Member Review

Cover Image: The Raven and the Banshee

The Raven and the Banshee

Pub Date:

Review by

Colleen C, Librarian

4.25 Stars. Hey, here's a swashbuckler that doesn't revel in partner abuse! Yay! This is a great story that doesn't run away from some of the violence and danger that can occur in a pirate adventure, but it doesn't force its two protagonists to constantly hurt each other in order to prove that this world is a little gritty. Branna Kelly, the Raven, is a soft sole that did have to harden her outer shell in order to survive her actual kidnapping by pirates. However, she's not completely ruthless, as she builds a family of loyal sailors and others as she earns her fearsome reputation. In fact, the most devistating part of her life was the abrupt rejection of her affections by her childhood friend, heiress Julia Farrow fifteen years before she earned the 'Raven' moniker. When she rescues Julia from a shipwreck, then both must navigate feelings that suddenly leap to the front.

So many pirate books like to prove that their pirate is a broody, dark, enigmatic person that they often forget that sometimes when their love interest comes on the scene, that they have no problem abusing the love interest throughout the book. Branna is a broody pirate, but she rarely uses Julia as a prop to prove her strength. More often than not, Julia just turns Branna into the adorkable teen she was in the introduction. This dynamic is constantly moving and flowing though, as Julia devastated Branna in that way that teens only know how to do, and as adults, they both have to reconcile that. And that is on top of the Caribbean underbelly and Branna's need to stay at the top of that hierarchy.

Don't get me wrong, though, this pirate adventure is full of swashbuckling danger, and has plenty of gore, both implied and detailed. The side characters feel dangerous, but never disloyal to Branna, and the port cities are vibrant with their own political structures and people. Branna basically have a pirate mom and dad who are ruthless in their own right. Branna's adoptive mom is the madam of the famous brothel and her adoptive dad is her first mate, and they secretly love each other, and outwardly love Branna and I love them.

This isn't a romp like Pirates of the Caribbean, but it has its comedic moments. It also a super fast read. I believe when I first read this, it took only one sitting for me to get through. I didn't know why I was turning the pages, but I was, and had a ton of fun while doing so. I know there's a really short story floating around that tells of the exploits of Branna and Julia after the events of this book, so I will go check that out.

Fans of Carolyn Elizabeth will have a blast with this one, and newcomers will have a blast with this mostly serious, but fun swashbuckler.
Buy on Amazon Buy on Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.