Cover Image: Raven Dock

Raven Dock

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Member Reviews

Harper was interesting enough. The accident would've been tragic if not for the description.

Harper venturing herself and learning while coping her family's death was painful to read.

I did love the premise and paranormal touch. Looking forward to reading the rest of dark coven series.
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As I'm into witches and everything paranormal, I found this an entertaining read. I was a bit annoyed over the ending, but hopefully things will change a little bit in the rest of the series.
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When I first picked this up I was expecting a fairly light read about a teenage girl discovering she was a witch and learning how to use her powers from a loving aunt. Looking back at the cover now, I am not sure why I ever thought this. It was in fact much darker than I had expected, and I loved it!

Even before Harper discovers her true identity, the book is filled with plenty of little hints of things to come, from the strange daisy pattern that appears wherever Harper lives, to the strange rituals of her father, with his habit of keeping peacock feathers in the house and salting entryways.

When Harper arrives at Raven Dock, she gets a lot more than she bargained for and that's where this book really get interesting, as she finds out the truth about her heritage. 

I had no idea that this book was part of a series when I started reading it, but I am so glad it is, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next book.
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Thankyou to NetGalley, BooksGoSocial and the author, Sara Caldwell, for the opportunity to read a digital copy of Raven Dock in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.
I thought the book provided a good, quick read. It was well written with engaging characters. Would definitely read more from this author.
Worth a read.
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I really enjoyed this, definitely worth a buy and a re-read of a physical copy (i am a sucker for a real book over an e-book). I enjoyed the story line and found the book well written. Would reccomend.
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Well, I have to admit, I struggled to get into Raven Dock. I felt that it had so much potential to be something much greater. The storyline was good, but the pace was completely off. It only took a few pages for Harper’s world to change which didn’t give you a lot of time to get to know her family and her relationship with her younger brother Danny. I felt that the whole story was pushing towards the importance of family and staying together, yet you miss the whole family part. I was left with more questions than answers. What was the real reason her parents kept Mary away from her? Was it that they were scared? Did they blame them for the death of her mother? What is the overall intention? We don’t really know for sure that her family were keeping her from Mary at all, but someone else altogether. You’re left to put the pieces together yourself. Alongside it’s need for further proofreading, the story felt like a draft rather than the finished book.

I felt like we didn’t really get to know the characters because of the missing dialogue. Most of the conversations between characters weren’t spoken, so you missed a lot of their expressions and character building through their discourse. Harper is thrown into a new world with no means to communicate with the outside world. She tries to make an effort with the people around her by getting to know their way of life outside of the means of technology, yet the communication is at a minimum. The women at Raven Dock have secrets yes, but besides a brief explanation about where Nell and Alice came from, you don’t really know any of the others at all. Why does Margot dislike Harper? Who are the other women at the retreat? Who are the 10 and why are they important? It’s almost frustrating to know that the author is trying to push Harper to stay although gives us no reason too try or care enough besides the surprise ‘I’m your real mother’ plea from Mary and to try and save the mysterious Colton. Even with Colton, she only has a few conversations with him which end very quickly, it isn’t enough for us to build up a relationship between the characters.

I actually quite liked the enigma that is Colton. As a character he was actually quite interesting, knowing that he was kept against his will and made out to be the help, knowing that he could be injured but hushed up as being okay by the women in the retreat. When he appears again looking haggard, you don’t question that it could have been months of abuse other than a few days of no rest. The innocent victim with his desperation to escape kept Harper’s attention, not to mention his good looks and confident coy smiles.

I was really fascinated with Danny and his fondness for random facts. The fact that he was so young yet so intelligent, the fact that he was so innocent and different from Harper but he was everything to her. How is notebooks full of bizarre facts were what held Harper in place through her most difficult time. I adored his character even though he only survived 9 pages. I wish there were more flashbacks of their time together.
I really didn’t like how his last words were part of a bigger picture. Why would he be saying it of all people? He couldn’t have known who the driver was. Even if he could, there isn’t exactly a way of finding out since he’s now gone. I felt it was just another means for the author to put the pieces together, but didn’t give a thought about where the pieces came from in the first place.

Overall I did enjoy the storyline, but felt it was missing too much which is why I’ve rated it so low.
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Harper Duncan is the typical teenage misfit. The book starts with a defiant hair chop and dye job which quickly dissolves as a tragic situation unfolds and results in the loss of her family. I admit that the way the accident and Harper's reaction was described by Caldwell, had me tearing up. At first, I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Harper's move to Raven Dock to meet her father's sister and the weird commune on which she resided. Caldwell created a very enigmatic and creepy situation to start. However, the narrative moved so quickly and the characters felt slightly under-developed - it made things a little frustrating.

There were characters that played a significant part of the ending that had very little development thanks to a plot device to move time forward in the last third of the novel. Harper's acceptance of a very curious fate seemed a bit contrived (given the bulk of the book focused on her resistance and desire to escape) and I was left wondering if, had this book, which is clearly meant to be part of a series, had been stretched out more, I would have been able to become more attached to the people in play. The plot, the story, the world are all things I find interesting, but the abrupt quality of the book left me wanting more. 

Perhaps the intent of the author is to expand upon these things in future books and it's my lack of patience that's the true issue here! I'm grateful to NetGalley for providing me the opportunity to read this book: as a note, however, the electronic copy provided had formatting issues that, combined with the intentionally fast pace of the book, made it slightly more difficult to read.

I'll definitely give the next book of this series a try as I'm curious to see where this goes.
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Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for review

I have mixed feelings on this one, I did enjoy the story but felt it could have been far better too. The fast paced nature of the book skips over a lot of things that could be explored more in depth and would add value to the book such as better explanations of the ten, the coming war and also character relationships being a bit too fast and underdeveloped .  It was dark and different and I liked that.  I can't say much that would cause spoilers about the book, but I am interested in what will happen next which means it did win me over, I just think it needs some work , slow the pace down to develop more and give a bit more detail and this would be 4 stars.
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Constantly moving would undoubtedly offer a unique life, but the secrets those moves have hidden in Raven Dock by Sara Caldwell uncover an alternate life that could still be had, if desired. 

Harper Duncan's family has moved around quite a bit, but she is really enjoying her life and friendships forged in Chicago. When she overhears her parents heatedly discussing yet another move, Harper pushes back and argues with her mother. After a hit-and-run car accident suddenly takes her parents and brother from her life, an orphaned Harper is contacted by her estranged aunt with an offer to visit her at the remote retreat she runs called Raven Dock. Visiting Raven Dock proves to be a catalyst for Harper to uncover numerous truths about herself, and her family, leaving her with an important decision to make about embracing her newly-discovered heritage. 

The story presents an interesting concept and initially depicts relatable character reactions to remarkable situations from Harper, but her reactions become less realistic as more fantastic elements are included in the story. A quickly moving narrative, the characters don't feel adequately developed and too much of the magical world is left unexplained or explored for this introductory story of what appears to be a larger series. Though a solution to progressing the narrative forward in time, a fast-fowarding as a result of a drug-induced coma feels like too easy of an out when some of that missing time could have been helpful in establishing and building a more well-realized world and offering an explanation as to why Harper now seems to embrace the coven when she was first weirded out by them and determined to leave Raven Dock as soon as possible. 

Overall, I'd give it a 3 out of 5 stars.
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Thank you to BooksgoSocial for the arc of this book.
For such a short book, it was full of intrigue and mystery.
It was well written and full of background knowledge, with an ending I didn’t see coming look froward to the next book!
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Raven Dock is character-driven and energetic writing.  It’s youthful and perfect for readers who enjoy supernatural fiction.

A great read for the fall season — along with many other seasons.
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I'm so glad Raven Dock is just the first of a whole series. The only downside will be having to wait for the next volume. Sara Caldwell's handling of intrigue, mystery and suspense is nothing short of masterful. Raven Dock is page turner and will make you stay up too late at night trying to find out what happens next. The main character, Harper, a teenage misfit, is very real, supremely engaging, and outsiders with special powers have been a winning combination from The Ugly Duckling to Superman to Harry Potter. Raven Dock is no exception. Teens and tweens will surely find a hero in Harper Duncan but (as with Harry Potter) you don't have to be in any particular age group to identify. Harper had my empathy from page one. I wanted to go with her on her amazing, often scary, ultimately rewarding journey and was so glad I did. Can't wait for Book Two!
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I usually like YA novels, especially with a witchy theme, but this one didn't do it for me.  And a cliffhanger.
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I received a free copy of RAVEN DOCK (Book 1 of the Dark Coven Series) by Sara Caldwell in exchange for an honest review.  Harper Duncan is tired of moving all the time.  When she finds out her family is moving again, she acts out, which results in a blowout fight with her mother.  Harper’s family is then killed in a hit-and-run accident, so she’s alone, feeling guilty, and grief-stricken.  Harper discovers she has an aunt and goes to visit her; this is when things get a little strange.  Her aunt tells her she is her birth mother and that they are hereditary witches.  The coven seems to be holding a prisoner and the witches act pretty mysterious.

I can’t tell you much more about the book because one more sentence would reveal the end.  This appears to be the first in the series; however, the war between the covens was not really explored; there was also no real explanation about what significance ten and twenty had.  Some of Harper’s actions or lack thereof can be justified by the coven keeping her stoned out of her mind, but how she just goes along with things at some points should have registered as irregular even if drugged.  No sex in this book, but the underage characters engage in frequent drinking and drug use.  If you’re interested in a quick, dark read, then this is the book for you.

#RavenDock #NetGalley
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