Religion, the dominion of the human mind;
Property, the dominion of human needs; and
Government, the dominion of human conduct,
represent the stronghold of man’s enslavement
and all the horrors it entails.”– Emma Goldman

What my research told me is that a psychopath cannot change. You’re born like that. – Jeff Lindsay

It was just supposed to kill the poor. Isn’t it ironic that the leeches of society turned into leeches in reality? – Charles Graham IV, Psychopath

raven
A beautiful cover for an incredible book!

Many of the books I have read lately have the same underlying message – the depredation of the poor by the rich – the rich, with a total lack of anything even approaching morality or ethics, a disintegration of the soul. Xenophobia, greed, and a total lack of conscience. As Albert Einstein once said, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Raven’s Blood takes this ideation and stretches and molds it, utilizing the beauty and creativity of the Fantasy genre to build a world both unusual and horrifying.

It is always hard for me when I find a book that totally enthralls me to draw a line between raving about the story, the characters, and the world building, and just flat giving away the story. So, here I go, and hopefully I will totally intrigue you without blowing the story!

In a world with a striking resemblance to today, a madman – a madman with wealth, connections, and power – has a plan. A plan that, if successful, will result in the death of millions. Millions of “normal” people, the working class, the poor, all who are not of the privileged rich. Of course, they will keep a “few” of the unwanted poor. Someone does have to take out the trash, right?

Only things don’t work out as Charles Graham IV, his father and small circle of friends expect. For the poor may die by the hundreds of thousands. But they don’t stay dead for long . . .

One hundred years later, America is no longer what it once was. Instead, it is a land of compounds and fenced communities, fear and danger and death. For the ones who came back are undying – and they want blood. And my favorite part is, this is not just another of the ubiquitous zombie novels so prevalent in fantasy today. No, these are vampires, vampires created by the injection of what comes to be called the “Moon Virus,” a virus developed by the Graham Pharmaceutical Corporation specifically to kill the poor.

This is one of the better depictions of vampires I have read. Cassandra Lawson has put much more thought and attention into her vampires, and her efforts are not wasted. Instead, in a world of UF vampires that verges on the boring, (come on, sparkles?) Lawson has developed a well-thought-out story of not only mindless killing machines, the “Turned,” but also the “Born Vampires.” While the Turned are mindless killers, Born are much as they were – only now with fangs, and a requirement for blood.

Raven is a half-wood nymph, half human who has known much pain and tremendous loss in her life. She witnessed the death of her mother at the hands of the Turned when she was still a child. Taken in my her human father, Raven comes to care for the humans who surround her, taking on the responsibility for a divergent group of human children, raising them as her own family.

Captured by a group of Borns during a raid for medical supplies, Raven throws herself on the mercy their leader in order to save her children. What happens next is an impressively well written story of personal growth and change and a dystopian novel which even a non-dystopian-lover like myself dove into with both feet and didn’t come up for air until the book was, much to my disappointment, complete.

There is a strong paranormal romance aspect to the book, which turned out to be a lot of fun, though the sociological and adventure aspects of the book were what truly inspired my love of the book. I am hoping for a second book featuring this interesting world.

While rationalism at the individual level is a plea for more personal autonomy from cultural norms, at the social level it is often a claim- or arrogation- of power to stifle the autonomy of others. – Thomas Sowell

This book was provided to me in return for an honest review by the good people at storycartel.com. All comments are my own!

Advertisements