Title: The Raven’s Tale
Author: Cat Winters
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
A note for the sake of full disclosure before I start this review: I didn’t finish Kingdom of Souls. It felt like it was dragging on the whole time, so I reshelved it. Maybe I’ll go back to it later! Cat Winters is one of my favorite authors, so her latest book has been on my list since before it came out. The first time, I couldn’t read it before it went back to the library. But it’s been sitting at the top of my library stack, and as soon as I was finished with Kingdom of Souls, I dove in. The Raven’s Tale reimagines Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood and young adulthood, stifled under his cruel stepfather’s iron fist. Despite his dreams of being a writer, his stepfather demands that Edgar work toward more lucrative pursuits. But on the evening Edgar is set to go to university, a Muse named Lenore appears, promising him wealth, greatness, fame: everything he’s ever wanted. In exchange, she demands to be shone to the world. But will Edgar give in to his tyrant of a foster father, or make his dark, macabre dreams a reality?
This book might be my favorite in Winters’s entire body of work; I remember being totally spellbound by EAP when I was younger, so this opportunity to have a fictional spotlight on him as a young man was awesome! The prose was gorgeous, and I loved the way that Winters actually incorporated Poe’s writing throughout. The pacing was breakneck, and I was totally riveted; I loved the way Winters talked about the arts, but especially writers. I also adored the way that she explained the complicated and dark relationship between Edgar and his dark muse, Lenore. Edgar’s voice was wry, humorous and melancholy, and I loved it. I also adored the other characters: Edgar’s lady love, Lenore, his parents. They provide a great foil for Edgar, brooding and at times even vicious. The tension was also crazy; there were several times that I had to walk away to take a few deep breaths. But Winter’s reimagining of one of the most prominent writers in the English canon was nothing less than fantastic, and I loved the way it paid tribute to him and the muse who inspired his work. The bottom line: Creepy, richly detailed, gorgeous and surprising, I loved The Raven’s Tale! Next on deck: The Fragile Ordinary by Samantha Young!