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A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead. In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead. In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception. Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul. Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.


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A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead. In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead. In Thanopolis, those gifted with magic are assigned undead spirits to guard them—and control them. Ever since Rovan’s father died trying to keep her from this fate, she’s hidden her magic. But when she accidentally reveals her powers, she’s bound to a spirit and thrust into a world of palace intrigue and deception. Desperate to escape, Rovan finds herself falling for two people she can’t fully trust: Lydea, a beguiling, rebellious princess; and Ivrilos, the handsome spirit with the ability to control Rovan, body and soul. Together, they uncover a secret that will destroy Thanopolis. To save them all, Rovan will have to start a rebellion in both the mortal world and the underworld, and find a way to trust the princess and spirit battling for her heart—if she doesn’t betray them first.

30 review for In the Ravenous Dark

  1. 5 out of 5

    AdriAnne

    HI. Author, here! Now that the (AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS) cover has been revealed, let’s talk content + content warnings ... Content: This book involves blood magic, death magic, a spooky underworld, and ghostly guardians. It stars a young woman (19), Rovan, who falls for her hated guardian, gets entranced by a beguiling princess at the same time, and starts a revolution in both the living world and the underworld. This book is queer. It has a pansexual main character (though that word isn’t used on pag HI. Author, here! Now that the (AMAZINGLY GORGEOUS) cover has been revealed, let’s talk content + content warnings ... Content: This book involves blood magic, death magic, a spooky underworld, and ghostly guardians. It stars a young woman (19), Rovan, who falls for her hated guardian, gets entranced by a beguiling princess at the same time, and starts a revolution in both the living world and the underworld. This book is queer. It has a pansexual main character (though that word isn’t used on page in this Greco-Roman-inspired fantasy world), a lesbian love interest, an asexual and nonbinary major supporting character (they/them pronouns used throughout, no misgendering), multiple f/f relationships and a m/f/f relationship. Queerness isn’t really an issue in the world unless it messes with heirs/lines of succession and then it’s policed a bit, but don’t be too concerned about major homophobia or transphobia since it’s generally accepted. It also has the queer found family of my heart, which makes this book one of my favorites. That, and it’s super weird. Get ready for a blood-spattered, kiss-filled roller coaster ride. Heads up for age-appropriateness: This is not a content warning so much as a notification of content, but there are on-page sex scenes (two, one f/f and one m/f) and lots of cursing, quite a few f-bombs included. This is pretty upper YA/can cross over into adult, and a dark book. Which brings me to content warnings! CWs for: -Death (lots, major and minor characters) -Death of queer characters, but most main characters are queer and also (view spoiler)[ these deaths aren’t exaaactly permanent! (hide spoiler)] -Parent death, on page and off -Sibling death by suicide (off page) -Fratricide -Violence (lots) -Blood (lots) -Gore (not excessive, but there’s, uh, a scene or two for sure) -Mild body horror -Mild substance addiction (alcohol) -Enforced gender roles -Forced marriage and pregnancy (including rape, but the latter is off page, in the past, and not involving main characters) -Threat of rape/abuse of the main character, but (view spoiler)[ the offender gets what’s coming to him before that happens. (hide spoiler)] All that said, the book is also morbidly funny and quite absurd at times, and the ending *isn’t* tragic, so I hope you’re not deterred. I’ll add more here if I think of more things to note. Like a lot of my books, this one is likely not for everyone, but if it sounds like what you’re looking for, enjoy! <3

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead. OH MY GOD YES GIVE IT TO ME NOWWWWW

  3. 5 out of 5

    theresa

    A.M. Strickland has taken the staples of the YA fantasy genre – a badass heroine, loveable characters and the overthrow of a corrupt institution – and combined them with a fascinating and distinct magic system, queer characters galore and sexy ghosts to create an utterly unique and gloriously queer story. In the Ravenous Dark was fun, angsty and kept me on my toes the whole way through; it’s a gripping and unapologetically chaotic rollercoaster of a book. It is no secret that I’m a sucker for the A.M. Strickland has taken the staples of the YA fantasy genre – a badass heroine, loveable characters and the overthrow of a corrupt institution – and combined them with a fascinating and distinct magic system, queer characters galore and sexy ghosts to create an utterly unique and gloriously queer story. In the Ravenous Dark was fun, angsty and kept me on my toes the whole way through; it’s a gripping and unapologetically chaotic rollercoaster of a book. It is no secret that I’m a sucker for the found family trope and In the Ravenous Dark delivered! Rovan’s love for her friends and lovers is really what motivates her and pushes the story and I really loved this focus. And there’s only one thing better than found family – queer found family!! Once again, this book really excelled, with an almost entirely queer cast, including a pansexual main character, lesbian love interest, nonbinary asexual best friend and central polyamorous relationship. I also really loved the magic system. In this world, blood mages are able to manipulate anything that lives or has lived, including blood. Power is passed down through family lines in the form of red tattoos but the true extent of the power can only be accessed by one person and will kill the previous bearer to pass it on. This power and the governing of it played a large role in the political conflict of the book and I found this really interesting. I also just enjoyed all the different ways it could be manipulated, especially further into the book once the concept of death magic was introduced as well. However, I would say that this ability made everything seem really easy for Rovan, as she very quickly became almost all powerful. My main criticism of this book is the lack of development of characters’ relationships. This is essential in every book and something I personally adore reading but I felt that it was lacking here, which is especially an issue as the concept of found family was the main motivator. It meant that Rovan’s motivation and her actions were a little unbelievable as her relationships to these characters she was supposedly doing everything for hadn’t been developed enough. Rovan was initially warned away from and highly suspicious of everyone at court and detested her guardian but seemed to suddenly be best friends or even involved with them. I almost felt like I’d missed something with how sudden this shift was and the relationships in this books suffered from a lot of telling and not enough showing to properly build and develop them. In a similar vein, I felt like this book could have done with being longer or having a sequel in order to further develop the plot as it felt rather rushed at times. In the Ravenous Dark packs endless action, interesting politics and a unique magic system into a fun, unapologetically queer standalone fantasy. If you like a bit of chaos with your books, then you are sure to enjoy this one! I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter *eARC received in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley*

  4. 5 out of 5

    charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)

    On my blog. Rep: pan mc, lesbian li, nonbinary side character, polyamory CWs: blood, gore Galley provided by publisher This is yet another review that I have to open up with the disclaimer that this book suffered from my continuing (though more occasional now) …let’s say issues with YA fantasy, and if you are interested in it, don’t let this review stop you. That being said, there were parts of it that I genuinely didn’t like and that’s not just me and YA fantasy. Basically, this book follows the On my blog. Rep: pan mc, lesbian li, nonbinary side character, polyamory CWs: blood, gore Galley provided by publisher This is yet another review that I have to open up with the disclaimer that this book suffered from my continuing (though more occasional now) …let’s say issues with YA fantasy, and if you are interested in it, don’t let this review stop you. That being said, there were parts of it that I genuinely didn’t like and that’s not just me and YA fantasy. Basically, this book follows the “oppressed mage is enslaved by evil king who wants her power” trope. Now, I don’t know how much any of you have read about the whole “oppressed mage” trope, because I think a lot of that conversation surrounds video games, not books, but it’s a whole thing. ( This piece here will give more depth than I’ll go into in this review, but also if you just google oppressed mage trope or something similar, there’s a lot out there.) Let me open with a quote from that piece that probably sums up what about the trope is so frustrating: My issue is that fantasy (and science-fiction) metaphors for bigotry don’t actually help anyone. These stories are for the privileged progressives to look at each other, wink and say, “What a good person I am, I know what this story is about, and I am on the right side.” Mages are, as this essay states, a kind of vague catch-all minority. They’re what happens when you can’t quite be bothered to create a specific identity for your oppressed group. And, much like in the example of Dragon Age in the essay, this book then screws it up by attempting to justify this oppression. Bloodmages in In the Ravenous Dark are dangerous and must be controlled. Thus: A failure to understand why systematic persecution of minorities exists often leads writers [to attempt to] justify it, as if the propaganda that the marginalized are dangerous must be true in order for the oppression to exist, or even begin. If you consider real life bigotries, those always come with propaganda to dehumanise the victims. Here, with fantasies justifying their bigotries, that plays into the whole cycle. It lays the blame on victims of oppression as causes of that oppression. And, yeah, so the whole idea of this can be done well (the essay offers an example of how), but, in all honesty, this book didn’t have the range to do that. It was, in all, a fairly simplistic tale: oppressed mage is enslaved by evil ruler, realises that the evil ruler is the reason the country is going to shit, has to take down the evil ruler (and, in the process, free themselves). But I think what made this version of the story especially unnuanced was the fact that it seemed very much to be advocating for an individualistic view, as opposed to systemic. Barring the two obviously evil members of the royal family — a royal family that had benefited from bloodmage oppression, I might add, even if some of their own were also bloodmages (side note: I didn’t understand this. The magic of this world was massively underdeveloped for me) — it was alright because everyone else was fine! You get rid of the two who are doing the immediate damage and it’s all sorted. But to me, that shifts the blame from a system built to oppress onto individuals. The whole “it’s just a few bad apples” argument. I guess this was namely because the main character’s two love interests were a member of the royal family and her literal torturer (the way bloodmages were controlled was via this ghost creature which basically fed off them-slash-acted like a shock collar when they did something the royal family disliked). Of course, you want to be pushing the “bad apples” narrative when both your love interests actively benefit from the main character’s oppression. This book ended up doing the most to sell the idea that the problem wasn’t the system, but the people using it. (Spoiler alert: it can be both.) Moving on from this, there were other issues I had — although these are probably more mundane. Firstly, the worldbuilding was lacking. I couldn’t really tell you anything in particular about this fantasy world. There are bloodmages, and that’s about it. Nothing really stood out for me as memorable. (Also, in case you hadn’t realised, my non-usage of names in this review is because I cannot remember a single one! None of them stuck!) Add onto that the fact that the magic system was just… all over the place, bringing up pertinent information right at the end in a kind of deus ex machina haha you didn’t know this could happen but it can! without any foreshadowing? I think at one point I just gave up trying to understand what was going on. Although there was worldbuilding enough to make this a misogynistic world that sees the bloodmage women as “broodmares”. Thanks, I guess. And then there’s the fact that, at points, the plot just seems stupid. The dude love interest has actually been trying to take down the true villain for …four hundred years! Is he so singularly useless that in FOUR HUNDRED YEARS he has had absolutely no impact? Not until the main character shows up? Apparently so! (Also, another side note: why is there a multiple-centuries-years-old love interest for a YA protagonist? Why does he latch onto her? Is he a creep?) Add onto that the aforementioned sudden introduction of previously unmentioned information that just so happened to resolve any problems that might have faced the main character? Can you see why I stopped paying attention after a bit? On top of all this, I just found the plot moved entirely too slowly and I got bored. That old chestnut. It wasn’t until maybe the final third that things started actually happening and, honestly, I think I just kept reading out of some sort of habit. Frankly, perhaps I could have seen this all coming, given that the blurb flat out refers to one of the main character’s love interests as “the handsome spirit with the ability to control her, body and soul”. Big red flag right there.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    rtc! Generally very much enjoyed - had a lot of potential and could've been expanded into a duology so things felt more developed (like interpersonal character dynamics, mainly), but it also works well as a standalone. Also incredibly, casually queer. rep: pansexual heroine, lesbian love interest, non-binary main character (who's also implied to be on the ace spectrum I think?), and many more LGBTQ+ folks across the whole cast. * "A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit t rtc! Generally very much enjoyed - had a lot of potential and could've been expanded into a duology so things felt more developed (like interpersonal character dynamics, mainly), but it also works well as a standalone. Also incredibly, casually queer. rep: pansexual heroine, lesbian love interest, non-binary main character (who's also implied to be on the ace spectrum I think?), and many more LGBTQ+ folks across the whole cast. * "A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead." This pitch has such insanely chaotic energy this is also the third book I've read in a row that has something to do with the undead . . . hm Thank you to the publisher & Pride Book Tours for providing me with a review copy!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fanna

    September 08, 2020: LOOK AT THE COVER! I can already see a book as outfit possibility,,, June 8, 2020: I see a dark fantasy and I'm all set, but the author says it's going to have a pansexual MC, a lesbian love interest, a non-binary/asexual best friend, and a polygamous relationship...WHATTTT AHHH EXCITED! September 08, 2020: LOOK AT THE COVER! I can already see a book as outfit possibility,,, June 8, 2020: I see a dark fantasy and I'm all set, but the author says it's going to have a pansexual MC, a lesbian love interest, a non-binary/asexual best friend, and a polygamous relationship...WHATTTT AHHH EXCITED!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Illumicrate April 2021 book of the month ARC received in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars. Rovan is the daughter of an unwarded bloodmage - a powerful wielder of blood magic who has spent his life hiding from those who would use his talents for their own gain. For in the city of Thanopolis, all bloodmages must have an undead guardian to control and protect them from themselves. Rovan has been taught to hide her own powerful gifts, but when circumstances force her to reveal her powers, she Illumicrate April 2021 book of the month ARC received in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars. Rovan is the daughter of an unwarded bloodmage - a powerful wielder of blood magic who has spent his life hiding from those who would use his talents for their own gain. For in the city of Thanopolis, all bloodmages must have an undead guardian to control and protect them from themselves. Rovan has been taught to hide her own powerful gifts, but when circumstances force her to reveal her powers, she is thrown into a world of political intrigue and undead spirits that threaten not only her city, but her world. If that synopsis sounds complicated, that's because it is. The plot for this is incredibly convoluted with two separate magic systems that never really seem to amalgamate properly over the course of the book. We have blood magic - controlled through sigils on the users body that appear to control the physical world and that which feels alive - fire and water for example. And then we have death magic. Wielded by guardians, it seems to control that which is unnatural and dead, the earth and the air. We also have something called the 'blight' which is destroying the world around everyone. Everything just feels a bit messy, and the plot gets lost amongst all of this. It's too grand a picture to follow. I also found the world building to be insubstantial and poorly formed, leaving me continuously confused even after the numerous, repetitive explanations over info dumps. I feel like the author tried to combine too many things together without allowing for any breathing space. The magic, as a result, doesn't feel like an intrinsic part of the world, and sits outside of the plot instead of enhancing the story. Perhaps concentrating on one magical system would have worked a lot better, and would have helped to keep the plot simple yet effective. In terms of characterisation, Rovan is not a very nice person. She's selfish and cruel at times, as well as incredibly gunho and she's constantly throwing herself in harms way - which I found incredibly irritating. However, I loved the representation of her pansexuality and the way she has no qualms over taking a lover. She's definitely in tune with her sensuality and oozes sex in a deliciously wonderful way, and the sexual tension at the beginning is great. I just wish her relationships with both Lydea and Ivrilos were developed a bit more. They feel quite one note and superficial, and they move very quickly within their relationships without any real emotional development between them. This could have been something I really enjoyed and for many it probably will be. However, I just couldn't connect with the convoluted plot and magical system or its characters beyond the great pansexual and non-binary representation.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Isabel

    This arc was provided by Hodder & Stoughton, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. TW: death, loss of a loved one (on-page and off), violence, blood, gore, body horror, fratricide, mention of death by suicide, substance and alcohol addiction, enforced gender roles, forced marriage, and pregnancy (including rape, but the latter is off-page, in the past, and not involving main characters), and threats of rape and abuse. I can confidently say that A.M. Strickland is a new auto-read and fav This arc was provided by Hodder & Stoughton, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. TW: death, loss of a loved one (on-page and off), violence, blood, gore, body horror, fratricide, mention of death by suicide, substance and alcohol addiction, enforced gender roles, forced marriage, and pregnancy (including rape, but the latter is off-page, in the past, and not involving main characters), and threats of rape and abuse. I can confidently say that A.M. Strickland is a new auto-read and favourite author for me. As with Beyond the Black Door, In the Ravenous Dark is a dark and lush story that will mesmerize you, and you'll only be thankful for it. In the Ravenous Dark follows Rovan, a bloodmage that has been keeping her abilities secret since she was born in order to escape the same fate that followed her father. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. I really appreciate how action-packed this was, there was always some event or decision happening and it keeps the readers on their toes. When I reached the dark page, the scream that left my soul at 2 AM why?? As everything progresses, you can't not love the characters, Rovan, Lydea, and Ivrilos, and so many others. It always surprises me how much I care when it's a standalone, or maybe that's why it hurts so much. You only meet these people once and that's it. And it's such a satisfying and worthy read of your time. Lastly, the queer rep just filled my heart with warm mushy feelings. Our main character is pansexual, there's a polyamorous relationship, the world-building has queernormativity which makes me so happy to see in fantasy. Asexual and Nonbinary side characters, an amazing found family. I just love it. Prepare yourselves for a dark, gruesome, and intriguing adventure. As the author says, "get ready for a blood-spattered, kiss-filled roller coaster ride." I couldn't have said it better.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    4.5/5 Stars I’ve had my eye on this book for a while – I love dark, bloodthirsty fantasy books and I love books with queer polyamory representation even more – and it definitely didn’t disappoint! In the Ravenous Dark follows Rovan who has hidden her blood magic for years, for fear that she will end up with a spirit assigned to her and forced to become part of the land’s army, after her father died so that she could keep herself secret. But, when she accidentally reveals her powers while saving s 4.5/5 Stars I’ve had my eye on this book for a while – I love dark, bloodthirsty fantasy books and I love books with queer polyamory representation even more – and it definitely didn’t disappoint! In the Ravenous Dark follows Rovan who has hidden her blood magic for years, for fear that she will end up with a spirit assigned to her and forced to become part of the land’s army, after her father died so that she could keep herself secret. But, when she accidentally reveals her powers while saving someone’s life, she is taken by the royal guard and forced into palace life with a spirit tethered to her to keep her in check. But something isn’t quite as it seems and Rovan, desperate to escape to her father’s homeland of Skylea, enlists the help of a rebellious princess and the mysterious spirit she’s stuck with to uncover a deadly secret. When I first picked this up I was so sure that it was the first book in the series, but after finding out that it is a standalone, for about the first 50% of the book I was so sure that Strickland wouldn’t be able to wrap all that the book encompasses up at the end of the novel. I was so wrong, and the second half of the book had so much action and so many plot twists that I was on the edge of my seat trying to keep up with it all! Something that was evidently strong from the start of the book, though, was the magic system. I adored how unique it was – there are two types of magic in the world and the main king (blood magic) that Rovan has control over is passed down through generations via bloodlines and is cast by drawing sigils in the air with your fingers. I loved how visual this magic system is and, although I wish we’d got to see more of the death magic, it’s definitely one of my favourites I’ve seen recently! Another thing I loved about the book was the characters. Although at first it took me some time to figure out who everyone was, I quickly grew fond of Rovan, Japha (her new best friend) and the princess Lydea! Rovan’s voice was so witty throughout the novel and I like how Strickland took the often stereotypical image of the male fantasy main character who loves drinking and sleeping around and turned it on its head by showing Rovan enjoying these things in a much more healthy and sex-positive way! Japha is a nonbinary person of colour and I loved their flamboyancy when it comes to clothes as well as their hilarious comebacks. I also really empathised with their feelings of inadequacy, particularly when it comes to their father. Lydea was so strong and her confidence contrasted so well with her fear of being as ruthless and violent as her father and brother. I also really enjoyed the lesbian representation that we got from her – she honestly deserved so much better than what she got! As for Ivrilos – the spirit who’s tethered to her – ehhh I didn’t really love him. There’s a kind of hate-to-love romance between him and Rovan but I never really felt anything between the two of them. All of the romance in the book felt so much like it was told to us that it existed, but never really shown – and I think in this case, if it was perhaps a duology then it would’ve worked so much better. As for the world-building and the plot, first of all I loved that it was set in an Ancient Greece-inspired world. Though I found it hard to imagine all of the clothing and armour that was mentioned throughout, that’s just me not knowing much about Ancient Greece in general, but I think otherwise, the worldbuilding was very well done! I’m loath to say much about the plot for fear of spoiling something, but rest assured, there are so many twists and turns that I ended up with whiplash by the end of the book, and there are some more gruesome and gory bits near the end, too, which I didn’t see coming but that I think worked so well with the rest of the plot. Overall, this was a really great read and I’m so glad that Bertie agreed to buddy read it with me, because having them to chat to about everything really made the reading experience all that more immersive! If you’re a fan of darker adult fantasy but love the vibes of YA fantasy and some excellent queer rep, definitely check this one out on its release! Buddy read with Bertie! Thanks to Netgalley + Hodder & Stoughton for an eARC in return for an honest review! Want more sapphic books? You can find me here: Book Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    "A pan-sexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead." Yep, that sums things up pretty well! In the Ravenous Dark is a decadent morsel of a book. Fast-paced, deliciously dark and bloody, filled with magic and death....highly recommend. Especially if you enjoy "unlikeable" heroines who refuse to fall in line, fight to their last breath, but are secretly soft with the people they truly care for. Rovan is exactly that and I love h "A pan-sexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead." Yep, that sums things up pretty well! In the Ravenous Dark is a decadent morsel of a book. Fast-paced, deliciously dark and bloody, filled with magic and death....highly recommend. Especially if you enjoy "unlikeable" heroines who refuse to fall in line, fight to their last breath, but are secretly soft with the people they truly care for. Rovan is exactly that and I love her, flaws and all. In Thanopolis those gifted with blood magic must be controlled, and ever since seeing her powerful father die as a young girl, Rovan has been hiding her true nature. But a horrible mistake lands her in the sights of the royals. I don't want to give a lot of details because this is a book you just need to experience, but I loved it. It takes on misogyny and patriarchy, has all the queer rep, from a fabulous non-binary side character (ownvoices) to our pansexual, polyamorous heroine and more. It was a fantastic page turner of a book with some solid twists and a satisfying ending, as well as a good bit of angst, longing, betrayal, kissing, and more (note that there is some on-page sex though it is not explicitly described). I loved it and definitely would recommend. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own. And because this author is the absolute best, they have provided a review with thorough content warnings! Check it out here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Anniek

    I absolutely loved Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland, and after reading this one, I think it's safe to say I've found a new favourite author. This one was again so good, and so queer. I often have a hard time getting into fantasy, but this one was so accessible and had me crying in the prologue. I absolutely loved Rovan as a main character, and her dynamic with the other characters, which often made it a really funny read as well. I absolutely loved Beyond the Black Door by A.M. Strickland, and after reading this one, I think it's safe to say I've found a new favourite author. This one was again so good, and so queer. I often have a hard time getting into fantasy, but this one was so accessible and had me crying in the prologue. I absolutely loved Rovan as a main character, and her dynamic with the other characters, which often made it a really funny read as well.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daisy

    Firstly thank you to Hodder for sending me a copy of In The Ravenous Dark! This book is a standalone YA/NA dark fantasy - I would say it is on the cusp of both genres. It is definitely not for younger readers simply due to the nature of the book and there are many many times characters swear. I knew that when I saw the words 'pansexual polyamorous bloodmage' I needed to read this book. And it did not disappoint. I love love love Rovan, she is an absolute whirlwind who does not tolerate anyone's Firstly thank you to Hodder for sending me a copy of In The Ravenous Dark! This book is a standalone YA/NA dark fantasy - I would say it is on the cusp of both genres. It is definitely not for younger readers simply due to the nature of the book and there are many many times characters swear. I knew that when I saw the words 'pansexual polyamorous bloodmage' I needed to read this book. And it did not disappoint. I love love love Rovan, she is an absolute whirlwind who does not tolerate anyone's rubbish. The dynamic between Ivrilos and Rovan at the beginning of the book made me smirk so much, oh my gosh I had to put the book down for a few seconds because I was just laughing to myself. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship develop over the course of the novel, though at times I did want to punch Ivrilos in the face and give Rovan a hug. I also love Lydea, I think she is an utter badass. Japha is amazing too, their loyalty to Rovan was refreshing. I adored their wit and banter too. The characters do talk about sexuality and gender a fair few times throughout the book, and even though these discussions are important and educational it threw me off slightly as the rest of the book is heavy and bloody, so it just felt like a juxtaposition in my brain. I also did have some questions about the pace of the romance, but as soon as I remembered it is a standalone novel I answered my own question. I think if I did not see myself in Rovan, I would rate this four stars, but as this book gave me what I have wanted for a very very long time (a main character who has both a girlfriend and a boyfriend) and made me feel many emotions it is a five star for me. If you are looking for a queer bloody fantasy that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster then I think you will adore this. I have included some content warnings for In The Ravenous Dark below. Content Warnings: * blood and gore * violence * death * mention of suicide * enforced gender roles * threat of abuse of the main character * forced marriage and pregnancy (off-page) * on-page sex scenes (in my opinion they aren't graphic)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steph ✨

    We follow our main character Rovan who, as a young girl, watches her father die protecting her secret that she is a bloodmage. However, when several years have passed, Rovan accidentally reveals herself and is taken by the Palace to be warded by an undead spirit. As Rovan uncovers a secret that could destroy everyone and everything in Thanopolis, both living and undead, she must decide who she can trust to bring on a rebellion and fight for the City she's been desperate to leave. This book was p We follow our main character Rovan who, as a young girl, watches her father die protecting her secret that she is a bloodmage. However, when several years have passed, Rovan accidentally reveals herself and is taken by the Palace to be warded by an undead spirit. As Rovan uncovers a secret that could destroy everyone and everything in Thanopolis, both living and undead, she must decide who she can trust to bring on a rebellion and fight for the City she's been desperate to leave. This book was phenomenal. I can't remember the last time I saw so much queer rep in a book to be perfectly honest. Not only is our main character, Rovan, pansexual, but one of my favourite side characters, Japha, is non-binary. There is also asexual and lesbian characters as well as a consensual F/F/M love triangle, which isn't something I've come across before. A.M Strickland's writing style was fantastic and I'd be interesting in reading more from them in the future. In the Ravenous Dark was gritty, dark and fascinating and I'd highly recommend it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andy

    I loved this so much 😭😭😭😭

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alanna ❦

    OH MY GOSH PAN REP IN YA FANTASY???? A DREAM COME TRUE

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    DNF @60% and me trying to dnf books i’m not enjoying continues. i’m just not that into this, and while it certainly is bound to hit for other people it’s really not bringing me anything.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Maxwell

    This book is every bit as lush and dark and magical as its gorgeous cover 😍😍 so glad I got a chance to read an ARC

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jesse Ruth (I need all the book boyfriends please)

    Thank you Netgalley for this Arc! ❤ In the Ravenous Dark by A. M. Strickland is an intense and dark story full of dangerous magic and romance. Rovan lives in Thanopolis with her mother and has been hiding that she is a blood mage her whole life. However, all of that changes one day at the market place when Rovan's current lover is in danger and she uses blood magic to save her. The story continues with Rovan becoming a member of the life at the palace and mixing with royals while learning more ab Thank you Netgalley for this Arc! ❤ In the Ravenous Dark by A. M. Strickland is an intense and dark story full of dangerous magic and romance. Rovan lives in Thanopolis with her mother and has been hiding that she is a blood mage her whole life. However, all of that changes one day at the market place when Rovan's current lover is in danger and she uses blood magic to save her. The story continues with Rovan becoming a member of the life at the palace and mixing with royals while learning more about what exactly being a blood mage in Thanopolis entails. One of my favorite aspects to this book was the way A.M. Strickland wrote about gender and sexuality. I love how Rovan and her friends were able to talk about this and be who they truly are, at least around each other. Get ready for a fast paced and action packed story full of magic and love!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    ★★★★★ 4.5 stars This book is absolute madness and I loved every minute of it. In The Ravenous Dark is the deliciously dark fantasy story I didn’t know I needed. Packed with rich characters, incredible world building, creepy vibes and cute AF leads, I absolutely adored everything about this book. The book opens in the past, where seven year old Rovan witnesses her father die in an attempt to protect her secret; she is a powerful bloodmage. As the years progress, a now nineteen year old Rovan uses a ★★★★★ 4.5 stars This book is absolute madness and I loved every minute of it. In The Ravenous Dark is the deliciously dark fantasy story I didn’t know I needed. Packed with rich characters, incredible world building, creepy vibes and cute AF leads, I absolutely adored everything about this book. The book opens in the past, where seven year old Rovan witnesses her father die in an attempt to protect her secret; she is a powerful bloodmage. As the years progress, a now nineteen year old Rovan uses alcohol, sex and a fiery attitude to keep the world at a distance and her mother safe. When a reckless event leads to Rovan revealing her true self, she is taken to the Palace where she is warded to a guardian - an undead spirit named Ivrilos. From here, she learns more about her father, uncovers a dark plot, falls in love and fuels her own rebellious spirit with the help of a few good souls and a handsome shadow. I loved it all! With Rovan being pansexual and Japha (the best character) identifying as non-binary, there is some strong queer representation in this book. I loved that these character didn’t have to prove themselves to anyone and that their sexuality and gender identities are widely accepted - it was really refreshing. I also really enjoyed that there are so many consensual relationships in this book and even though there is a sort of F/F/M love triangle, it’s is born out of love in a way I haven’t read before. The whole thing is just beautifully done. Raven, Japha, Lydea and Ivrilos are one of my new favourite found families and I loved all the ways they supported, challenged and loved each other. There is some insta love in this book between Raven and her two partners (Lydea and Ivril) but given how fast paced the rest of the story is, it doesn’t actually detract from anything else. Besides, everyone is fucking cute and I was into it. Speaking of cute, Japha may be one of my favourite characters ever. They’re independent, loyal, wild and an absolute gem to be around - we would all be so lucky to have someone like them in our lives. While there are some elements I wish had been built out a little more, I can’t fault a book that I couldn’t put down. In The Ravenous Dark is a strong dark fantasy set in an intricate world and helmed by strong characters I adored. All the feels and all the stars for this near perfect fantasy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    4.5⭐ Thank you so much to Imprint and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy in exchange for an honest review Wow. This was absolutely amazing! I read very little of the synopsis (beyond the pitch) before going into this so a lot of this story took me by surprise. This book is hella queer, dark, gritty, and took me on a wild ride. I cannot wait to read more from A.M. in the future after devouring this fantastic fantasy! This story follows a young woman who has hidden her abilities as a blood mage her 4.5⭐ Thank you so much to Imprint and Netgalley for providing an e-arc copy in exchange for an honest review Wow. This was absolutely amazing! I read very little of the synopsis (beyond the pitch) before going into this so a lot of this story took me by surprise. This book is hella queer, dark, gritty, and took me on a wild ride. I cannot wait to read more from A.M. in the future after devouring this fantastic fantasy! This story follows a young woman who has hidden her abilities as a blood mage her entire life after witnessing mages kill her father for being unguarded. But after her powers are witnessed, she is whisked off to the palace, forced to bond with a spirit guardian, and then thrust in court politics. I adored each and every one of the characters in here. Roven can be a frustrating character at times, but it made her feel even more authentic as a 19 year old woman. She makes some selfish/poor decisions but I actually loved following an MC who didn't have all the right answers. She knows as little about politics and the world as the reader does going in, and she definitely doesn't figure it all out without trial. This book is so fantastically casually queer. This book is not about discovering sexuality or coming out in any way. Instead it's about living you life and loving whoever the hell you want. This book has on page pansexual rep, lesbian rep, non binary rep, asexual rep, and a poly relationship. This story took a WILD turn I wasn't expecting around the halfway point. And I loved it even more for that. This book explores family, love (in all it's forms), and has an epic battle of good versus evil. There is SO much packed into this standalone. There is never a single moment or page that isn't revealing something or moving the plot along. In fact, there was so much in here that I almost wish it had been a duology. Because this plot was so intricate, I felt like lost a little time and ability to sit with the characters and watch their relationships develop. But at the same time, I love having a complete story in one book and having a new standalone fantasy to recommend. Bonus - the audiobook for this is fantastically narrated! I always worry that fantasy books will be more difficult to follow via audio, but that was definitely not the case with this one! Not only is the narrator amazing, but the world building is flawlessly woven into the story, so there's no overwhelming info dumping to get lost in. Overall I was blown away by this dark fantasy. The themes were much gritty and darker than I was expecting and I would definitely classify this on the upper end of YA fantasy. But it's fantastically written with a complex and lush world and unique, wonderful characters.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bertie (LuminosityLibrary)

    This book was wonderfully dark and had absolutely amazing representation. The plot was also really fun and I enjoyed reading through it. I especially loved how well the pansexual and polyamorous representation was handled, so I'd definitely recommend it to people interested in that. The main reason I'm not rating it higher is because of the characters. Although I loved the idea of them, their bonding seemed to happen off-page and due to that their relationships felt rushed and unrealistic. This This book was wonderfully dark and had absolutely amazing representation. The plot was also really fun and I enjoyed reading through it. I especially loved how well the pansexual and polyamorous representation was handled, so I'd definitely recommend it to people interested in that. The main reason I'm not rating it higher is because of the characters. Although I loved the idea of them, their bonding seemed to happen off-page and due to that their relationships felt rushed and unrealistic. This is especially true with the romantic relationships, one of which seemed to be more sexual than anything else, and the other I felt nothing for. I really wanted to fall wholeheartedly into this book but it didn't completely work for me. CW: death, parent death, violence, blood, body horror, suicide mention, alcohol use, rape mention, rape threat, sexual content, forced marriage (Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.) If you enjoy diverse sci-fi, fantasy, and horror you should check out my Blog! You could also follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Toya (the reading chemist)

    After reading Beyond the Black Door and being a bit disappointed with the execution of the book, I still looked forward to the prospect of In the Ravenous Dark since I chalked up my grievances with the author’s previous book as a lack of experience since Beyond the Black Door was their debut. Well, it’s safe to say that I just am not a fan of the way that Strickland writes fantasy books. So what is incredible about this story is the queer normative world. Everyone is open about both sexual and g After reading Beyond the Black Door and being a bit disappointed with the execution of the book, I still looked forward to the prospect of In the Ravenous Dark since I chalked up my grievances with the author’s previous book as a lack of experience since Beyond the Black Door was their debut. Well, it’s safe to say that I just am not a fan of the way that Strickland writes fantasy books. So what is incredible about this story is the queer normative world. Everyone is open about both sexual and gender identity. Our MC Rovan is pansexual. Japha is non-binary and asexual. Lydea is lesbian. There’s no judgments on relationships, number of partners, etc. Loved all of those things. I also really enjoyed Rovan as a character. She’s feisty, strong-willed, independent, and literally doesn’t take anyone’s BS. Rovan is also messy and finds herself in some rather interesting predicaments thanks to her own decisions. What didn’t work for me is the plot and the execution. The world building takes a back seat in this book in favor of character development, so it’s rather nebulous until you get random info dumps that don’t really backfill all of the questions you have in the first place. There’s also a plot twist that happened about 60% into the book that I legitimately do not understand. I’m disappointed because there was so much potential in this story, but it ultimately left a lot to be desired. Thank you to Macmillan Audio for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaliyah Reads

    i’m not sure whether to rate this a 4.5/5 or a 5/5... I really loved the story but near the end it seemed rushed. I was also confused about a few aspects of the ending. I loved the 4 main characters sooo much, they were all so unique and beautiful!! Rovan (the main main character) was such a badass and i really loved that she didn’t pretend to be someone she wasn’t and she was unapologetically herself. Japah IS excellent! i loved them so much, I’ve never read about a character like them before. They i’m not sure whether to rate this a 4.5/5 or a 5/5... I really loved the story but near the end it seemed rushed. I was also confused about a few aspects of the ending. I loved the 4 main characters sooo much, they were all so unique and beautiful!! Rovan (the main main character) was such a badass and i really loved that she didn’t pretend to be someone she wasn’t and she was unapologetically herself. Japah IS excellent! i loved them so much, I’ve never read about a character like them before. They were so powerfully themselves. Lydea confused me. I did really like her but i was confused into who she was supposed to be for Rovan. Ivrilos...there’s something about him that just sparks✨ I really enjoyed is character! The enemies to lovers between Ivrilos and Rovan was a lot more subtle and less toxic then other enemies to lovers, which was refreshing! All and all a really good book :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brianna - Coffee Books and Bullet Journals

    It’s not often that I can see myself in a fantasy book. But this was so beautiful and queer and empowering. If you like characters that want to overthrow a misogynistic way of life and do things because they want to do them, then you will love this book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tori Kiersten Frost

    IN THE RAVENOUS DARK is a superb standalone fantasy brimming with wit, romance, and plenty of blood. If you made it through 2020 by playing HADES, this queer, polyamorous tale of a determined girl trying to escape a city ruled by death and dark magic needs to be the first thing on your 2021 wishlist.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ♠ Tabi⁷ ♠

    THIS COVER COULD SAVE 2020

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I so wanted to like this book. Being pansexual myself, I was eager to read a fantasy book about a main character who is also pan. Unfortunately, I could barely stand her most of the time and quite a few other things about the book just didn't work too well for me. Some of the things I did like: + It had quite a bit of LGBTQIAP+ representation. We had the MC, Rovan, who is pan, one of her love interests who is a lesbian, and a side character who is non-binary, asexual and panromantic. The main rom I so wanted to like this book. Being pansexual myself, I was eager to read a fantasy book about a main character who is also pan. Unfortunately, I could barely stand her most of the time and quite a few other things about the book just didn't work too well for me. Some of the things I did like: + It had quite a bit of LGBTQIAP+ representation. We had the MC, Rovan, who is pan, one of her love interests who is a lesbian, and a side character who is non-binary, asexual and panromantic. The main romance is also polyamourous. The book is set in a mostly queer normative/accepting world. + A couple of the plot twists were interesting. + The author wrote some excellent descriptions, especially in regards to clothing, which is good because there are a lot of clothing descriptions. Tons of them. And that's about it, I think. As I mentioned before, I really didn't like Rovan. She's very selfish and whiny throughout most of the book. One of my biggest issues with her was how she was supposed to be this Strong Female Character ™, but a good part of her powers actually come from Ivrilos, her male guardian, who is a ghost-like person tasked to guard her and others from her magic. There was even a scene where Rovan uses her newly inherited fighting skills (from Ivrilos, 'cause magic) and has to be rescued not once but twice by two different men. All in the same fight. And she's only in this fight to begin with because she goaded one of the obnoxiously evil villains. And this was before she even realized she had inherited her fighting skills. When it comes to the other characters, about the nicest thing I could say about any of them was that some were okay, such as Ivrilos, Japha, Lydea and some of the more minor characters whose names are already fading from my mind. Oh, and all the villains are super obnoxious and EVIL. No nuance at all. Actually, hardly any of the characters had more than one or two personality traits tops. Japha is obsessed with fashion and is affectionate, and that's about all that we learn about them. Lydea is a flirtatious lesbian who hates men. Check. That's about all we get to know about her. Ivrilos is a guardian...and that's it. He's protective and sounds about like any other protector character one would find in a YA fantasy. The relationships as well struck me as being very simplistic, with people becoming best friends or sworn enemies within minutes of meeting one another. I won't get into the romance side of things, but I will say that I'm really not a fan of love interests who are hundreds of years older than the YA protagonist they date. I could go into more about so many other aspects, as I found basically everything else lackluster, from the chaotically-paced story to the sparse world-building (aside from the magic systems which seemed very inconsistent), but I just don't have the energy right now. Maybe alt-world YA fantasy is just not for me. 2 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jay G

    Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* Rovan is a pansexual blood-mage. Since the death of her father when she was 7 years old, she has been hiding her powers from the Crown. When her powers are accidently uncovered, she is captured and brought to the palace to be assigned an undead spirit to keep her powers in line. Wishing to escape her new Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfer... *I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review* Rovan is a pansexual blood-mage. Since the death of her father when she was 7 years old, she has been hiding her powers from the Crown. When her powers are accidently uncovered, she is captured and brought to the palace to be assigned an undead spirit to keep her powers in line. Wishing to escape her new destiny, Rovan turns to two people she meets in the palace that she must learn to trust. As time goes on, they discover a secret that starts a rebellion between humans and the undead world. I was initially so excited for this when I first heard about the premise. A book featuring a polyamorous pansexual?! SIGN ME UP! I absolutely loved this story and the representation it brought in such a casual way. Rovan is pansexual, and such a bad ass character. She is fierce and feisty, she cares so deeply about her friends and family. I also adored the side characters as well. Lydea was a lesbian princess, who when you first meet her, aren't sure you can trust. Jafah was also wonderful, they are an asexual, nonbinary prince who stole my heart right from the first time they were on page. The found family in this is so well done. I also think the magic system was really interesting. These blood-mages and their powers fascinate me so much, I thought it was so cool that the bloodlines were passed down, but would kill the original person. I liked the idea of the undead spirits, but I also found them so creepy at the same time. I really liked Ivrilos and learning more about him and his background as the story progressed. I listened to this on audiobook, and I think the narrator did such a wonderful job with this story. I wish there was a sequel to this... I want more of these characters and I want them NOW.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Daryan

    I DO NOT HAVE WORDS GOODBYE tw: death of a parent, suicide, mention of rape

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    Okay, this is probably weird to say but I liked In the Ravenous Dark.. but it had super weird and confusing moments to it. It also went down some deep dark paths that I wasn't fully aware of which made it even more interesting and confusing at the same time. Still liked and enjoyed it all though! In this, you will meet Rovan. For almost all her life, she has been hiding the fact that she is a bloodmage. The reason why? Well, because she saw her dad dying in front of her eyes due to the fact that Okay, this is probably weird to say but I liked In the Ravenous Dark.. but it had super weird and confusing moments to it. It also went down some deep dark paths that I wasn't fully aware of which made it even more interesting and confusing at the same time. Still liked and enjoyed it all though! In this, you will meet Rovan. For almost all her life, she has been hiding the fact that she is a bloodmage. The reason why? Well, because she saw her dad dying in front of her eyes due to the fact that he was also a bloodmage. So, yeah, that definitely traumatized the shit out of her when she was little. Well, obviously not enough because she actually ends up saving her friend from dying with her magic. Oops? Things tend to go downhill for her after this because guess who isn't actually dead? Daddy. So she gets thrown into this new, and super horrible, life with her Dad and his new family. She also had to accept the bloodline which sounded like another horrible idea but she didn't really have a choice.. because certain assholes forced her into it. But details. Now not a whole lot happens in the first half of this book. Yeah, we get hints of a romance or two. Lots and lots of tension. You also get to dip your toes into Rovan's alcoholism because dang girl.. have you heard of water? Oh, you also get to meet a douchey prince who will make you plot his death quicker than ordering a glass of wine. Plus a ton of betrayal and death. I think my favorite parts were the action scenes. They were just very intriguing and made certain secrets become a bit clearer to me. In the end, this book had lots of lgbtqia+ representation which definitely made this a page turner. It also gave me a little found family that was just simply adorable to fall in love with. I just think it needed more action.. especially in the first half.

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