Ravenmarked – Amy Rose Davis

Reading this novel was like coming home. It sent me back in time to my teens when I devoured the books of Raymond E. Feist, David Eddings, and other weavers of fantasy. It reminded me why I love pure fantasy – not urban, not paranormal, not contemporary, or any other of those new fandangled concoctions. Sure, they are great if thats what you like, and I do like them when the stories are well told and not more of the same old. There just seems to be an overwhelming number of those books, and far less good, old school fantasy these days.

For one with the ravenmark, there is no balance. 
Connor Mac Niall has everything he wants. As the best freelance man-at-arms in the known world, his reputation brings him jobs that provide adventure, women, and money in abundance.
But Connor has a secret: He’s ravenmarked. The avenging spirit of the earth, known as the Morrag, has chosen him to be her angel of death–to kill those she wants killed. Connor has run from her call half his life, and working as a freelance helps him keep the need to kill quelled.
When Connor reluctantly agrees to escort a fleeing royal heir to safety, he has no idea that the journey will bring him face to face with the Morrag–and require that he choose between destiny and freedom. He finds himself confronted with old regrets and new choices. On one side pursued by a sorcerer who wants him dead and on the other side tempted by the Morrag to submit his will to hers, Connor unwittingly escorts his charge right into the path of greatest danger for them both. He faces a choice: Submit his will to the Morrag’s control, or let the royal heir die.
Set against a backdrop of romance, political instability, and magic, Ravenmarked is the first in a five-book epic fantasy series titled The Taurin Chronicles.

This novel is well written, with many threads beautifully intertwined. There are so many different story lines, all of which converge masterfully, leaving the reader set up for the next book in the series. The various characters are so real, and present, that I found myself believing what they believed – some of it which was at odds with the other characters, to the point that I wasn’t sure who I could trust to be on the right side of the battle. Sounds a little odd, doesn’t it? But it’s fantastic! It isn’t until close to the end of book one that more snippets of truth come to light and we begin to see the full spectrum of the world that Davis has created.

I can’t say enough good things about the world building. There are many elements at play and they are familiar enough to make the story accessible, but also unique enough to set it apart from other fantasy novels of this type.

This is not Amy’s first release, but it is the first novel she has published. She’s in the middle of writing the sequel, and I for one cannot wait for it to come out. Actually, I can, because I know it’s going to be well worth it. This is one self published author who knows how important it is to get the novel right before releasing it, and I have every faith that the second installment will be just as good as the first, if not better.

I think this one would have to be a 4.5 stars from me. If you haven’t braved the sometimes murky waters of self published novels yet, this would be a great place to start. She takes her craft seriously, and it shows.

You can check out her blog here if you’d like to learn more about her.

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