Continue below to read my review of the book and be sure to check out the rest of the stops on 'The Raven' blog tour brought to you by Random Things Tours, Flame Tree Press, and Jonathan Janz! The complete schedule can be found at the end of the review!
'The Raven' by Jonathan Janz is a gritty, post-apocalyptic story that follows the path of Dez McClane.
Considered a Latent, in the days after the event some call The Shift, he's a man with no special abilities trying to survive in a world full of mythological monsters.
Having believed mankind to be barreling toward the ultimate nuclear stand-off which would result in human extinction, a group of geneticists discover that werewolves, vampires, witches, satyrs, and many other creatures of legend.. really were once real. Additionally, they realize the genetic strands for these creatures are still present in human DNA, lying dormant.. and hatch a plan to trigger their re-emergence into the world.
Picking up about 2 years after the scientists make their move, the opening pages explain that the event has resulted in the deaths of most humans anyway and the transformation of others into nightmarish monsters of lore.
Janz has written a well-paced horror novel with plenty of page-turning action. From the get go, Dez's situation is dire and it really never lets up. He's survived, but lost a lot along the way. Not just those he loves, but also any real sense of self-worth due to the guilt he carries and the notion their deaths were his failures.
Despite the every human for themselves circumstance, he manages to be pragmatic.. while not really giving up hope. Constantly on the move, both to avoid predators and in search of someone he's determined to help, he runs across some of the nastiest antagonists you can imagine. Not all of whom are what one might expect.
Though the journey is mostly that of a lone wolf type character and the monsters far more varied, both genetically and psychologically, the story feels heavily inspired by The Walking Dead. Likely, if you enjoyed either the comics or the tv series, you'll also enjoy this.
It boasts a broad base of supporting characters strewn throughout the story.. some I liked and some I didn't. The author did a fantastic job of picking and choosing those for me, as some of the worst felt absolutely unredeemable, and some of the best.. still gave me conflict in many cases. Enough so, that I.. like the protagonist.. found myself scrutinizing even those who seemed to have good intentions.
All in all, it's a very fun read. The world is a brutal one, so if you're bothered by gore or references to intimate violence, you might steer clear. Otherwise, it's worth a read.
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than fifteen novels and numerous shorter works.
Since debuting in 2012, Jonathan’s work has been lauded by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, The Library Journal, and many others.
He lives in WestLafayette, Indiana, with his amazing wife and three incredible children.