The Raven: Jonathan Janz
Reviewed By Steve Stred
First off, let me start by saying, I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Janz. Wolf Land, Children of the Dark, The Dark Game etc. I still need to get to Siren and the Spectre and Savage Species, but that’ll be happening shortly.
Second off, The Raven was a DNF for me. I’ll go into that here shortly, but I went back and forth between writing a review or just putting a few comments on Goodreads about it, but ultimately, each book is an individual’s experience. So, here is my experience, and I’m hoping that maybe what I say will still get some of you to buy it.
What I liked: The Raven is a post-apoc book set in the not-so-distant future, following an ‘end of world’ bomb event. The difference here is that some crazy scientists dropped bombs that turned some people into cannibals, some vampires and some werewolves. This left some folk as normal or ‘latents.’
The book picks up in the middle of some action. Dex, our MC has stumbled on some people in the woods, as he continues to make his way to the mysterious Four Winds Bar.
Janz writes with such ease that the choreography described was easily pictured as a big-budget, Hollywood action film.
I was intrigued with the notebooks our character kept with him and with the amount I read, we find out that he’s struggling with feelings of being a failure over not being able to save his family. It really humanized a character that needs to kill to stay alive.
What I didn’t like: For me personally, I’ve fallen off the enjoyment of shows like The Walking Dead where it’s people trying to survive against the elements and the undead coming to kill them and at points, I thought I was reading a book about Daryl with his crossbow. For someone to survive on their own for so long, Dex sure made a lot of bonehead decisions in the 30% of the book I read and that was what ultimately made me stop reading. I couldn’t comprehend that this guy would be killing vampires and werewolves yet let someone walk up behind him and apprehend him. The thing that ultimately did it in for me was Dex coming across a strange old man and willingly followed him into his house, all in the hopes that the man had popcorn.
Why you should buy it: Janz is one of the best horror writers out there. He has produced a number of truly stunning releases and there are more coming down the road for sure. While The Raven ultimately missed its mark with me, for old fans and new, it offers a fun action/adventure romp where killing is Dex’s business… and business is good.
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?
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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