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The Raven Queen by Jules Watson
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The Raven Queen

by Jules Watson

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Jules Watson offers an energetic epic centered around Irish mythology and the legend of Maeve, the raven queen. I must confess, this is the first I have heard of this story but druids and Celtic lore will seize me every time. Watson is a skillful storyteller and I was lured into the land of Erin right away. There is a huge cast of characters and fortunately the author includes a pronunciation guide and key to who’s who. I always find it difficult to move through a story when their are names I can’t pronounce or need a reminder of their relationships and associations. This did cause a labored beginning to the story, somewhat like I feel when reading books by Terri Brooks. Without faulting the author, this just is what it is and makes for difficult reading at first.
Once you get over the initial stumbling over ancient unfamiliar names, this story takes off.
Maeve is fearless and fiery, bold and beautiful all at the same time. A woman all men love, yet fear at the same time. The power and strength of Maeve as she tries prove her worth in a world surrounded by men is universally recognizable and all women can relate to this character at some point. Watson forms her image of Maeve from legends of record, that describe her as a callous, sexually intoxicating warrior and queen with a bit of goddess too. In The Raven Queen, Maeve has obvious flaws and makes mistakes that keep her real and identifiable but understandable as she is so often objectified. Ruan, the blind druid is the only male with the sensitivity and sight to reach her true soul. It is this part of the story I find so mystically appealing. I felt the middle of the story was somewhat tiresome heavy with battle images especially the one on one battle challenges with Cuchulainn, the King of the Ulaid’s protector. Although the ultimate challenge between best friends Ferdia and Cuchulainn was woeful and provided a pitifully sobbing repose, an outstanding scene. I had a hard time identifying with the sacrifice in the name of honor that this fight profiled, even though it is a common theme in Celtic myth and history in general.
If you are a fan of Celtic Mythology you will want to read The Raven Queen. ( )
  WisteriaLeigh | Mar 2, 2011 |
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