Book Review: The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Friday, March 15, 2019

Title: The Raven Tower
Author: Ann Leckie
Publication Date: February 26th 2019

Synopsis: "Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master's castle.
This castle where he finds his uncle on his father's throne.
You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.

A triumph of the imagination, The Raven Tower is the first fantasy novel by Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking fantasy masterpiece."

My thoughts: I love Ann Leckie's writing, so you better believe I was going to get my hands on this one as soon as I could! This is Leckie's first foray into fantasy (scifi is the usual go to), and I was a little anxious but incredibly intrigued as to how she would handle it.

And handle it, she did. With her own style, of course. Told mostly via a second person POV - not something you see very often - and the second person is a god, so they can pretty much see everything, and often talk about their own experiences of coming into existence and such, making this an incredibly unique and intriguing book. The character that the god is talking to, Eolo, is also hinted to be possibly transgender, and I love how Leckie plays with reader's expectations of gender in all of her books - it makes me feel so happy to read. I can't quite describe how it makes me feel specifically, because it's a little complex, but just know that the general feeling is 'happy'.

The story is told in kind of a meandering way at times. The reader is sometimes taken from what I guess you would call the 'true' storyline - that is, what is happening with Eolo and the small blurb above (which, whilst small, is still incredibly revealing - I preferred going in a little blind) - to a tale of the god's life, interactions they have had with humans and other gods and godlike beings, and then sometimes it will meander into what the god thinks about the world, and what it thinks about thinking... and then we will head back to Eolo. This might sound a little strange and frustrating, because I'm not describing it terribly well, but I honestly found myself really enjoying all the tangents and thoughtful monologues from the narrator, and we always headed back to the 'true' storyline before things because to obscure.

While I know this is a standalone, and I think it works that way, I do find myself wanting more from this book - perhaps more explorations of the character Myriad, or following Eolo after-the-fact. I think that just shows how much I enjoyed being inside this world and inside the head of a god - Leckie's writing continues to blow me away with its quiet considerations and gentle suggestions. I am definitely a fan.

{I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!!!}

A favourite line from the book: 'What sort of urgent business did I have in the world that I did not want to leave it? When I had spent my long time listening to fish, or staring at the stars? What was the point, what had ever been the point, in my constant, unconscious effort to keep that view of the stars?'

You would like this book if: You enjoy fantasy with a bit of a twist, a different point of view; you like representation of transgender/gender-fluid individuals! (I sure do!)

Tea to drink while reading this book: I mean, I'm not sure they even had tea in this book... Perhaps ale or some milk would be a better option? 

Rating:  8/10

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