Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for an advanced copy of this book!
Where to even begin with this book! In The Ravenous Dark is right up my street, a pansexual bloodmage starting a rebellion and overthrowing the evil monarchy? Yes please. It’s a complex dark fantasy and quite uniquely, a standalone.
In Thanopolis, magic is rare and runs in the blood of those blessed, or cursed with it. It’s strictly regulated by the monarchy, and those who carry power are assigned an undead spirit guardian to keep them in line.
If they didn’t have me at dark fantasy, or pansexual blood mage, they definitely had me at that setup.
The queer rep in this book is well established, and never feels forced. I love that most of the characters get to introduce their own sexuality/gender identity, and how the conversation around it is very non-judgemental.
As a main character I adored Rovan. She’s strong, self assured, not always likeable at times but that somehow makes her more likeable. She’s fiercely protective of her family, both blood and found, and I loved seeing her grow into her powers and then grow with them. Both Lydea and Ivrilos were desperately attractive love interests and I found myself so invested in the romance – I wish there had been more!
The world created in this book is incredibly complex, and I feel like whilst we only scratched the surface of it, this book did a great job of immersing without info dumping. It wasn’t overly expositional, and despite being a sizeable 400 page book, it was paced well so it felt shorter. I’m almost disappointed that the events of the book were wrapped up in one, I’d have loved more of these characters, but the world feels immense enough to support more books within it, even if the focus needs to be on different characters. It was nice to see such a vast world represented in a standalone novel, it didn’t feel like the author compromised on world building, magic systems or character development at any point. I really appreciated the battle scene build up too, it was well thought out, layered and not rushed like a lot of books.
The queer found family we didn’t know we needed. This delicious dark fantasy has everything, hot princesses, blood magic, a guardian from the underworld, all the LGBTQ+ rep you could ever ask for.
This book is dark, decadent, and you definitely need to read it.
In The Ravenous Dark will be published on May 18th, and is available from your local independent bookstore!