This is a great contemporary fantasy YA book which reminded me of the early 2000’s teen movies I adored complete with a witchy twist. The Ravens was my first time reading either Kass Morgan or Danielle Paige, but I’m sure it will not be my last as they both made this book fun and easy to consume.
The Ravens brings us a split POV with chapters alternating between Vivi Deveraux, an undiscovered witch, and college freshmen looking to break out from her uncontrollable life where she has never been able to put down roots; and Scarlett Winters a college junior and established witch who is looking to get everything she has dreamed of. Both are thrown together in Kappa Rho Nu, which may appear to be just a sorority from the outside, but is actually a coven that produces some of the most elite witches.
Vivi and Scarlett are oil and water – not only in personality but in upbringing as well. Vivi is rather awkward and unassuming, raised by a single mother who read fortunes for a living and was known to pick up and move herself and Vivi to a new state without warning. Because of this, Vivi has no strong connections and struggles to fit in. Vivi’s powers remain untapped and unseen prior to her initiation into Kappa Rho Nu.
On the other hand, Scarlett is a legacy Kappa Rho Nu following in the steps of her mother and sister. She is beautiful, outspoken, ambitious, and established within her sisterhood. Additionally has a very strong bond with the other girls in Kappa Rho Nu, and is very sure in herself, her powers, her future, and of course her boyfriend, Mason. But she’s harboring a massive secret – that could end her life and the life of her sisters.
The central theme of this book is sisterhood, which I find incredibly refreshing. While I feel like a lot of my reads centralize the romance, it is very rare for a YA fantasy book to focus on women’s relationships together in a platonic fashion. I felt like The Ravens captures the struggles and triumphs of women’s friendships and the nuances that come along with it in a very real way. For example, while we start off seeing Vivi as an outsider trying to find her place and Scarlett as a stereotypical “mean girl” who has everything a la Regina George, we get to see the relationship transform into a friendship the more common ground they find between them. Each woman sheds their previous identity the more they get to know each other, much as we do in real-world relationships.
While the theme of the book is undoubtedly sisterhood, that does not mean there is no romance. Unfortunately, the romances were one of the least enjoyable things in the book as they were rather flat. Neither of the boys really stood out as memorable, and Mason becomes a central conflict between Vivi and Scarlett. I do hope we get to see a little more growth in the romantic relationships in book two.
Finally, while tropes are not inherently bad, the climax of the book centralizes around the “miscommunication” trope. Personally, this is a trope that is frustrating to me as usually the conflict could be completely avoided if the characters would choose to communicate with eachother. While in this case, the conflict would not have been totally avoided by talking, it could have been handled quite differently with some adequate communication between characters.
Personally, I think this book would be a great fit for younger readers in or around high school age. It does read like a YA book (which is not a slight to the authors – this is what it was written to be) and there is very little spice in the book. Regardless, I very much enjoyed reading it and will be anticipating The Monarchs release in 2022!