The Raven: Jonathan Janz
Reviewed By The Grim Reader
The world is pretty screwed as things stand, so I thought I would dive headfirst into the new Jonathan Janz novel from Flame Tree Press called The Raven. Janz has long been a go-to author for me. His books rock, it is as simple as that. Before I turn a single page of a Janz novel, I know I will get relatable characters, plenty of blood and guts, fast pacing and an engaging plot. The end is nigh.
The leather-clad, faceless Robin Hood that adorns the cover is Dez McClane. Dez is desperately searching for his missing wife, Susan. He is a man with nothing left to lose, a man on a mission. Unfortunately, vampires, werewolves, satyrs, cannibals and all manner of wicked creatures now wander the wastelands making Dez’s search much more challenging. Inhuman beasts rule, and those unaffected by the change must fight to stay alive.
The Raven is an orgy of gore and violence. Whether it is cannibals v werewolves, vampires v telekinetics, anything goes. Blood certainly is not in short supply, and some of the killings are downright nasty. Dez is far from superhuman. He is a Latent, which means he has no special abilities, but he is driven and determined to do whatever it takes to find Susan. The cast of characters in The Raven is quite large, and some have silly names (Stomper!) which can be a little off-putting, but it’s easy to differentiate between them.
The Raven reminds me of Quentin Tarantino’s From Dusk Till Dawn. A large portion of the novel takes place in a bar called The Four Winds. Despite this seemingly closed-in setting, the world outside feels very real. The world-building is solid, and I always felt there was more to be explored. As I mentioned earlier, Janz knows how to keep the reader engaged. The Raven is wonderfully paced. I never felt a chapter unnecessary, and it bodes well for future books in the series should he choose to continue Dez’s journey.
The Raven isn’t perfect. As I mentioned earlier, some of the character names are just too silly and often gave me a chuckle which took me out of the story. Also, the story can feel a little campy, and Dez’s constant ability to escape from every situation might also peeve a few readers, but hey, it’s fiction, folks.
The Raven is the kind of escape I needed, something hugely enjoyable, a little silly, gory and fun. If that’s what Jonathan intended when he wrote it, mission accomplished. And so…
4/5 miraculous escapes from the Grim Reader.
Fearing that mankind is heading toward nuclear extinction, a group of geneticists unleash a plot to save the world. They’ve discovered that mythological creatures such as werewolves, vampires, witches, and satyrs were once real, and that these monstrous genetic strands are still present in human DNA. These radical scientists unleash the bestial side of human beings that had been dormant for eons, and within months, most people are dead, and bloodthirsty creatures rule the earth. Despite the fact that Dez McClane has no special powers, he is determined to atone for the lives he couldn’t save and to save the woman he loves. But how long can a man survive in a world full of monsters?
The Grim Reader
The Grim Reader resides on the Gold Coast, Australia. A school teacher by day, a lover of dark fiction, heavy metal, Arsenal FC, bourbon and coffee at night.
The Grim Reader loves nothing more than reading and rocking.