Tag Archives: Cat Winters

Book Review: The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters

Amulet Books
TBP: April 16, 2019
368 Pages

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!”-Goodreads

Let’s take a moment to admire this beautiful cover.  It is so far one of the best covers for 2019 ( and we are only in January).

This book is considered a retelling. And I believe the retelling is of Edgar Allan Poe and how/why he dipped into poetry when he did and of course his most famous poem The Raven. 

This book although not written in verse is poetry. The words are drawn out and written in a way as if they were poems. This proved to be an issue for me because it stretched the book out way longer than it needed to be.

Creativity was no lacking in this book. Poe’s muse Lenore proved to be just as creepy as some of Poe’s stories. And at one point I felt bad for her but then just like Poe, she did not listen to anyone and proceeded to insert herself into a world that did not want her.

The thing about Lenore is her presence was unwelcome because of how she looked and every time she opened her mouth. She cared for nothing but the poetry, which fed her and it took way too long for her to actually care about Poe. I loved reading Lenore’s point of view. She was the essence of the book because Poe was an annoying 17 year old boy who wanted the perks of an adult but didn’t want to be an adult.

I wanted to like this book. Edgar Allan Poe helped define my initial love of reading but this made me look at Poe as more of a brat than a talented author that preferred the dark side.

The book would have been better if it was written in verse. The way it was written, you can tell the author put a lot of thought and care into each sentence. It was beautiful but for a chapter book, not enough was actually going on and it didn’t leave a lot of anything for me to feel invested in the overall story.

However, I did complete it and it was an alright story. I strongly believe it would have been better if it was written as verse.

2 Pickles

Book Review: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

It is 1918 and the world is at war with the Germans and the Spanish

        Amulet Books  Published April 2, 2013             387 Pages
Amulet Books
Published April 2, 2013
387 Pages

Influenza is killing everyone that was shipped in the draft. Mary Shelley Black, named after the author Mary Shelley, is sent to stay with her Aunt in San Diego, California while her father awaits a trial for his crimes regarding the war.

In San Diego, Mary watches as people go to spirit photographers in search of seeing their deceased loved ones one more time. Mary doesn’t believe in ghost even though she has a photograph with one. She doesn’t begin to believe until the ghost of the boy she loves shows in one of her photographs.

Unable to shake the fact that something is completely wrong, Mary begins to ask questions to find out what really happened to her beloved.

I couldn’t stand Mary. She was a brat and for most of the book she was rude to her Aunt. She wasn’t rude to her because she was living with her but she was rude because she was rude. Mary had an odd sense of entitlement and I really have no idea where that came from.

Despite Mary, the story itself was very creative and a really good read. There wasn’t much suspense in the book; danger wasn’t lurking at every corner. However, Winters made me want to keep reading not because I wanted to crap on the book but because I wanted to know what happened to Mary’s love. Is Mary crazy? Is Stephen still alive? The author left a lot of questions in a good way. Winters wrote the book so well that I am giving her a pass on Mary.

I also enjoyed the history in the book which includes photographs from that time period.  You don’t get too much regarding the war because yes it is what causes pretty much everything but the book is not about the war. It isn’t even completely about the flu going around  the point of this book is Mary lost the man that she loves but he cannot rest and she needs to know why.

The ending of the book was enjoyable and surprisingly enough not as predictable as I suspected. There was a big decision that needed to be made and Mary didn’t take it, which I thought was very interesting.

Overall the book gets 8 out of 10. If the story poorly written then it wouldn’t have gotten the grade that got.