I’ve long been a fan of science fiction and fantasy, but it always intrigues me how these authors were able to dream up such vivid landscapes and worlds so different from our own. Deep down, I’ve always had a secret hope that it means one day I’ll be able to figure out the secret and write my own awesome scifi/fantasy novel. But ok, I’m not holding my breath and I wouldn’t recommend that you do either! Regardless of my cluelessness, there are some awesome authors out there who make it look easy. Irina Lopatina is definitely on of those authors. White Raven by Irina Lopatina is set in the amazing but troubled world of Areya, with neat illustrations to give life to the characters, and a story that leaves you riveted.
Areya is a fascinating country that is populated by an astonishing assortment of creatures like the natural magi drevalyankas that are like little foxes, but green. In the beginning, there are some not so good creatures like pikshas, which are predatory natural magi that are similar to large cats but have big teeth. The pikshas and other predatory forest creatures all have a weakness that allows the forest traveler to keep safe – eventually. Throughout the book, we learn that there is an evil plaguing the world of Areya, and there are hideous monsters that are attacking the human settlements and forests in Areya. The beautiful and wonderful world of Areya is also filled with an unsettling dark spot that is growing.
The story and setting of the book are fabulous, but my favorite part is way in the back. As I was reading along to some of the character descriptions, I really wished that I could see this on TV or on a movie or something – I wasn’t sure I was really picturing in my mind what the author was describing. So I was super excited to find a character guide at the end of the book. It might not seem like much to most people, but the illustrator is immensely talented, and the illustrations truly let you see into the world of Areya. I also like some of the explanations that are in the character guide. For instance, I didn’t get that the voevode was a commander, but in Baday’s description, it clearly states that voevode is a commander! Genius!
After an incredible setting, illustrations that help me to match the picture in my imagination to the one the author is trying to convey, what’s left to take a book from the ordinary pile to the magical pile? It’s the story, the adventure, the soul of the book! Luckily for us, Irina Lopatina did not shirk her duty in this sense – the story and adventure of Vraigo and Nik is fantastic. Not only did I feel drawn into the story (I even stayed up late to read it!), but I can’t wait to read MORE of the story. If I were to compare this work to another, I would say it is on the caliber of PC Cast, one of my all-time favorite authors.
This book is a very fun read. I always enjoy when I can lose myself in a different world, a different time, or a different society, and this book definitely brings it. Whether you’re digging into it poolside or in the comforting crisp coolness of the AC this hot, hot summer (at least in Indiana!), I think this one will definitely be a crowd pleaser. Anyone ready for some midnight showings? Instead of Vulcans, we’ll have fans dressed as Bolugs! Even if it’s never made into a movie, it’s an excellent story and it’s easy to find yourself immersed. White Raven by Irina Lopatina is intriguing, well-complemented by illustrations in the character guide, and brings to life a whole new world.
SPECIAL PROMOTION: You can now purchase White Raven from Light Messages for $12 (regularly priced ($16.95), and when you do, you will also receive a personalized, signed postcard from Irina Lopatina. Postcards feature landscapes from Altei, Siberia, which is the inspiration for White Raven’s Kingdom of Areya. This promotion will be available for the next 14 days until August 13, 2012. Click here for the promotion.
BOOK PLATE OFFER: Take and send in a picture of YOU with your copy of White Raven (book or ebook), and Irina Lopatina will send you a personalized, signed book plate for the front of your book. To submit your photo, click here and use the Contact link.
White Raven is on tour with TLC Book Tours, and I had the honor of being the first tour stop! In the coming days, check out the reviews from these other tour hosts:
- Coming on August 1 – Pieces of Fate
- Coming on August 2 – Books Without Any Pictures
- Coming on August 3 – Geek Banter
Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher to facilitate my review. My opinions are honest and my own.