The Raven Tower

The Raven Tower

Book - 2019
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Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this masterful first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

"Absolutely wonderful. . .utterly brilliant." -- The New York Times Book Review

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven.

He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven's Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained by the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven's watch, the city flourishes.

But the Raven's tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself. . .and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.
"It's a delight to read something so different, so wonderful and strange." -- Patrick Rothfuss

For more Ann Leckie, check out: Ancillary Justice Ancillary Sword Ancillary Mercy
Publisher: New York :, Orbit,, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316388696
Branch Call Number: SF LEC
Characteristics: 416 pages :,illustrations, map ;,25 cm


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Mar 18, 2021


Nov 28, 2020

Two stars, and I gave up after 115 pages. Author set up an interesting word and narrator, but follows up (to the point I've read) with no action and very little plot.

FPL_Annie Nov 07, 2020

Did you read Hamlet and think, "That was cool but there wasn't enough weird magic worldbuilding"? Then this is the book for you!

Sep 25, 2020

Recommended by Tor - Sarah Waites

Jan 23, 2020

Notable for: being written in the second person; exploring the relationships between (and limits of) language, truth, power, and devotion; lush and painterly prose; diverse characters. If you liked this book, check out Lord Dunsany's short story, "Where the Tides Ebb and Flow" for a narrative with the same sense of passing time and pathos.

Nov 18, 2019

This is a very rich world in which people co-exist with numerous deities ranging from minor local spirits to great gods. The narrator is one of these creatures and relates the story of its life from a hazy realization of its own existence geological ages ago to becoming the patron of a tribe. It then becomes embroiled in a war and human characters enter the tale, as observed by the godling. Raven Tower is quite an interesting story, but I can’t give it an entirely positive review because the tale of this godling ends somewhat abruptly, without resolving some aspects of the story, and the author has stated that this book will *not* receive a sequel or serve as the start a series. I’d still say the book is worth reading, though.

JessicaGma Jul 29, 2019

This won't appeal to everyone, as it's a slow burn of a novel where the point of view swaps between an "I" narrator and a you, which is the warrior Eolo, but if you stick with it, it's a nice taught tale of betrayal, mystery and gods. It was a very cool story.

Nicr Jul 08, 2019

"Here is a story that I have heard": Mawat, heir to the bench of Raven's Lease at Vastai (executor of the Raven of Iraden's rule), returns to Vastai to find his father missing and his uncle Hibal on the bench claiming Mawat's father has fled the fortress. A touch of Hamlet; a touch of Achilles, as Mawat sulks in his room while the fortress holds its collective breath. Especially interesting is the layered, second-person narrative--the speaker a god, the observer an aide to Mawat (addressed as "you" by the god).

May 25, 2019

A slow build with a great eye to world building detail. An interesting choice of narrator, a transgender character, and a hint of Hamlet. An enjoyable read.

forbesrachel May 22, 2019

In the city of Vastai lives the Raven god, and from his tower perch does he expand his influence through his own agreements with the people, and through that of his Lease, the human whose sacrifice empowers him. But now, the Lease has vanished, and an usurper sits where his rightful heir is supposed to be. This is what Mawat, and his aide, Eolo, discover upon reaching the city. But this is not their story, not exactly, it is the story of the god narrating to us.
Leckie uses a very uncommon narration style; the narrator is present, right their observing everything, but like a ghost. The god "speaks" to Eolo, referring to him as "you", while they are "I". It is a style that places us in the shoes of the narrator, almost as if we are getting front row seats. Because of this, the thoughts of the characters can only be inferred through this observation, as well as the knowledge that the god possesses of their past, and the general history.
Language has importance in this story. It is a way which we rely on to find out the truth, or tell lies, it is the way we share stories, and in this case, it is also how the gods communicate with the people, and form their powers. Leckie's writing itself, is carefully crafted, and successfully upholds this, especially in moments where the gods have to speak with consideration for what impact they might make. Keen readers will enjoy thinking about the meta side of all this.
Unlike traditional Fantasy, there is very little movement in this story, both in the sense of distance travelled, and what occurs in the present. Rather, the author draws on elements of the Historical and even Mystery genres, focusing on the long term repercussions, and the how and why that lead to this conclusion. Eolo acts as a pseudo detective, while Mawat, the more traditional heroic figure, sits on the sidelines for the most part. There is very little "action", and yet, it is just as engaging. The intrigue of the political machinations among the humans, and not to mention the gods whether between themselves or that of their followers, is absolutely fascinating. There is also the lingering question of the narrator's involvement. Hints are sprinkled throughout, but we only learn about it very slowly. Between the hooks of what happened to the Lease, how the god is involved, and why Eolo gets special attention from one usually indifferent, you can't help but read straight through.
The lack of action, and deliberate pace, also serves to support the central theme of patience. Victory can be achieved in ways other than heroics; an idea Fantasy rarely touches upon. This makes the book completely refreshing. Patience delivers a large payout for protagonists and readers alike in this incredibly impressive Fantasy first for Ann Leckie.

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