Cover Image: In the Ravenous Dark

In the Ravenous Dark

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Member Reviews

I am sitting here, staring at my screen, a little unsure of where to begin. This book left me with conflicting feelings and I’m waffling on whether I did or whether I didn’t actually enjoy this story. If I say, “Yes, I did!” now, in five minutes I’m likely to change my mind. Let’s work these feelings out together, shall we?

I enjoyed reading a fantasy novel that had polyamory that wasn’t frowned upon. Our main character, Rovan, has strong feelings for both Lydea, the rebellious princess, and Ivrilos, her…ghost warrior guard/keeper? While, obviously, Ivrilos was written as a romantic interest with ulterior motives I just didn’t like him. He is a soft boy with big ghost swords and even bigger secrets and his very nonexistence made my nose curl.

The plot is what really drew me to this book. I love a good Save The World story with a side of romance and rebellion. While the overarching plot is good, even great, in concept, I just don’t feel like it was executed well. While some inconsistencies I can excuse for this being an ARC, and I know further editing will occur before the finished book is released, it didn’t stop from the overall story from feeling choppy. While reading, it felt like the writer had a bullet point list of how things should happen and once the item was achieved we moved along to the next point without much in the way of transition. Typically these scene changes seemed to involve our main character becoming black out drunk or being knocked out which allowed transition to the next scene and bullet point item without any kind of flow or set up. She just suddenly wakes up somewhere else and we piece together where she is now and what is going on from there. It left the story feeling choppy and inconsistent.

Despite these little annoyances, I did like the book overall. The plot was interesting enough to keep me engaged and caring how everything sorted out in the end. While I do think the ending was also overly convenient it worked to a point within the confines of the existing plot. Do I wish the plot dug a little deeper and that the story was more fleshed out? Absolutely. But as is, it is still good.

Did I manage to work through my feelings for this book? I’m not sure. The choppy story telling and lack of depth frustrated me but at the same time I felt invested in the outcome. The characters were distinct and had obvious and unique characteristics that set them apart. It was also nice seeing a gender queer side character but as I don’t identify as gender queer I can’t say whether or not that was well represented. So, I suppose, overall this book was pretty good but there were definitely points to be improved upon but I would still pick up books by this author in the future.
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I liked this book more than I expected! When I started it, I was put off by the first person perspective, but the flow of the story got me used to it and by the end, I barely even noticed anymore.

There is a L.O.T. to this story, and all of it is delightfully unique. While blood magic is not a new concept in fantasy, it is portrayed differently here than in other stories (I'm mostly thinking of Dragon Age, tbh). Based on Rovan's power, it feels like blood barely plays a role in her magic, but fortunately she is still far from a prodigy. Too often, fantasy novels feature main characters who are annoyingly good at something they've barely started doing, but while Rovan clearly has the raw power, she lacks the finesse that she eventually (sort of) learns.

The setting itself was great! I haven't come across too many fantasy novels that are based so much on Greek society without focusing on the mythology. But it didn't feel like the author merely "transplanted" ancient Greece into their setting--Thanopolis (such an apt name) is very much its own place, in a world that is definitely fantasy. The other nation presented is very "elven," which contrasts interestingly with Thanopolis and its Greek influences.

The plot was very intricate, with many twists and turns, and while some stories can play too heavily on plot and lose character, Strickland does an excellent job of developing characters that show that potential at the beginning. Not every character undergoes changes, but then not every character in a novel needs to be different by the end. If everyone was given the chance to change, the book would have been over-long, but there was just enough growth to be satisfying.

And of course the love stories! I thought all the love in this book was very sweet. And so many different kinds of love are represented, and (for the most part) it is all treated as perfectly normal. There are some relationships that aren't often shown in fantasy novels, or even YA, and I thought it was delightful that Strickland included them.

Speaking of YA--I actually forgot Multiple Times! that this book is categorized as YA. Partially because of the content, partially because of the tone, this story just doesn't scream "YA" to me. Technically, yes, the main character is nineTEEN, but still. I'm not complaining though--I don't generally like YA, so I enjoyed this.

Overall, clearly I enjoyed this book. There were definitely some things that weren't perfect, I'd hardly argue perfection (but what book Is perfect??). But I genuinely enjoyed this book and its characters, and am glad I had a chance to read and review it.
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Lush, Dark and Magical. A tale of a girl with all the wit and will to escape. A story of a heart being held in a tug of war. A beautiful fantasy standalone.
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I loved this! I really enjoyed A.M. Strickland's last book, "Beyond the black door" so I was really excited to read this. I really enjoyed the fantasy vibe with all the representation without making it about the character's representation. It just felt natural throughout the whole book. I also really liked Ivrilos as a character.
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A. M. Strickland is an auto-buy author for me from here on out. Hands down one of the best books I've read in ages. I tried to draw out reading this novel, but it was just too good. Great plot, incredible worldbuilding, and characters I could follow for an entire series. Strickland builds these lavish, dark worlds with such detail and depth that they take on a life of their own, right alongside the characters. This is the second time I've been stunned by how clever and masterful Strickland's worlds are. The compelling relationships and depth of characterization receive no less love and attention. Strickland balanced everything so perfectly, I found myself studying the pages. IN THE RAVENOUS DARK is a feast for the mind and heart.
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I tell myself I don't love fantasy and yet I tumbled into this fantastical world and was enraptured for several consecutive hours to finish "In the Ravenous Dark" in one sitting. My focus was unwavering and I was desperate to read and find out who lives, who dies, and how my favorite characters fates end. It did not feel like a four hundred page book, the pacing was fast but not overwhelming. It did feel more emerging adult than true YA, with the ages of the supporting characters and the number of spicy scenes, but that's my only quibble. Thanks to Netgalley and Imprint for an e-arc to let me get lost in this world and escape my own world for awhile.
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