hoping for at the end of the story.
If you're looking for a wonderful love story, I highly recommend this book. The plot was engaging and the characters were very interesting. I did miss there not being an epic magical journey to save the world, as the book implies, but the story's focus on the romantic relationship was very well done.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.