It has been a hot minute since I have found a spooky, witchy little tale to sink my teeth into. Luckily The Ravens provided just about everything I had been craving.
It’s a little bit The Secret Circle and quite a bit of The Craft, but it somehow takes the good parts of those witchy icons and melds them into something that matches the time we’re living in. For the most part at least.
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
The Ravens follows two very different members of the exclusive, secretive Kappa sorority house. Vivi, a freshman recruit, has bounced around from town to town for all of her life and has never found a home or family to call her own. Scarlett, a junior vying for the sorority’s presidency, is the latest in a long line of her ambitious family’s powerful witch-y lineage. When things start going threateningly awry in their house, the girls begin to realize that there is nothing more powerful than a witch scorned.
Where this book truly shines is the pure cinematic quality of it. For real, this book is crying out to be adapted by the CW. And as an avid lover of trash CW shows, I had a blast picking through the chanted spells present throughout the pages and imagining wind picking up threateningly as bad omens. The atmosphere of this book is undoubtedly a mix of camp, horror, and gothic aesthetics. It was great.
The deep female friendships and loyalties in the book were good as well. These are girls that love each other for more than each other’s magic. And we see the love persist, even when bonds strain.
Speaking of strained bonds, I’m going to chat about Scarlett and Vivi. Vivi was fine, her dialogue flowed naturally and I really liked how she interacted with Ariana and even Mason– though I really don’t like that they felt the need to include this tired trope of Vivi “falling in love” with Scarlett’s longtime boyfriend. I’ll hop to that in a second. Vivi was fine, but she was very mild. We kept hearing and hearing about how her powers are so great– once in a lifetime kind of witch– and she… doesn’t really do much at all. We also don’t know why she’s so great?
Vivi, to me, was a placeholder in Scarlett’s tale. Which is funny because I spent about 65% of the story not liking Scarlett. When we first see Scarlett interact with Vivi, she is rude and elitist, making fun of Vivi for her choice in clothes and hair– just really catty shit that came from nowhere. She is also jealous and slightly controlling of her longtime BF, Mason. I think that a great deal of the Scarlett v. Vivi tension didn’t particularly need to be in there. There so could have been a way to put these two in conflict that didn’t stem from the usual “jealousy over a boy”. (Also, I’m sorry but I don’t care what kind of “blessing” you give, it’s shitty to date someone who your friend had been dating for years.)
BUT. Scarlett had an absolutely fabulous character evolution over the course of the novel and I ended up really rooting for her. She became the one I was glued to for every page. (Though I wish we would have gotten a bit more with Jackson.)
The mystery aspect of the book wasn’t super groundbreaking, but it did have some cool twists; some that I saw coming, some that I did not!
The descriptions, coupled with the gothic atmosphere are what really makes this story shine. I can just picture myself being snuggled up in bed with some popcorn rooting, jumping when wild ravens appear.
So yeah, there were some aspects of the book that I really enjoyed! Though it wasn’t done in an overwhelmingly original manner, it was a good-time book! It was what you expect from a spooky YA story about a coven of witches!
(One more thing: Goodreads says this is apart of a series, but it didn’t really leave it open for another book, so I’m curious if that’s really the case?)
**Thank you to #NetGalley for giving me an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.