[REVIEW] The Raven – by Jonathan Janz

Coming September 8, 2020

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Despite my so-so experience with Witching Hour Theatre – one of Janz’s older novelettes – I’ve continued to purchase Jonathan Janz novels from Flame Tree Press in the past year. Now with my ARC of The Raven, I think I own them all now (alongside some e-book versions of titles not available from FTP). The reason I point this out is because I had not yet read any of Janz’s novels prior to this new one – his reputation was just so good that I’ve bought up his books whenever there was a sale. As for The Raven, this title was revealed to reviewers quite a while back (was it 2019?), so its hype has been building for a long time now. Luckily, the novel holds up to the expectations we were given via early praise. 

Dez (aka the Raven) is looking for a venomous character that sells poor souls to vampires and other monsters. Why? Because his love was kidnapped during an attack some months earlier, and it’s taken until now for Dez to track down the whereabouts of the Four Winds (a bar owned by the villain he seeks). This all takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in which nearly everyone is a monster. There are werewolves, vampires, psychics, telekinetics, cannibals, and more to be met and fought. I wasn’t crazy about the premise, to be honest, but I ended up loving it. And I think that’s mostly thanks to Janz’s skill; he’s created a unique, yet familiar world here that feels founded in dark fantasy (coupled with a love for old horror movies). Better yet, he does a great job with making said world easily accessible and exciting throughout.

Seeing as this was my first Janz novel, I can say I enjoyed it enough that I’m damn glad to have bought so many of his releases in the past year. Now I have a large stack of his work at the ready for the next time I can carve out some free time for a book I have not been assigned for review. The Raven is an exciting page-turner worthy of adventure and horror fans. Just be aware that this is apparently a series – The Raven ends on a cliffhanger. The journey will continue!

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