About the Book:
Title: The Raven and the Rush
Author: Sarah M. Cradit
Series: The Book of All Things #1
Publication Date: Dec. 14, 2021
Synopsis: One raven. One boy. One destiny.
From the USA Today and International Bestselling Author of Kingdom of the White Sea comes a new series set in the same vibrant world: The Book of All Things. Escape into this story of destiny and forbidden love weaving together a fate bigger than man, bigger than magic.
Evrathedyn Blackrook whiles his days away at university, blissfully oblivious to the horrors afflicting his homeland. He escapes into dusty books, content as a second son.
Rhosynora Ravenwood spends her sleepless nights fantasizing of ways to escape her icy, suffocating dynasty. To flee her birthright is to invite a traitor’s penance. To stay is another kind of death.
But time and fate have a way of mending all mistakes.
Evra soon finds himself the new Lord Blackrook. His inheritance is a plague-ridden land, the pyres from his late father’s campaign against magic still smoldering.
His realm’s future in the balance, he travels beyond his borders to a remote northern hamlet, where he meets Rhosyn. The spark between them is immediate; the suspicion even stronger. In Rhosyn, Evra sees her rare magic as the perfect answer to his troubles. In Evra, Rhosyn sees everything wrong with the depraved world of men.
But Evra is out of options. And Rhosyn is out of time.
As they resist the undeniable, forbidden bond growing between them, Evra’s dawning horror of Rhosyn’s fate brings him to an impossible choice.
His home, or her?
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The most important things happen when we do more than what we must.
From the moment I saw this stunning cover and read the synopsis, I was super curious about The Raven and the Rush, which is the first book in The Book of All Things series. Needless to say, I was beyond excited to receive an advanced copy of the book. The story follows Rhosynora Ravenwood, a young woman about to become the High Priestess of her kingdom, and Evrathedyn Blackrook, a second son forced to return home and fulfill a destiny he never wanted.
Rhosyn’s story is complicated, disturbing, and a bit heartbreaking. Bound by duty to her family and kingdom, Rhosyn feels helpless in escaping her future. Rhosyn doesn’t have much autonomy in her life, and her future as High Priestess is bleak. She knows that her life is in jeopardy, and she realizes how horrific it will be when she gains this role.
We all have our burdens, raven. It’s not about finding a means to be free of them. It’s about how well we can adapt to living in a cage.
I like how Rhosyn finds solace and peace during her visits with the Frost family, which is also where she meets Evra. It feels like with the Frosts’, Rhosyn can be herself and let her guard down, which she doesn’t get to do when she is home. The Frost’s treat her more like family than her own family does, and their love, warmth, and caring stand in sharp contrast to Rhosyn’s mother and malicious brother.
Evra’s journey is also pretty amazing. A young man who wants to be a scholar, Evra is unwillingly thrust into the role of leader. Not prepared to rule his kingdom, which is plagued and in upheaval, Evra travels to find a Raven to aid him. This is when he meets Rhosyn at the Frosts. Evra makes a couple of really big, seemingly unforgivable mistakes, but everything he does is out of love and a desperate need to help and protect. I like how Evra realizes that sometimes strength lies in allowing others to make their own decisions, and sometimes it is important to fight beside someone and not for someone.
In a world ruled by men, it had been the women he’d taken his wisdom from. The women who understood what must be done, even if they possessed nothing greater than the desire for change.
Evra is tested so much throughout the story, and he shows such growth and astuteness. He also, unlike many men in his kingdom, places women in high esteem, which I loved. Women have been so influential in his life, and he treats them like the equals they should be. It’s a huge change in his world and something he is judged for, but Evra proves strong in his convictions.
Evra and Rhosyn have a complicated romance filled with so many obstacles. Obligations to their kingdoms, personal choices, lies, betrayal, malicious antagonists, and more get in the way of their blossoming relationship, but their feelings for each other are not fleeting. Both characters go on a personal journey and have to figure out who they are, what they stand for, and who they want standing with them. Their relationship is a bit insta-lovey, but considering everything each is going through, it makes sense that they find comfort and love in each other. Both learn what it feels like to love someone unconditionally, and they both sacrifice a lot for each other, which is really powerful. The lengths Evra goes to show Rhosyn how he feels later in the story, even knowing he’ll probably die doing it, is pretty amazing.
Rhosyn’s smile decimated all the dark thoughts preceding her arrival. He could live in that smile, die in it; be resurrected, over and over again, and never now he’d been anything but hopelessly alive.
Overall, I thought this was a strong start to the series, and I’m pretty sure each book in the series is a standalone. I’m curious to read the next book and find out more about this unique, fantastical world and the beings who inhabit it. I would recommend this book to readers that enjoy darker NA fantasy and would recommend you check out the content warnings before reading it. There are elements that could be triggers for some readers.
- The romance.
- The messages.
- The character development and growth.
Thoughts were dangerous. Words were worse.
Do the reasons matter when the outcome is the same?
Just as midwinter will eventually fade into springtide, so the season of our youth passes. There are only two choices from here. To collapse under the weight of it, or to soar in the promise.
What was fate but an excuse to fail? A justification for doing what you’ve always done. A reason against change for the better.
There’s never been a more dangerous man than the one who finds himself the fool.
It was easier to believe he had no choice than to make one.
I would definitely recommend you check the content warnings before you start this book. There are some parts which could definitely trigger readers and include violence, abuse, incest, death, and more.