Kate Forsyth is best known for her last series the Witches of Eileanan which I haven't read. This book is the first book in her latest series; Rhiannon's Ride. Rhiannon's Ride is a trilogy. Overall this was an excellent and very solid fantasy. For me it fell somewhere between and epic type of fantasy and an adventure fantasy. The first book is more of an adventure fantasy.
This book starts out with No-Horn a half-satrycorn girl who is in danger on being killed by the satrycorn tribe because she has not yet grown a horn. No-Horn manages to kill a prisoner and steal his goods; she captures a black-winged horse and flees the tribe. She ends up in the forest near Lewen's parents' land. Lewen finds her tied to the horse and helps to heal her. Lewen and family decide to name her Rhiannon. The remainder of the book deals with their adventures on their way to the Shining City of Lucescere.
This was a great book. There was a lot of action, the plot is complex and deep. The world is magnificent and is developed to great detail. There are a number of different races of creatures and there is a very complex history behind the story. I am guessing that some of the history and backstory were developed in the Witches of Eileanan series. Rhiannon and Lewen are wonderful characters who come across as believable both in the heroism and their humanity. The supporting characters are also rich with personality and history. Reading this book really made me want to go back to the first series and read more about all the fascinating characters in the background.
That being said, I found this to be a stand alone series. Although I am guessing you might understand the motives of some of the supporting characters better if you knew their history from the first series. That being said this is *not* a stand alone book. The first book stops basically mid journey. I was extremely grateful that I had purchased the next book in the series already.
This really is one of the best straight fantasy novels I have read in some time. There is action, adventure, intrigue, true love, and magic. The intricacies of all of the customs of the different races are fascinating but never overbearing.
In summary a wonderful read. My only complaint would be that the book does not wrap anything up before its conclusion. I would recommend buying all three books if you opt to read the first one; otherwise you will be fretting about what is going to happen to Rhiannon while you wait to get the next book. I can't imagine reading the first book and not reading the second and third one. This book made me want to go out and get all of the books in the Witches of Eileanan series too!
Very rarely does a fantasy novel manage to take you into its world from the first page and refuse to let you go until the ending. More often than not, stories in a series get you hooked into its magical world, then leave you hanging as you breathlessly await the next installment. Not so with Kate Forsyth's THE TOWER OF THE RAVENS. For those who have never visited her world of Eileanan in books such as THE POOL OF TWO MOONS or THE CURSED TOWERS, never fear! THE TOWER OF THE RAVENS is a fantasy epic that can definitely stand alone, and does so with competent writing, fantastic world-building, and a deeply heroic cast of characters.
Ever since she was a young girl, Rhiannon has wanted nothing more than to catch a winged horse, to tame and train it so that she could fly away and escape from the hellish nightmare that is her life. Scorned, ridiculed, and even feared by her fellow man, Rhiannon lives in near solitude, wanting only to belong. Without even a name at this young age, the daughter of One-Horn and a human father. One-Horn is the mother of the tribe of satyricon, fairies who have horns and hoofs instead of feet. Rhiannon, born without a horn and with human feet, is immediately branded an outcast, and she lives her solitary life with only the hope of escape as comfort.
When she finally manages to escape upon a winged horse, its not without injury and risk to herself. Arriving at the home of Lewen, an apprentice witch, she's finally given a name-and perhaps a chance to truly belong. When Lewen and his family decide to bring Rhiannon to the Tower of Two Moons in the city of Lucescere to be tested for magical ability, Rhiannon worries that she might once again lose any sense of self she's just beginning to gain.
Murder, intrigue, and suspicion soon surround Rhiannon when a member of the Guard is found dead. Suddenly surrounded by unimaginable evil and malevolence, it will take all the strength and magic that Rhiannon possesses to protect herself and those she loves.
THE TOWER OF RAVENS is a wonderful fantasy novel that will thoroughly immerse you in Kate Forsyth's magical world. A woman who wants only to find her place in the world, Rhiannon is a strong, caring woman who truly overcomes her past to be a woman that everyone can be proud of.
A good beginning to the series Keeps you wanting to read more and mnot put the book down
I wanted to read this book because I liked the flying horse. I had not read the first series from this author, but still had no problem following the story. I am currently reading the "Witches of Eileanan" series, and it is helping a lot to identify who the characters are.