The Ravenstones: Prophecy Fulfilled

Prophecy Fulfilled by C.S. Watts

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there, click here.

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SUMMARY

Eirwen, a lonely polar bear, and Fridis, a feisty Eider duck, have teamed up on the adventure of their lives, transported from the far North to a parallel world. There’s no way back; to survive and prosper, they must reinvent themselves and accept every challenge. The epic saga of The Ravenstones, an exploration of friendship, courage, sacrifice and faith not only deals with deeper themes of prejudice, vanity and lust for power but also provides readers with an exciting adventure story, full of mystery, magic and high stakes. Through the first six volumes, Eirwen and Fridis have encountered danger, intrigue and a lifetime of surprises, as well as a host of intriguing characters, animals all, from wolves, lions and bears to noble birds of prey with codes of honor that must be followed. Meanwhile, the mysteries of the magic stones and the future that is foretold hang over their lives.

In Volume 7 the adventure comes to an end. One final confrontation. Either good or evil will prevail. The stakes could not be higher – no coming second, no avenues of escape, no reserves waiting in the wings to provide rescue. It’s win or die. The prophecy must be fulfilled.

REVIEW

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Eirwen and Fridis, a polar bear and Eider duck set out on an adventure seven volumes ago. They’ve encountered magic, friends, enemies, scheming diplomats. warmongering forces, hopeful peace negotiators and a cast of characters as massive as any you would find in a George R.R. Martin book. All of the players have been set, all of the stakes have been raised, and one way or another the expansive story is wrapping up here. Eirwen and Fridis are about to find out if all of the danger they have gotten into, all of the intrigue that has gone on around them, and all of the political maneuvering will pay off. Will a prophecy be fulfilled? Or will it all come to naught?

C.S. Watts had his work cut out for him in this final volume. There are a ton of story lines to wrap up, questions to be answered and, action to be delivered. At the start of the series it was questionable to the reader whether or not Watts could deliver but in the end he’s answered that question in remarkable fashion. Like the rest of the volumes, there is intrigue, rumors, legends, magic, and fierce battles. This final book is just as engrossing as the rest and pays off in droves for the reader.

There are story lines from previous volumes that pay off in amazing fashion here. It may seem like a seven volume series staring talking animals would be too much but the end here makes all of the reading of the previous volumes an even richer experience.

If you have read the books up to this volume, you’ll know how charismatic and interesting the characters of Eirwen and Fridis are but it’s still a wonder how Watts balances such a large cast of characters in such a meaningful way and delivers on story at the same time.

This is a series I would recommend any fantasy fan give a read. If you love sweeping epics full of magic, interesting politics, memorable characters, and a plot that will keep you guessing, read this series. You definitely don’t want to start with book 7 so make sure to start at the beginning so you can accompany Eirwen and Fridis on all of the twists and turns that take them to this most impressive ending.

The Ravenstones: The Winter of Discontent

The Winter of Discontent by C.S. Watts

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there, click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

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SUMMARY

Winter has descended upon Heimborn. The armies are at a standstill, waiting for the spring fighting season to begin. But waiting does not preclude plotting and scheming, or new adventures and miscues. It does not discourage the ongoing search for the final Ravenstone or for the answers to outstanding mysteries. It does not hold back efforts to find new allies in the battle for supremacy between the forces of good and evil.

A rival to Queen Olwen has emerged. Vulpé wrestles with his conscience. Fridis, undeterred by hazard or impediment, returns to an old haunt. Temorwig and Rithild put aside their differences. The mythic black wolves reappear. Don Grimezel shows signs of life but faces a new threat. Meanwhile, Eirwen and Parthanyx, like two great chess-masters, execute moves and countermoves.

REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Winter has fallen. Eirwen and Parthnyx, both strategic military leaders have tried to best position their forces to gain advantage. But even as the snows fall, plotting, scheming, diplomacy, and coincidences favoring one side or another continue to play out. Eirwen and Fridis, the polar bear and eider duck who started off the series have come a long way. Fridis continues to learn more about the magical gems which have come into and out of possession throughout the series. She also learns some new and vital information regarding a missing stone.

While backstabbing, cover ups and military positioning continues, the weather is threat to both sides. Will the outcome of a long waged war be decided by calculated moves or through the waiting game of seeing who can survive a harsh winter?

The Ravenstones series continues to impress and fans of the previous books will find plenty here to continue to love. The most interesting aspect of The Winter of Discontent is not simply epic battles and grand bravado, but how diplomats and spies make the world of this series go around.

While most of this book is as good as the rest, the constant capture and then release of Fridis does seem a bit overdone in this volume. However, that’s not to say those scenes were not worthwhile. It just starts to feel to the reader that this will happen in nearly every book in the series. The interactions do lead somewhere but it starts to feel a bit repetitive at times.

The setting and expansive world created by C. S. Watts feels immersive and expansive and vibrant even when the snows come and the environment becomes desolate and events turn desperate.

With so many volumes in this series being so full of twists, turns and intrigues, if you are an epic fantasy fan and are not reading The Ravenstones books, you are doing yourself a disservice. Catch up while you can because the next volume is sure not to disappoint.

The Ravenstones: Death and Life

The Ravenstones: Death and Life by C.S. Watts

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there, click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through this post I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you)

SUMMARY

Volume 4 of The Ravenstones saga (Gains and Losses) ended in setback: the enemy triumphant, our heroes on their heels, needing to regroup. Eirwen the polar bear and his Heimborn cousins had made great strides in their fight for freedom, gaining control of Aeronbed’s capital, Manaris, and the Kingdom’s heartland, winning support of formidable allies: old friends, the gray wolves and new ones, the lions. But these gains came with reversals: two of the Ravenstones lost and a bloody encounter with the panther general, Parthanyx, leaves the allies demoralized.

In Death and Life, Empress Dona Morana wields new weapons. Her agent, the fox Vulpé, insinuates himself into the allied camp, and the long-forgotten wolves of Blakvul rise from their slumber. Parthanyx goes on the offensive, with new allies to command.

Eirwen aims to keep his friend Fridis out of harm’s way. His misguided strategy brings both menace and reward. Uncovering the truth about the gemstones takes Fridis to distant and hidden locations, where she meets a creature who never was, threats she couldn’t have imagined and unexpected answers.

While Eirwen leads the defense of Manaris and of Heimborn, questions emerge in the lions’ camp over the alliance with the bears.

REVIEW

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Ravenstones: Death and Life is the fifth entry in the Ravenstones saga. Eirwen, a noble polar bear who has fashioned himself into a legend, and Fridis an eider duck who is intent on discovering the secret of the magic gems she once possessed continue their adventures in this volume. Eirwen must fend off an attack from an enemy army with much greater power than his own while keeping his friend Fridis safe. Olwen, a lion queen who is still learning how to wield her own power has allied with the bear and must show strength to her people while still following direction from Eirwen. Meanwhile a crafty and persuasive fox named Vulpe has his own agenda and is willing to apply as much diplomacy, conniving and subterfuge as possible to come through for his empress.

Up to this volume, all of the books in the Ravenstone series have been intriguing, complex, and full of twists, turns, wins, losses and surprises. It’s an epic quest filled with battles, palace intrigue, shifting alliances, and magic. This volume is no exception. The story overall continues to hook the reader as much as any fantasy fiction can. C. S. Watts has delivered, once again, a book which leaves the reader wanting more while still neatly resolving many of the open questions of the series.

If you are not a fan of books that have complex plots, plenty of action, a decent dose of magic, surprises at every turn, and fine writing as well, then this is not the series for you. While it is definitely not recommended to start this series at the fifth volume in the series, Watts does do a fine job of reminding the reader of events and characters we have seen in past books and why they are important. Even more impressive, he does this while never taking away from the narrative of the current story. And he manages to introduce a large amount of new characters who I am sure will prove essential to the series.

While a book with talking animals may be off-putting to some, this book delivers for any fantasy lover open minded enough to read it. It’s got the feel of Watership Down while still delivering an original story. If you really are not into books where a lot of political intrigue is essential to the plot, this may also not be the series for you, but even with those scenes included, there is still plenty of action and magic here to come back to.

As a reviewer of many fantasy books, I must admit this series is one I think about a lot and I wait for the next volume in eager anticipation to see what will happen in the Ravenstones saga. If you have not picked up this series, you’re in for a treat, especially if you love epic fantasy. This series and this volume in the series is a must read.