- Age Range: 9 – 12 years
- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (August 26, 2014)
- ISBN: 9780385371032
- Source: Publisher
Twelve year-old Gabriel Finley has lived with his Aunt Jasmine in her old Brooklyn brownstone since his father disappeared three years ago. As he gets older, he has increasingly more questions about his father’s disappearance. As he approaches his thirteenth birthday, his aunt presents Gabriel with his father’s journal in hopes of answering some of these questions.
Called the Book of Ravens, the journal tells of a time when humans and ravens spoke to each other as equals. Partnered for life, humans and their raven partners, known as an amicus, rarely parted ways. This relationship ended after group of ravens, enticed by immortality, did the unthinkable and killed their human partners. Now, these evil ravens, known as valravens, were punished with an endless life of darkness and despair. The only way to tell the evil ravens from the good was to ask them a riddle. Valravens, unable to laugh, would not be able to answer the riddle.
Unbeknownst to Gabriel, he has the ability to communicate with ravens. Gabriel would never be confused for a super hero. Quiet, with just a few friends, Gabriel suddenly realizes that he holds the power to save his father. Always quite skilled at solving riddles, Gabriel and an unlikely group of allies begin their quest to a secret world beneath the city in hopes of saving his father. His nemesis in this journey is his uncle Corax, shunned from his family at the age of twelve. Also skilled with the ability to speak with ravens, Corax’s life took a darker route than Gabriel and his father.
Rich with unusual characters and a fantastical world full of imagination, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle is a genuinely captivating middle-grade novel perfect for younger fans of Harry Potter or The Hobbit. The themes of friendship, family, and loyalty combined with the fantastical journey form a well-rounded and enriching read. That said, there are some darker aspects of this novel that might lend itself to be read with a parent. I read it with my nine year-old and we found ourselves eagerly looking forward to reading time each night.
Readers will quickly pick up on the novel’s similarities with Harry Potter and its homage to Norse mythology. Beyond this, the author excels at making this book stand out on its own merit. Hints at sequels have my son & I clamoring for more. Highly, highly recommended.