Once upon a time…
A curse can only be broken by luck or an impossible feat, and Aisling has tried numerous impossible feats. Every morning she changes into a swan. Every dusk she has a few moments with the man she loves, only to watch him forced into the form of a raven by the same curse.
When it becomes clear the curse is directly connected with an ancient, awakening evil, she sets off into the depths of Underhill to find answers. Unfortunately, this is a journey that must be made alone.
Bran refuses to believe there isn’t another way. Split off from his queen, he joins forces with the Seelie Fae and the Druids. Darkness spreads throughout the Raven Kingdom. Both king and queen fight to protect their people, their home, and the love they have for each other.
Retellings | Fantasy | Romance | Mythology
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am! This is what I have been waiting for, no twitching for comrades. Have I explained enough how much I gush over Emma Hamm’s writing style? Because I do. Her Otherworlds Series has corrupted me, I need it like I need air. She has such a exquisite dynamic to her world building, her character’s interactions, the romances and just the overall lore, it is beyond breathtaking. As much as I have enjoyed this series immensely, it is The Faceless Woman and now the The Raven’s Ballad that are my absolute favorite. I cannot get over Bran and Aisling romance, they are perfection.
So obviously, before you start reading my delicious ramblings, because I will be rambling, know that if you have not read The Faceless Woman, than reading this review may give spoilers. Obviously I am going to avoid as much as possible, but The Raven’s Ballad is the ending to Bran and Aisling’s duet, so here here, you have been warned, I may detail some spoilage.
Now that I said that, lets dive in…
Starting more or less where The Faceless Woman stopped, The Raven’s Ballad is jumping into Bran and Aisling’s world as Bran serves his duty to be the Raven King, unfortunately at a cost. Bran serves by night as a Raven while by morning, Aisling is changed back into a Swan, only a few minutes together during dusk is all they are allowed within their beautifully heart-wrenching curse. I think this is probably what makes their romance the absolute best. The tugs at the curse really tests their emotions towards one another as well as questioning themselves. Not only this but the chemistry that was built upon in the previous book is more developed, they have such a great chemistry together. The way their dialogue is, their touches, just everything is radiating from the pages. I was literally on the edge of my seat each moment they had together, I was itching for their moments – It was killing me!
Something that I also really cannot get over about their romance is that they actually trust one another. There is no second guessing anything, Bran makes a mistake due to trickery, and it is like Aisling knows the previous Raven King is lying. They just have this all encompassing bond that I cannot get over honestly. But not only that, Aisling, even though she trusts in her heart for Bran, she is still just as fierce, strong and independent female lead. Not only is Bran fighting to break the curse, she is too. I think honestly that is one of the best attribute of this series, it is romance yes, but it is centered around such powerful female leads. It is so empowering to finally read a fantasy genre where the female heroine is beautifully flawed and yet so empowering that I am gushing at the pages over and over as she doesn’t just sit idly by like a damsel but seeks the adventure herself. And obviously I adored Bran. Just like Aisling, we see him with his faults, his second guessing and his growth as a person. He fights for not only himself and his kingdom, but his focus is Aisling. I think it is powerful to see how his world revolves around her, something very different than he was prior.
Bottom line, anything Emma Ham writes is gold. Her Otherworlds Series has captivated me body and soul. I love every character introduced, every detail she adds to enhance the aspects of the current world building. It is just phenomenal. Again, it is just the detail in her writing style that just makes me obsess over everything she writes. If you have not started this series, you are truly missing out.
It is the adult fantasy that I need in my life as nothing else seems to curb my enthusiasm in the same light nor expectations. Her dive into mythology crossed with retellings is just swoonage waiting to happen. Even though I dub Bran and Aisling my favorite at this moment, I hear there is a lovable Dwarf in my near future….