Review: The Raven Tower

Author: Ann Leckie
Genre: Fantasy

The Raven’s Tower is a very strange novel.

The book follows two threads: a prince’s attendant trying to help his master reclaim his rightful seat, and the entire life story of an ancient god. The second one ends up being less grandiose than it sounds: there are gods lying around everywhere, and this one is a bit of a homebody. The two stories work well together, despite one spanning thousands of years and the other lasting a handful of days. My curiosity about how the two stories were related was a lot of what drove me through the book. And all else aside, the climax where the two stories finally crash into each other, is incredibly cool.

All in all, I’m not sure what I thought of The Raven’s Tower. There’s a phrase Brendan Hurst uses, and that’s “I’m glad I read it, I’m not sure I liked it,” and I think that applies here for me. I liked the world, and a few of the characters, but sometimes struggled to get really engrossed in it. One issue is that half of the book is told in second person limited; it made me feel disconnected from the characters on that side of the story, since we are only given speculation about their internal states. I also felt that the fact that we are only given two half stories instead of one larger one weakened both of them a little.

If you like Ann Leckie from her Ancillary series, you might have better luck than I did with this book; something in her writing style leaves me feeling flat. I’d say that The Raven’s Tower is an interesting book with cool ideas, but the strange structure and storytelling left it just on the edge of enjoyable to me. But I am glad that I read it.

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