Review Detail

Middle Grade Fiction 428
Nicely Dark Mystery!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Anna's mother (Nora) and father run the Ravenfall hotel, which caters to people with supernatural powers. Their big event every year is Samhain, which is quickly approaching, making for lots of work. Anna is a bit sad that her own powers are limited to seeing other people's experiences with a death if she touches them. It's not really very helpful, unlike her twin sisters Kara and Rose, who have special insights into reading people. At a party one night, someone brushes against her, and she immediately has a picture of a man and woman who have been killed, but she can't find the person. Later, when Colin shows up at the hotel, as instructed by his brother Liam in the even that the two of them were separated, she sees the same vision. Colin and Liam's parents were killed, and Liam has gone missing. Colin has his car, and it turns out that Nora was friends with Colin's parents. He's welcome to stay, they say, but his recent trauma isn't helped by learning that his parents were part of the same magical community, but left suddenly when he and Liam were very young. It definitely doesn't help when he is attacked by Kaden, a man who has been following him. It's even worse when it turns out that Kaden is a wraith. Colin needs to learn about his own magical powers quickly, and learn to use the ancient knives that have been handed down by his family. Anna is helpful in getting Colin up to speed with most of the magical world (the cat is really a Jabberwock, the house is alive, her family is filled with psychics), but struggles to keep him safe and help him fight. Kaden has assembled other wraith friends to hunt Colin down, Liam's whereabouts are still unknown, and Samhain is quickly approaching. Will Anna be able to keep Colin and Ravenfall safe?
Good Points
Like Plum's Die for Me, Harrington's Clarity, or Baguchinski's Spookygirl, Ravenfall invites us into a fairly dark and exciting world of magic and throws in a double murder to keep things moving along. I love that we see Anna's world with all of it's intricacies and eccentricities, but that it isn't over explained. It's a magical house. They have a variety of guests with different powers. Colin showing up out of the blue is not all that surprising, and when he's attacked (which reminded me of Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon!), no one is really surprised. There's some interesting Irish traditions and magic, and a lot of supportive family. There's even a great scene where Anna and Colin have a moment to take a breather and sit in a cozy room drinking wish cider that made my heart happy! There was a lot of action and scary stuff, so seeing them in a less frantic moment was especially nice.

The cover looks too young; this is much more like Perez's 2008 Dead is the New Black and other Young Adult books from fifteen years ago that were deliciously paranormal and bridged the gap between middle school and high school readers. After all, we do have Colin's parents brutally murdered, which I was not expecting with this cover. This is just going to make it a bit more difficult to get this book into the right hands.

My students will love this book, and I hope it will rekindle an interest in some of the other paranormal murder mysteries that I have. I've sort of forgotten about some of them, but I've had a lot of Twilight fans (whose mothers read the books when they were younger) who will probably enjoy those books as well as Ravenfall and its sequel!
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