by Lincoln Cole
‘Raven’s Peak’ begins with a Prologue in which we meet the character of Arthur, also known as the Reverend. He is engaged in some pretty brutal self-flagellation and reflection and we already get the sense that he is, or has been involved with supernatural forces. It’s a busy beginning, with quite a bit of comma overuse. He is subsequently busted out by the shadowy figure of Frieda and we become aware that there is an also equally shady Council which are in the background, and pulling strings.
It is a busy start and maybe the Prologue is over long but there are some good plot strands and I was intrigued to keep reading. The book then follows a fairly standard pattern and aside from reference, there is no more to be seen of Arthur, which disappointed me although I presume he runs through the other books in the series. I do think a revisit, if only to keep him at the forefront of the reader’s mind, would be prudent.
We are then in the world of Abigail, a Demon Hunter, who regards Arthur as her Father and has displeased the Council and also been subject to a demon inhabiting her body – there is a bit of time-jumping in the early stages of the novel which can bit a little confusing. Abigail teams up with Haatim, who seems the archetypal slacker who is taken along for the ride as she battles demons and the Council in her quest to find Arthur. However, this is not quite the case and I did find the jump from Haatim bumbling along to suddenly ‘remembering’ that he studied a module on Demonology and could recite ancient prayers in old and obsolete languages a little bit of a stretch. Suffice to say, there is lots of action and a few dark secrets along the way most of which is in, around or points to the town of ‘Raven’s Peak.’ There is also an ‘Interlude’section after Chapter 9, which I was not sure why was referred to as an interlude as it’s a group of characters and a narrative that just drives the story along and is some of the best writing in the book and could have been developed further.
I found the action scenes were pretty good, almost too fast-paced as you slightly lost where exactly you were and I do like to be able to place myself within a book. This is a good, easy holiday read, in my opinion. There are cliches, but this genre is normally littered with those. I just wished the characters were better realised and I think Arthur has potential, more than the others. I could not, for example, really find any defining characteristics between Frieda or Abigail other than their roles in the book. The ending was a disappointment although I did feel that the writer was struggling to wrap it up. Although this book forms the first of a series, it would have been better to have given it a definitive conclusion of its own rather than blatantly meander off, presumably into Book 2, which is not always fair on the reader. Even if you want to pick up the next book, you may not wish to do so straightaway.
On the whole, I quite enjoyed reading it; it was mild escapism and I did not have to think too hard – good, round the pool, easy, holiday reading. The narrative does bring some fresh twists to a hackneyed genre but the characters needed more definition and investment; they were too one-dimensional and I also agreed with a previous reviewer that thought this book should be aimed at YA – I would second that.
I read and reviewed this book through the 'Author Reviews Author' exchange on Online Book Club.