I’ve been eager to read this book since I first heard about it, and when I found out it was going to be the April 2021 Illumicrate book I was beyond excited! This is a fast paced book about magic, undead spirits bound to those with magic, and everyone is queer af. This is technically “young adult” but I would consider it “upper” YA or even adult, as there is death, violence, gore, blood, sex, cursing, etc – not for the faint of heart.
Title: In The Ravenous Dark
Author: A.M. Strickland
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, LGBTQ+
In this Greco-Roman inspired world, there are those who posses magic which is wielded using blood. To keep them in check, bloodmages are assigned an undead guardian. I’ll admit I was weary of this “undead” guardian thing, as I cannot stand anything to do with zombies – I’m pleased to report this is nothing like zombies and it didn’t bother me!
There is a lot of information, places, and names given early on in this story, and it was a little confusing at first but I quickly caught on after a few chapters. There are a lot of characters and bloodlines to keep straight, but it all comes together. The world building is beautiful.
When Rovan’s father is killed in front of her eyes as a child, she vows to never let anyone know she too is a bloodmage, and to never use her power in front of anyone. That goes well for her until she’s nineteen and uses her power to save the girl she has slept with from falling to her death and reveals her power for all to see.
She is taken to the palace and assigned a spirit guardian to protect her – but she’s a rebel and doesn’t want any part of this world. What unfolds is a dark fantasy full of blood magic, death, queer romance in a world nobody minds if you’re queer (as long as you don’t mess with the bloodlines, aka you have an heir and continue your line), a non-binary major supporting character, and queer found family.
Rovan is a powerful bloodmage who is illiterate, but can still work the handful of sigils she learned as a child. She’s bold and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her – she is her own person and I love her boldness. She identifies as pansexual, although the term is never officially used on page – she loves who she loves.
Japha is one of my favorites and I wish we saw them more – they are non-binary and they are accepted as such in this world. They/them pronouns are used throughout the story, including by their father. Japha is the best friend everyone should hope to have – or aspire to be.
Lydea is the princess who fights her role as a princess only needed to produce an heir and pass on her bloodline – the literal lines on her body with contain magic passed on from parent to child. She’s also very much into Rovan – in *that* way.
Lastly we have Ivrilos, Rovan’s spririt guardian only she can see and speak with, and he’s bound to protect her and stop her from doing anything rash, such as, trying to burn down the palace. She doesn’t trust him, despite being bound together.
I love that In The Ravenous Dark features a polyamorous m/f/f relationship – I don’t see that often enough in books, especially YA, and that’s one of the main things that drew me to this story. Since I have little experience reading it, I didn’t know what exactly to expect. It was a little underwhelming to be honest, but I’m still glad it was acknowledged and that it happened.
This book is incredibly fast paced and I wish it was a duology – there is enough information and world building that this story could have benefited from more space! But I’m also a big fan of standalones, so I’m not too upset.
There were twists and turns I didn’t see coming throughout this story and it kept me alert at all times – my review only touches the surface. If you’re a fan of supernatural beings and magic, this is the story for you!
I was able to grab this audiobook from Netgalley and I’m really glad I did! I’m not a huge fan of Netgalley’s audio arcs, but I was able to tolerate it for this. I enjoyed the narrator a lot and being able to hear the words and names spoke. (So yeah, spelling names for this review was a STRUGGLE!) Audiobook problems: Saying names/places/etc, easy. Spelling? WHO KNOWS!
I stayed on 2x speed for this one because there was a lot of information being thrown at you, I needed to take it all in.
If you’re looking for a dark fantasy story, look no further! If you enjoy magic, and blood magic, and some death in your story, along with other supernatural elements such as spirits, check this one out. It has a little bit of a lot of supernatural elements and I enjoyed the journey of this story. My only wish is that it were longer!
6 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: ‘In The Ravenous Dark’”
I’ve heard so much hype for this book, so it’s been great to read your review and see how it holds up to the anticipation!
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Thanks for reading! Yes this one does live up to the anticipation and I’m so happy about that. Hope you enjoy it as well~
Now I’m eager to read the authors previous book too, Beyond The Black Door!
I do love a dark fantasy so I’ll check this out, fab review, thanks 😊
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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did~
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