Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
The Ravens by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige – Book Details
TITLE – The Ravens
SERIES – The Ravens, book #1
AUTHOR – Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2020
PAGE COUNT – 394
MY RATING – 3 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 3.69 of 5
What It Is About
In the end, she was surprised at how easy it was. A slash and a shower of red, followed by the unmistakable electric crackle of magic bleeding into the air…
Magic that was now all hers.
Despite warnings from her mother, Vivi Deveraux sees enrolling in Westerly College as a dream came true. After all, her mother is not exactly the most trustworthy person, given she earns for living by scamming people with tarot reading and occult superstitions.
Even better – Vivi just received a bid to join the most exclusive sorority on the campus, Kappa Rho Nu. But the sisters have a secret – they are actual witches! A real coven of real witches who call themselves Ravens.
Now, Vivi is paired with Scarlett Winters, a daughter of a legacy Raven, to try and learn as much as she can about her powers and sisterhood. But Scarlett is hiding a huge secret. And someone seems to be out for revenge…
Themes and vibes:
- witches on campus
- a sorority that is actually a coven
- spells and rituals
- YA friendships and relationships
- strong (although predictable) mystery plot
- dark academia
- dual POV
The Ravens by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige – My Review
The world was much less random than she’d believed; there were invisible forces at work and hidden meanings everywhere if you looked.
As soon as someone mentioned there’s a book about witches who cover their coven under the pretense of a sorority, I knew I just had to check it out. I hoped to get some dark academia, and magic, and mystery, and sisterly bonds.
The Ravens by Kass Morgan & Danielle Paige was similar to so many other urban YA fantasies I’ve read over the years. Mostly in the sense that – I liked it more than it deserved and found myself enjoying it despite so many (so, so many) aspects of it that were just – bad.
The story alternates between two perspectives, Vivi Deveraux and Scarlett Winters.
Wicked magic. The words perfectly described what Vivi had felt in Scarlett’s room, the strange combination of menace and power, as if the air were full of thousands of invisible snakes waiting to strike.
Vivi had no idea she was actually a witch. She doesn’t quite fit into what you’d expect from an exclusive sorority of legacy girls, so she’s quite surprised when she gets an invitation to join them.
And, as someone who spent her life constantly on the move as soon as her superstitious mother would decide it was too dangerous to stay in the same place, Vivi wants nothing more than to belong.
Scarlet, on the other hand, is ambitious, determined and set on becoming the new president of The Ravens, like her mother and sister before her. She has a lot of pressure on her shoulders, as she is always expected to be the best at everything.
The two are paired together as big and little, even though they couldn’t be more different from each other. And if that’s not enough, there’s also tension revolving around Scarlet’s boyfriend, as Vivi maybe has a crush on him.
Magic didn’t preach. It gave and took. This was the gift. This was the cost.
What I liked the most about this book was that it was just entertaining and easy to get through. The Ravens was a fun witchy story with a strong mystery thread and several nice messages.
Even in the beginning, when the story was slow and not much was going on, I couldn’t say I was bored. Even when they too easily accepted the fact they were witches and the world was a much different place than they imagined, I wasn’t annoyed by it.
But buckle up now for a list of everything I didn’t like about this book, because there were quite a few things.
First, The Ravens needed a stronger plot. The bones were there, but it wasn’t as developed as it could have been. The mystery was ok but predictable.
The magic system was easy to grasp. There are four types of witches, each having powers defined by their element. And then, they can also borrow powers from each other and enhance their magic by working together.
What makes Ravens special is how our magic plays off one another. It’s not what we have in common but the ways that we’re different—each of our unique strengths—that make us powerful. It sounds cheesy but it’s true. You have more to learn from someone different from you.
So not bad at all, but it was a soft magic system. They’d be like – let’s light some candles, and holding hands makes us stronger, and – oh, I think my emotions are what’s causing this storm.
But I guess I like when there are stricter rules and boundaries as to what their magic could and couldn’t do. The vagueness kind of lowered the stakes.
Also, the whole sorority felt very staged. Rituals that seemed completely unnecessary. And how many times “we are witches” and “sisters come first” had been said?
Normally, I would enjoy the aspect of found family, but in this case it only occasionally felt genuine. On the surface they were all sugary and supportive of each other. But, by the end of the book, there were so many lies and betrayals and stabbing in the back, and not even noticing the emotional spiral your best friend is going through.
I just had to wonder if there really was anything besides magic and legacy to connect these girls. To me, their connection often felt cultish rather than natural. Which is a real shame because that’s why I couldn’t fully relate to otherwise ok characters.
This is the skin you were born in. Embrace it. Wield it. Change it at will. It is your instrument, but you are not defined by it—you define it, you can choose. That’s what it means to be a Raven.
But the romance is where the book completely lost me. No sense or development whatsoever. There are two main love interests that often felt like one and the same guy. (I still managed to dislike one way more than the other).
Plus, I didn’t like the girls’ attitudes toward them on a couple of occasions.
Also, the attempt at diversity felt forced most of the time. We were introduced to the characters, even completely unimportant ones, by mentioning their race and that was often all we got to learn about them.
All in all, I’m giving this book three stars. One, because it read fast and at least I wasn’t bored while reading it. And two – certain plot threads had a lot of potential, even if they weren’t fully developed.
But, I don’t know if I will read the sequel. I might pick it up on a whim someday, but I really don’t feel any pull to get more from this story. Plus, The Ravens kind of works well as a standalone, which is rare in fantasy, so I may as well take advantage.