The Night Raven (The Moonwind Mysteries)

The Night Raven (The Moonwind Mysteries)
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
November 01, 2023
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It’s 1880, and in the frigid city of Stockholm, death lurks around every corner. Twelve-year-old Mika knows that everyone in her orphanage will struggle to survive this winter. But at least the notorious serial killer the Night Raven is finally off the streets…or is he?

Mika is shocked when a newborn baby is left at the orphanage in the middle of the night, by a boy with a cryptic message. Who is he? And who is this “Dark Angel” he speaks of? When a detective shows up, Mika senses something even more sinister is going on.

Drawn in by Mika’s unique ability to notice small details―a skill Mika has always used to survive―the gruff Detective Hoff unwittingly recruits her to help him with his investigation into a gruesome murder. Mika knows she should stay far, far away, and yet…with such little hope for her future, could this be an opportunity? Maybe, just maybe, this is Mika’s chance to be someone who matters.

Editor review

1 review
Has a serial killer returned?
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
Mika is the main character and she’s the most interesting individual in the book. She has a talent for noticing details which she’s developed in order to survive the streets. At twelve years old, she’s actually one of the older children in the orphanage so the other orphans look up to her. Her keen observation skills attract the attention of a police detective named Valdemar and readers will be able to follow her thinking as she collects clues to solve a murder mystery. The killing is reminiscent of a serial killer from a year ago but everyone knows the Night Raven was executed in prison. Readers will find that Mika is the smartest character in the book as she’s able to sort out the confusing evidence and eventually determine the identity of the murderer. Mika’s confidence and determination to make something of her life make her the dominant personality in the story. Some details regarding her past are revealed later in the book and it remains to be seen what will come from that part of the story.
The story is historical fiction as it’s set in 1880 Stockholm, Sweden. I can’t recall many books, if any, that I’ve read that are set in late 19th-century Scandinavia. The author appeals to all of the senses in describing the depressed conditions at this time in history. Rank odors from the latrines and slaughterhouses are stifled by the cold but the “stench of death” in the crypt is nauseating. Characters travel by carriage, horse, or by foot as they navigate the streets and bridges. The orphanage is struggling to stay warm in the winter as firewood is scarce and expensive. They eventually need to close the upper floors to conserve resources. Rats run rampant around Stockholm at this time in history as poverty has beset most of the common people.
There are several interesting subplots surrounding the orphanage, Mika, and other characters. Phoebe is awakened one night to find a newborn infant being dropped off at the orphanage. The headmistress Amelia accepts the baby even though the orphanage is full and there’s no information about the baby’s identity. In another storyline, it’s revealed that Valdemar is a loner and there’s something in his past that’s tarnished his reputation among the police. He seems to care about Mika’s welfare even though others are telling her she can’t trust the police. In addition, another orphan named Edvin has frequent nightmares and his scarred body conceals mental traumas in his head. Who is he speaking to when he calls out in his sleep and who could have inflicted this kind of pain upon a child?
What didn’t work as well:
I like the inclusion of the baby but it’s unclear how she fits into the overall plot. There are lingering questions surrounding her appearance but Mika is committed to protecting her from any harm. Almost all of the orphans are without surnames but Mika makes sure the baby gets one when the priest comes for her baptism. As it turns out, Mika discovers she actually has a surname herself.
The final verdict:
Many readers may find this book unremarkable but it really keeps me engaged and wanting to read more. Coming from a challenging childhood, Mika’s kind spirit and detective skills make this story a huge success and I recommend you give it a shot. A sequel called “The Queen of Thieves” has already been published.
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