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The Raven Tower

Narrated by: Adjoa Andoh
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (745 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gods meddle in the fates of men, men play with the fates of gods, and a pretender must be cast down from the throne in this breathtaking first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven's Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven's watch, the city flourishes.

But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.

It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo - aide to Mawat, the true Lease - arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven's Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself...and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.

©2019 Ann Leckie (P)2019 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Adjoa Andoh lends diverse accents and impressive power to this compelling fantasy from the author of space operas.... Andoh's skill with a dynamic range of voices will propel listeners through the tales of powerful gods, complex political machinations, and revenge." (AudioFile)

"Sharp, many layered, and, as always for Leckie, deeply intelligent." (Kirkus

"Leckie's tale takes on a mythic, metafictional quality...and the story's elements weave into a stunning conclusion. This impressive piece of craftsmanship cements Leckie's place as a powerful voice in both SF and fantasy." (Publishers Weekly

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • CB
  • 06-07-19

Disappointing after the Ancillary series

I really wanted to like this, but just couldn't get really invested in it (though I did finish!). It moved slowly, the narrative frame was a bit disorienting, and I didn't find any of the characters interesting or appealing enough to really catch me. I ultimately felt like I just didn't really care about anything that was going on. Adjoa Andoh was an amazing voice actor as always, but I just did not find this a compelling story.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful

Some reviews say this starts slowly. I don't think so. It does drop you into a story you need to figure out and adjust to. But it's so worth it. This is exactly what SF/fantasy does at it's best. It offers new ideas and ways to look at thing in a new way as part of an engaging story. This book is a thinking persons novel. It forgoes chase scenes, big battles and tough guy talk to give you something truly creative and interesting. I may have a new favorite author.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

great book hampered by odd narration

I loved the book! amazing concept and a great, engaging read. but man, that narration... so first of all there's this city in the book, Ard Usktia. granted, a bit of a mouthfull... the narrator seemed to choke every time she had to pronounce it for about half the book, and then found a way to pronounce it that didn't stop the narration in its tracks, by completely ignoring the "k" in vusktia.
The protagonist was given a high, timid, whiny voice, whice to a certain degree was appropriate but was too grating most of the time.
All other characters were given a myriad of strange accents with little rhyme or reason.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Jarring Narration. Story not engaging

Seemingly every character has a different, unrelated accent, some of which are exaggerated to the point of charicature. It’s very distracting during dialogue. I appreciate narration with different voices and accents, but this is way over the top. There were moments when I engaged with the story but they didn’t build to anything. The prose is fine, nothing so special that I could deal with the glacial pace of the story development. I gave up after 4 hours.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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A Unique Perspective and an Intriguing Mystery

Anne Leckie’s latest book "The Raven Tower" is a refreshing break from fantasy tropes. I picked it up after looking for a new fantasy read since most of my experience with the genre is at least a decade old.

The Raven Tower is told in a blend of first and second person, with some chapters feeling more one than the other. The narrator (that is, the first person “I”) is a god. The second person (that is, the “you”) is a transgender man, Eolo. These are both, of course, very unique perspectives in the fantasy genre, and I was intrigued from the start. Anne Leckie handles Eolo’s gender identity very well, letting it be an aspect of him without being the entirety of his personality. Eolo is a transman, but he is also loyal, thoughtful, and observant. We are at a time when diversity and representation is important, and too many authors, I think, make the pitfall of making their characters’ diverse traits be their only traits, reducing them to tokens or symbols. Anne Leckie establishes in the first chapter that Eolo is trans but also makes it clear that isn’t the focus of the story, and she invites the reader to move on. I am thankful for this approach.

Which brings us to the second protagonist, the god, known throughout most of the book as The Strength and Patience of the Hill. Through their chapters we get a long and deep examination of the history of this fantasy world, from the earliest forms of life to the early humans, and beyond. Anne Leckie’s words convey much of the god themself as patient, observant, and thoughtful. She also uses these sections to establish the rules and lore of her world, expanding upon both the history of the world and how the gods interact with it. Gods manipulate the world by speech and must be very careful of what they say is true, lest they overstate or misspeak. Anecdotes and secondhand accounts flesh out the world, and Anne Leckie does a great job of investing the reader in the divine conflicts.

In the mortal realm, and back in the story’s present, Eolo arrives with his master, Mawat, who is heir to the Lease, at the powerful city Vastai. But things there are not as Mawat had left them, and his father, The Raven’s Lease and the Ruler of Vastai, is missing. Here Leckie weaves together a story of political intrigue and espionage, as loyalties and beliefs are brought into question. Leckie juggles a cast that is small compared to other fantasy novels, but she takes the time to show each character’s motivation and place in this elaborate political game.

My only potential complaint comes regarding the ending, which appears rather suddenly. An observant reader could read the signs and see it coming, but it is still rather abrupt and open-ended. Much of Eolo’s story is concerned with the disappearance of Mawat’s father, the Raven’s Lease, and once that mystery is solved the story concludes itself quite rapidly. Understanding whose story is being told is crucial to understanding the ending, and I think those who expect a more traditional conclusion may be less satisfied.

Overall, Anne Leckie’s fantasy debut is an incredible read. The mystery of the Lease’s disappearance combined with the wonderfully intriguing universe and the ambiguity of the divine narrator all come together to make an exciting and gripping tale. If you are a fan of fantasy but tired of the typical fare, The Raven tower is a wonderfully fresh take on the genre.

Adjoa Andoh gives a fantastic performance, juggling the many accents featured in the book and making each character distinct. The depth of emotion conveyed in her reading of Eolo is incredible, and her reading for The Strength and Patience is both comforting and terrifying, as a god should be.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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The view point of a god is so well written

At first I was just curious of where the story was going but then I fell in love with the self told story of a god and how it saw the world.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Missing something

It almost rang good and true on all marks, but felt it fell flat at times when it could of expanded more or created some other conflict. I’ll admit I’m not 100% amazed by the book, but I’m not turned off from it either.

It set a good story, it had okay details, but lacked a connection to any of the characters. I didn’t feel like I cared what happened to any of them honestly and felt I had to reconnect myself to the book each time I picked it up to be able to finish it.

Just didn’t hit al the notes for me.

100% loved the person Voice acting/narrating the story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Ummmmmm

I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. Well over 1/2 way through it and I still had no idea wtf was going on.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Excellent narrator and author

This narrator brings life to the story even through mundane parts. The author is top notch and I’ve enjoyed several of her works now. The combo of this author and narrator is phenomenal!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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spectacular story and phenomenal performance

I almost never write reviews of the titles I listen to, mostly because I never feel like I have time to stop and do so. However, this book was so spectacular that I had to say something. Leckie is at her best in this engaging tale and I can't wait for the next installment. But, I really feel that Adjoa Andoh is the star. I've NEVER heard such a range from one performer doing so many characters in so many different voices! She brought the story to life in a way that was enchanting in the truest sense of the word. Brava, Ms. Andoh!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful