Thursday, August 25, 2016

Audiobook Review: Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak

Series:     Celtic Blood #1
Pub. Date:Aug. 4, 2016
Publisher:Clockpunk Press
Narrator:Lesley Parkin
Length:8 hrs 6 min
Source:Author/Audible

[The End] 
Bambi:  Nooooooooooo! It can't be over! 
[Frantically checking Audible to see if the next book is out] 
No! Gah! ::flails::

It's been a while since I had that reaction to the end of a book, but I was utterly captivated by Highland Raven. It was just so... so... magical, for lack of a better word.  And I can't say enough good things about the narrator, Lesley Parkin. She really did a fabulous job with the accents and tenor of the story - she brought all the characters and the setting to life with a lyrical cadence.

So this story is about Shakespeare's Lady MacBeth... with some paranormal twists. Now it has been many years since I read Shakespeare in school, so I really can't much about the correlation between this story and Shakespeare. And I could really care less the storylines meshed or not - I was thoroughly entertained by Melanie Karsak's tale.

Pledged to the Morrigan  at her birth by her vengeance-driven father, our heroine is known by many names: Gruoch, Corbie, Boudica, Cerridwen, Lady MacBeth. She is of the royal line of MacAlpin, with ties to the thrones of Scotland and Ireland. Cerridwen's family follows the old Gods at a time when Christianity is sweeping the land, so the story is full of Celtic and Pictish rituals and mythology. But Karsak weaves even more magic into the story with fae interludes, prophecy, wizardry and travel between realms. I liked Cerridwen as our warrior woman heroine. I loved that she was capable and curious and emotional. At this point, I'm not really seeing Cerridwen as Lady MacBeth... she is a young girl who is stretching her wings (literally) to learn family traditions and cope with her fate as best she can.

I am not usually a fan of the love triangle... but this one has me quite intrigued. I was very excited by Cerridwen's visions of a raven-haired man with eyes full of love. I thought I had an epic love story on my hands. But then along comes Banquo, who had a special connection to Boudica as Prasutagus. We see a lot of soul magic happening and it appears that Cerridwen and Banquo have been reconnecting time and again through each life. So, not remembering much MacBeth at the time, I was confused as to whose team I should be on! I think this allowed me to really feel the same conflict that Cerridwen was feeling when she had the soul-deep connection on one hand, but was still curious about the raven-haired man from her visions on the other hand.

This story ended on a cliffhanger and I absolutely cannot wait to see what's next in store for Cerridwen and MacBeth. I only wish these stories were longer because I was not ready for this one to end. While I am sure reading the story in print is great, I highly encourage you to give it a shot in audio because the narrator is fantastic. As much as I want to jump into the second book, I am going to try to wait patiently for the audio version to be released.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Celtic Blood