This is a special advance group review of Ravensong by TJ Klune featuring Kristie, Gillian and Rafa. Thank you to the author and the publisher for allowing us this opportunity!
Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.
It should have been enough.
And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.
Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.
But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.
Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.
Enemies to Lovers
Content Warning for: Some violence, gore and death.
THE RELATIONSHIPS. Kelly and Carter and their bond as brothers, not just pack. Seriously, I have so much anticipation for the next books because I need more Kelly and Carter. I love those guys so much. Elizabeth and her unfailing devotion to her sons and her pack. I wish she was my mom. Jo and Ox and the way they support each other without even speaking. They’re the best damn couple ever. The humans of the pack and the lovingly way they joke together. Packpackpack It’s the pack. The whole pack. The way they not only support each other and work together as a pack, but how much they truly love one another. How sure they are of their pack and of their Alphas. Gordo and Mark… Gordo with his argument that he was not part of the pack, when we all know he totally is. Mark with his patience. Gordo with his complaining. If I’m being totally honest, I did tire of Gordo’s complaining, but only a bit. I think that I really understood his complaints, his reasons behind them, the hurt he felt and why. I just wanted him to move past that a bit faster. But who am I to tell him how to feel?
THE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE. I love the different look we get in this book. Seeing events from the past, things that happened in Wolfsong and prior, made a huge difference in how I’ll see things in the series going forward. I like that I no longer see Thomas as perfect. I used to think that he was the most amazing and perfect Alpha. I don’t anymore because of a lot of reasons. I needed him to be flawed in some way and now I know he was. I really liked getting to see things from the past, things I thought I understood but never really did. Things that I never knew about and how they related to things happening now… how everything is tied together, how all actions from before lead to where we are now.
IT ENDED. The book ends. Why did it end? The cliffhanger… it’s brutal because it’s informative of things to come. Informative and enlightening in a way that will make readers want the next book desperately. Informative and horrible at the same time because waiting is going to be horrible. Horrible because once the next book is out, I still have to wait again for the next one that comes after. Brutal because I’m an impatient person when it comes to this series. But honestly, the cliffhanger is kick ass and it makes me more excited than anything!
I have to say that I love this book… almost as much as Wolfsong. I probably only love Wolfsong more because it was the first. I love the emotions, the struggle and fight it took to get Mark and Gordo where they needed to be. But I also love the main story as a whole. There is so much going on, and things that happen that will change their lives forever… and I love that because they‘re such a strong pack and I know they’ll survive this. They’ll come out on top and be better for it, and maybe… possibly, change the world of all the packs for the better.
Ox’s character voice played such a huge factor in my love for Wolfsong that I actually had major misgivings going into Ravensong. I was over the moon to discover that the narration style that I loved so much was kept intact as Gordo’s story came together beautifully through colorful snippets and painful slices from childhood up to present day. Also, grade school Rico, Chris and Tanner were pretty much as ridiculous as expected which pleased me to no end.
You may call me a masochist but I really enjoyed the intensity and angst that made up Gordo and Mark’s relationship – I think anything less than a hardfought HFN would have minimized their past grievances which were many and monumental.
I absolutely loved that we finally got some insight into the three years that Gordo, Joe, Kelly and Carter spent on the road – I thought that their time away from everything and everyone they loved was easily some of the most heartwrenching moments in the book and really made me look at them with new eyes. Despite the fact that a portion of the story was a retelling of Wolfsong, I really appreciated the fresh perspective and I thought there were plenty of surprises and things that kept me guessing – even now.
While the young version of Rico & Co. were freaking hilarious (and I loved them all to pieces in Wolfsong), the repartee between their adult selves in Ravensong seriously grated on my nerves during the high intensity scenes (and there were plenty of those). I also wasn’t enamored by the direction the story took – I was sad that the new (huge) scope of the story was a far cry from the intimacy of Wolfsong. Sometimes a girl just wants to cuddle in a giant wolf pile in the comfort of her own forest, y’know? So much so that I wasn’t sure if I was even going to continue with this series in the future… which brings me to my final point in the Dislike column: Cliffhanger endings.
I would absolutely recommend this book if you enjoyed Wolfsong. It’s an angsty, absorbing read that tore at my heart and kept me guessing. However based on the direction the story’s taken, I must admit the jury is still out on if I will carry on with this series.
I have to admit, I wasn’t sure I was going to like Gordo’s story when I first heard that Ravensong would be mostly focused on him and Mark. Gordo was always so fucking grouchy in Wolfsong and although he was always good to Ox, he wasn’t exactly the friendliest witch on the block. He was gruff, standoffish, and oftentimes a plain old sourpuss. Let’s be honest – you couldn’t ever accuse him of being Mr. Personality. So you can see why I had concerns that he might not be the most charismatic MC to grace the pages of a book.
Well, I’m here to say I was wrong. Not about him being grumpy. He’s totally that. But Ravensong showed another side to Gordo that made him not only sympathetic, but truly likeable, even when he’s being a bit of a stubborn asshat. Colour me impressed.
Aside from making me like Gordo, I felt like some of the missing pieces from Wolfsong were put into place. Understanding motivations is hard when you’re only getting part of the story, but seeing the same events from someone else’s perspective makes everything that much clearer.
Through Gordo’s memories, we see how he was forced into the role of the Bennett pack witch far too early, and what he had to endure to make that happen. We see his friendship with Mark turn into something with real potential to be so much more before it was cruelly snatched away from him without explanation. And we see how he floundered, then hardened himself in order to live with the scraps that were left behind.
All this made me really sympathize with him, and even though there were times I wanted Mark to slap his face and yell “snap out of it!”, I do get that his feelings of betrayal run deep and strong, and are not without merit.
Mark became less of a throwaway character to me in Ravensong, but I would have liked to have been given a bit more. It’s really not until close to the end that we actually see more of his personality and his true feelings on being separated from Gordo for all those years. I wish that had happened earlier in the book because up until then, I didn’t fully comprehend the attraction between the two of them.
Okay, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: Rico, Chris and Tanner are bloody annoying. The stupid jokey riffs they keep doing with each other bring me out of the story every time. Also, no one says “eep” in real life. I like a bit of humour to break up the tension, but they’re not funny. At all. I hope they all get eaten in the next book.
For me this was a solid read from beginning to end. I’m thoroughly invested in the story and I’m eager to see how it all ends. Like Wolfsong, I’ll read this again a few months from now and enjoy it just as much the second time around.
When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, over two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder. But that’s okay, because he’s recently become a full-time writer, and can give them the time they deserve.
Since being published, TJ has won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Romance, fought off three lions that threatened to attack him and his village, and was chosen by Amazon as having written one of the best GLBT books of 2011.
And one of those things isn’t true.
(It’s the lion thing. The lion thing isn’t true.)
Tj can be reached at email@example.com.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.