Sunday, May 19, 2019

#Review - The Raven's Tale by Cat Winters #YALIT #Paranormal #Occult

Series: Standalone
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Abrams
Source: Publisher
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural

Everyone knows Edgar Allan Poe—now it’s time to meet the Muse who inspired him.

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!”

"Silence your muses!" lest they lead you into temptation and keep you from pursuing an honest, hardworking, upright life.

Cat Winters' The Raven's Tale is a re-imaging of Edgar Allan Poe's early life. The Raven's Tale is dripping in mood and the macabre. The year is 1826, Edgar Poe is struggling with his foster father who took him in after his own mother died. As he is sitting in a church under which 72 people were buried after a horrible fire in 1811, he sees a girl dressed in soot and black feathers. She tells Edgar that she's no longer satisfied with mere crumbs of his attention. She tells Edgar that "I Want More Words." Thus is the first meeting between Edgar and his muse that he names Lenore.

But, Edgar has other issues to deal with as well. He is a week away from going to the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, but his "father" is threatening to withhold all financial responsibility unless he puts away his muse, and forgets about writing his dark poems that have caused a bit of consternation in his home of Richmond. It also precludes him from asking the girl he loves to marry him openly. As Eddie arrives at university, where he hopes to achieve greatness through his poetry, his financial situation becomes dire and he's forced into debt and out of control gambling in a futile attempt to pay for his fees. 

It is fair to say that Poe sank heavily into his obsessions with his art, and if we didn't know that his friends and family are all able to see his muses as well, we might think he'd tumbled into madness. This story contains dual POV's from Edgar and Lenore. Muses are supposed to be a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist. In this world, muses are real, physical beings, and they're considered corrupt and dangerous by polite society. In Lenore's case, she has a mind, a desire, and a goal of becoming much, much more.  

The author did a remarkable job in researching who Edgar Allan Poe really was, especially in the early days of his life when he is struggling to get noticed. Also, I give props to the author for also including a bit of her own Poe-esque poetry in several of the chapters, while also mingling in real Poe works throughout the book. I think it's fair to say that most of us have read one of Poe's books, or his poetry, but really understand who he was as a young adult was truly a wild ride. Melding both Edgar and Lenore's tales together made things a bit more twisted, and yes, dark as well.

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