Title: The Raven’s Tale
Author: Cat Winters
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see breakdown below)
I received a free eARC copy from Amulet books/ Abrams kids, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”
This may be one of the most imaginative book I have read this year. It was so creative in melting the documented events of the teenage life of Edgar Allen Poe with the fantastical macabre elements that so perfectly capture the haunting cadence of Poe’s works. It seemlessly combines stanzas from various of Poes work, poets that clearly inspired Poe and even new works within Poe’s stylistic fashion.
I honestly don’t want to discuss the plot or the characters too much as there was something so delicious about with way the fantastical elements were introduced to the narrative of Poes life, that I don’t want to give spoilers. I think it is very much a book that people should go into blind and just let the tale be revealed to them. Both elements merge so seemlessly into the story that I forgot that this had its roots within the life story of Edgar Allen Poe. His tale itself is interesting but the fantasy introduced here just catupred my imagination. The story is told over two perspectives. 17 year old Edgar, charts his young life as he attends university and attempts to write his poetry despite the disapproval of his adoptive father. We also get the perspective of Lanore, Poe’s peculiar and almost frightening Muse that he accedentially counjours late one evening. Lanore allows us to explore the darker side of Poe and what may have influenced his tales of the macabre. These two distinct narratives weave between each other linking the real to the magical and creating a fantastic and absorbing story.
I don’t think readers would need to know the work of Poe to be able to enjoy this book. A familiarity with Tamerlane and The Raven may help with some of the visual aspects within the book but I don’t think it is necessary. What is particularly nice is that an authors letter including research, resources and bibliography adds even more to the story showing how true to Poe’s life the plot stayed while adding in the mystical muses.
Overall I really enjoyed this tale. The writing was beautiful and the plot was strong, with a fantastic and original ending. It’s definately a book to curl up with on a dark dreary night – maybe near midnight on a bleak night in December- and just devour this story.