Ravencaller – by David Dalglish (Review)

The Keepers #2

Fantasy, Epic

Orbit; March 17, 2020

576 pages (ebook), 535 pages (PB)

4.9 / 5 ✪

GoodreadsAuthor Website

I was kindly furnished with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Orbit and David Dalglish for the ARC!

My ninth Dalglish book, Ravencaller might just be my favorite. Thus far, at least.

Ravencaller is the follow-up to David Dalglish’s Soulkeeper, in which magical creatures and monsters alike have reawakened after centuries spent trapped in a deep, deep sleep. Where in the first book we dealt with the awakening of these creatures, in Ravencaller we deal with the fallout. For the creatures’ sleep was not voluntary. In the times before, humanity and the denizens of the Dragons often clashed, and soon it became clear to one another that each could not exist while the other yet lived. And then something changed. The Dragons were forced under by the Sisters’ power, so that humanity could inherit their world. Imprisoned with them were all of their creations, who so recently awoke.

I was a big fan of Soulkeeper last year, but Ravencaller surpassed even my lofty hopes set by its predecessor.

Magical creatures now roam the land, preying on anything and everything to sate their bloodlust. Their imprisonment was long, and their tempers have frayed. Humans and animals alike suffer their wrath—but mostly humans. Not only the creatures have returned, however. Human servants of the Dragons, called Ravencallers, have emerged, their newfound powers similar to those granted to the Faith- and Mindkeepers but wielded towards a different goal. To drive these ‘men from the Dragons’ land, rather than save it from them. In addition to the these new malcontents, disease has arrived with the magic itself.

Humans awaken hungering for flesh, most often that of their neighbor. Others die, taken by plague or owls, gargoyles and foxes, or other magical predators. One band of creatures quickly overruns the Low Dock, taking it for themselves. Another drives the ‘men from Orismund west of Londheim, demanding past arrangements be honored. An army stands upon the city’s threshold. Another looms in the west. The Sisters’ faithful are pressed back on their heels—with one exception. Adria Eveson.

Transformed by Viciss and his creature Janus, she stands at the head of the church’s army. While magic has returned to the people of the land, Adria is something more. Something far more. And to ensure humanity’s survival, she must become far greater than she’d ever hoped.

Luckily, Adria has allies. Tesmarie, the ebon faerie; Devin, Soulkeeper and her brother; Tomas, newly awakened sorcerer; Jacaranda, newly awakened soulless; and more. The odds are heavily against them, but the humans may yet triumph in this war. Or, they might yet come to another, less bloody arrangement. But time will tell.

Despite a few faults, I loved Ravencaller. More than Soulkeeper. More than any other Dalglish book before it (my personal favorite up til now was probably A Dance of Ghosts). Devin remains my favorite character, but a newbie—Dierk, a Ravencaller—also steals the show. I liked Adria and Tesmarie and others, but Jacaranda’s one-woman revenge mission started to feel a bit worn-out at the halfway point. Nonetheless, I never got to a point in which I was dreading someone’s POV chapter. Not even hers’.

The language remains the same as it was in Soulkeeper. If you didn’t like the casual banter, the common names and words before—you probably won’t like it any better now. If you liked it, that probably won’t change. I didn’t mind it, because it’s what Dalglish used in his Shadowdance series. I’m used to it. But it might annoy you. And if it does, then it does.

The world-building continues to impress, as the changes the author makes to the world mirror the magic awakening all throughout it. Diseases pop up where none were before. Old tensions reawaken. Old disagreements draw new blood. The creatures’ motivations are their own, just like the humans’. It’s a mistake to think either are united in their ideals, their resentments. But can Devin and his friends keep an all out war from erupting?

I really have very little to say about Ravencaller. I loved it—and that pretty much seems sufficient. A classical story with darker elements. Just what I needed at the time. When the world is uncertain, escape into a lovely, well-rendered story.

TL;DR

If you enjoyed Soulkeeper, you’ll probably like Ravencaller. I’d be willing to say you’ll probably like it more. Returning are the riveting plot, the lovely world-building, the interesting and immersive world and its creatures. If anything, there’re even more interesting and unique creatures now. There’s mystery, combat and drama. Love and death. War and… well, mostly war. Action and adventure (though we spend less time out of the city than in Book #1). There’re strong male and female leads. Good characters, POVs and chapters. Nothing too difficult to read or too boring to not suffer through. I’d recommend it, but you’ll have to read #1 first. Honestly, it’s a no-brainer.

Ravencaller comes out early next week, March 17th to be exact. Pick it up, it you need a break from reality. Or, if you’re practicing social distancing. The series may or may not conclude with Voidbreaker, due out 2021. I’m looking forward to next year—and I’m already sick of this one. In March.

Outstanding.