Book Review: Raven by Suzy Turner

I have to confess right up front that I have never been a fan of Stephanie Myers’ Twilight books.    I remember that someone donated them to the library and I was actually shocked when the YA librarian put bar codes on them and put them into circulation.   It was the the only time I  have ever seen the library accept  a gift into the collection  (rather than putting it towards the Friends of the Library’s used book sale,  which raises money, some of which is used to buy new books of the librarians’ selection).    So when Suzy Turner approached me about Raven,  the first volume in her new fantasty series about a teen aged girl named Lilly who is a changling, I was little hesitant.  I’m not generally a fan of   “horror and fantasy”.    While I have of course liked some novels by say Anne Rice or Steven King,   I can’t say that I liked all of either of those authors’ total ouvere.    So the fact that it was a novel about teen-aged vampires was not initially a big point in its favor.   But I liked Suzy so I accepted the book and eventually I got around to reading it.    And I really loved it as a matter of fact.

I learned that the heroine Lilly has the ability to become a fully grown black mountain lion, while retaining her personality and memories.   Indeed once she discovers and learns to use her powers,  she can switch at will.  The thing about a book that deals in witches, werewolves, changelings, vampires  and other similar creatures is that you would expect for it to have some foreign or surreal quality.   But Raven simply doesn’t.    At first poor Lilly’s life seems merely boring and pointless,  as her remote un-loving mother keeps her locked in her small, plain bedroom for all the hours except for those she is at school.   The reader is pleased when Lilly makes a friend at her school,  and observe Lilly’s surprise one day as her mother and father disappear from the London apartment where she has grown up.    Their disappearance,  which will take much of the novel to be fully resolved sends Lilly half way around the world where she learns that she is a long lost member of the Canadian Tulugaq clan– an old family of many different changelings and vampires.      Lilly is welcomed with open arms by the large family she never knew she had in rural northwest British Columbia.      Turner does a wonderful job of portraying Lilly’s transformation from an incredibly sheltered and naive young girl  to a modern teenager,  comfortable in the world of e-mail and cell phones.

Turners’ depiction of a  world of changelings and vampires is very, very believable and skillfully set against the very scenic  backdrop of Canada’s beautiful Pacific Northwest coast.     The reader can really see the very beautiful oceanfront vistas,  in the depth of a Canadian winter and into the spring.      I found Raven very much engaging and read the entire novel in less than twenty four hours.   I find myself anxiously awaiting Turner’s release of the second volume in the series,  and very much hoping that I will get to review it whenever it becomes available.   If you enjoy well written Young Adult fiction,  Raven by Suzy Turner is Very Highly Recommended.

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