on Feb. 18, 2011 :
Snowraven is a novella set in Sullivan's Blue Kingdoms universe, although that is where any similarity to Crimson and Dragons (see previous post) ends. It is a serious coming-of-age story that reads well as a prequel to a longer work.
It begins with a prologue, which is unusual in a novella, but unlike some readers I know, I like a prologue when appropriate. The prologue shows the child Yanna of the Wind Raven tribe escaping slavery and a shipwreck, but losing her family in the process. The story proper then begins, with the young adult, now Katyana Ravenlocks, on patrol with her foster mother Stacia Flamelocks when they are ambushed.
The story is well-written, clearly showing Katyana's transition to maturity. Katyana's character is well fleshed out. There is less depth to Stacia, but sufficient for the purpose of the story. If anything, a couple of paragraphs of Stacia's backstory - where she describes how she became a warrior - could be cut without losing any impact. The villains are mostly typical villains, although one shows a flash of humanity when his partner gets cut down.
The plot is a little contrived - the ambush was too well constructed to be opportunistic and there was not sufficient indication that Stacia and Katyana had been specifically targeted or for what reason. However the action flowed well and followed a logical sequence.
There is one minor thing which bugged me personally, which is the horses' names. One is called Elsinon, which made me think of Elsinore, and the other is Brunhilde, both of which carry a lot of literary baggage. It's a minor thing, but I did find it distracting. YMMV.
Overall I enjoyed this story, although in parts the writing could have been tighter. It introduces a very promising character with strong hints to undeveloped talents to be explored in future stories. 3.5/5
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)