Book Review: The Raven Queen by: Jules Watson



Publish Date:
February 22, 2011

From Publisher for Review

Trade Paperback

Order From: 
Amazon / Barnes & Noble

In this dazzling retelling of one of Ireland's most stirring legends, acclaimed author Jules Watson brings to life the story of Maeve, the raven queen, who is as fierce as she is captivating.

She was born to be a pawn, used to secure her father's royal hold on his land. She was forced to advance his will through marriage - her own desires always thwarted. But free-spirited Maeve will no longer endure the schemes of her latest husband, Conor, the cunning ruler of Ulster. And when her father's death puts her homeland at the mercy of its greedy lords and Conor's forces, Maeve knows she must at last come into her own power to save it.

With secret skill and daring, Maeve proves herself the equal of any warrior on the battlefield. With intelligence and stealth, she learns the strategies - and sacrifices - of ruling a kingdom through treacherous alliances. And to draw on the dangerous magic of her country's oldest gods, Maeve seeks out the wandering druid Ruan, whose unexpected passion and strange connection to the worlds of spirit imperil everything Maeve thought true about herself - and put her at war with both her duty and her fate.

Review: Ms. Watson's The Raven Queen is a wonderfully unique reimagining of the life of Maeve of Connacht, the daughter and wife of kings. Intersecting with the story of Deirdre of the Sorrows (see Ms. Watson’s book, The Swan Maiden), Maeve of Connacht has escaped from her third husband, Conor Mac Nessa. Now he’s thrown off kilter as his wife (Maeve) and future wife (Deirdre) have both left him. Maeve goes back to Connacht in time to be with her father on his deathbed. She knows she has the skills to be a great ruler and “mother” to her people and land and she proves it in combat with her brother where she uses the tricks she’s kept up her sleeve for years. Through determination (and some luck), she's crowned as queen. But she also has many secrets – some that may come back to haunt her through the struggles that lay ahead for her people.

I enjoyed Maeve's story – she is a complex and unusual woman, someone who is out of place in her time, yet encompasses the whole spirit of her people. The detail and beauty of Celtic spirituality is breathtaking – I found the descriptions of the sidhe and those touched by the gods to be fascinating. Maeve's strength, yet vulnerability, shows that she has what it takes to be the Queen of Connacht. She must overcome her own past as a man's property and forge a new path for herself and her people. For anyone interested in and drawn to timeless Irish legend, this is the book for you! Open the cover and get lost in Maeve's world!

1 comment:

  1. I think I would love this one. I don't know much about Maeve's legend, but this does sounds fascinating.


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