Book Review: Raven Unveiled by Grace Draven

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Raven Unveiled by Grace Draven

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

Series: Book 3 of Fallen Empire

Publisher: Ace Books (November 8, 2022)

Length: 336 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Raven Unveiled is the third book set in the Fallen Empire series by Grace Draven which takes place in the same world as Phoenix Unbound and Dragon Unleashed but follows a new set of characters and can be read as a standalone. Like the previous novels, this one is also a fantasy romance, this time focusing on Siora and Gharek. The former used to work in the latter’s household, caring for his young daughter Estred. Then Siora betrayed Gharek, forcing her to go on the run while he pursues her across the Kraelian empire. When the mad empress was still alive, Gharek was her cat’s-paw and right-hand man, but now he is a fugitive left with nothing but a burning vengeance to see Siora captured and punished for what she did to him.

Siora had her own reasons for betrayal, but she also is no stranger to being hunted. A shade speaker, she was born with the ability to commune with the dead and lately her spirits have been restless, warning her of a spectral predator that has been feeding on souls. With the ongoing war having claimed an untold number of lives, this monster has been gorging itself, growing stronger the more it consumes, threatening the very framework of both the mortal and ghostly realms. With all this hanging over Siora’s head, Gharek is the least of her troubles, though when the former assassin eventually catches up with her, the two find they have a common enemy and a common goal.

While I absolutely adored the first two installments in the series, sadly I can’t say I felt the same love for Raven Unveiled. To be fair, this wasn’t a bad book, but I know exactly why this one failed to enthuse me like the others did, and it comes down to the complete lack of chemistry between Siora and Gharek. Not gonna lie, it was a bit of a surprise for me, since Draven is usually pretty dependable when it comes to her romance writing. It could be as simple as being burned out by her “enemies to lovers” stories, as that’s generally the foundation for her books. Siora and Gharek’s relationship offered nothing truly exciting or surprising, and all the tension that was built up from him trying to kill her at the beginning was dispelled rather quickly whey they just decided to work together with hardly any pushback.

The story was also very dark, which you won’t normally find me complaining about. In this case, however, it does come at the expense of the romance. More plot-heavy than the other books, Raven Unveiled tells a good story, with characters who have interesting backgrounds, strong motivations, and very real problems to deal with. Neither Siora and Gharek can really catch a break with so much on their plates, yet we’re to believe the two of them still have the mental strength and energy to pursue a romance? It’s no wonder the interaction between them seemed strained, which overall made their relationship feel unconvincing to me.

That being said, the storytelling was strong, as I alluded to before. The world-building was also superb, introducing the element of Siora’s shade speaking abilities and the magic involved with it. And while reading the first two volumes isn’t a requirement, there are benefits for readers who have. Since all the books share the same world, we get to watch as it evolves and changes around the different protagonists—effects which are more often than not from the consequences of their predecessors’ actions.

Bottom line, Dragon Unveiled wasn’t the strongest of the books in Fallen Empire, not by a long shot. Still, I’d recommend it if you’ve become invested in the overall series or the setting and are curious to see how the wider story arc is developing. I’m mostly in this camp myself, though I’m also a big fan of Grace Draven’s work, and if she writes more in this series, I just hope the next romance will be more in line with my expectations.

More on The BiblioSantum:
Review of Phoenix Unbound (Book 1)
Review of Dragon Unleashed (Book 2)

15 Comments on “Book Review: Raven Unveiled by Grace Draven”

  1. Pingback: BOOKISH SMASH OR PASS BOOK TAG | BIRDIE'S BOOK NOOK

  2. I actually ended up DNFing the ARC I had of this one. I just could not get into it. Something about the chemistry between the characters just didn’t click, and I didn’t want to waste my time waiting for it to get there. Great review.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Bookshelf Roundup 12/11/22: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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