Review: Ravencliffe by Carol Goodman


2.5 out of 5 disappointed stars

I am disappoint. I can’t remember being more disappointed in a 2nd installment in a series that had such promise. The first half of this was okay, but it began to suffer from what I call “pat on the back syndrome”. This is where the characters are just so glad to see each other and spend most of the time patting each other on the back. Except for when they are fighting. And the only reason I knew they were fighting was because I was told, because there was very little interaction. It was all description of interaction.

I don’t even know how much I want to say. I guess I’ll give a quick rundown, but it’s hard to pick a point to begin. The damn plot is all over the place. It feels like there are three books in one, and they are all given short shrift.

We have the new introduction of madges – magical people who aren’t exactly fae (but where do they come from? Not sure.) But they are people with magical abilities from other cultures, usually. The Order tends to hunt these people down, bring them into the Order, learn all their secrets and then treat them like servants. The first problem we run into are all the girls that are disappearing from the poorer parts of the city. It appears they are being seduced by a mysterious man and then they disappear. One of these is Ruth, the sister of Etta, one of the girls who worked with Ava at the Triangle Waste factory.  And here is the first of many coincidences. It just so happens that Etta figured this out because she has the ability to see magical creatures, and has sensed that her sister is no longer her sister.

The book could have been about finding the girls and rescuing them and bringing the madges into the fold, but this is just the first act. Then we go to the school. Ava is terrified of everyone finding out about her father being a Darkling, and her fledging wings. Raven is distant and strange, and I just feel like this relationship is just not developed enough. They had a couple kisses but they hardly spend any time together. I’d hoped that the relationship would have more development in the 2nd one but it really doesn’t. Because there is too much going on. The council is giving Dame Beckwith crap for what went on last semester, and they want the girls to be more biddable. You know, the same girls they are training to be warriors against the dark and evil of faerie. Those girls. I mean it doesn’t make sense. Neither does the obsession with dancing that has suddenly flared up with the creepy new dancing instructor. You would think it was obvious that this is part of some weird plan or some darkness has crept in… and everyone but our core group of people have been ensnared by it. How convenient. And of course, Judicus Van Drood is behind it all.

Too much convenience, too many ancient prejudices swept away with a word or two, too many people showing up to save the day. Too many huge reveals that would have been cool if they would have had a set up. A prophesy comes out of nowhere. We’re in the 2nd book. The prophesy should have come out in the first book. And where the prophesy came from is stupid – yep, that magical book she was looking for. It was supposed to be a reasonable source of information – not a book of prophesy. That could have been another story. Too many plots going on! Grandma even shows up out of nowhere. I mean Grandma wasn’t in but two or three pages in the last book, and now she shows up in the last few pages of one of the final chapters.

I was going to buy the third book (if you remember my last review, I didn’t even know this was a trilogy, I thought it was a duology.) I’m broke as hell and see no reason to spend the money for a third book right now. One day I might.


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