Heart for the Ravens by Colin F. Barnes

I like the writing of Colin Barnes but didn’t think I’d like this book for a couple of reasons. First the cover. I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook quite a few people talking about how much they like this cover. I don’t. I have no idea why. If anything I should like a cover that looks like a modern take on an impressionist portrait with an added twist of darkness. The blurb also describes it as a modern take on Shelley which always worries me. Mary Shelley was one of the greatest and most under-rated authors of all time. It is hard to compare favourably to her work.

I was convinced by a lovely young lady over at Fox Spirit that I really should give this novella a try. So I did. I’m glad that I gave it a go. The main character Katerina Roeslling has an inquiring mind and does not see herself as just another investment potential for her father. Unfortunately her temerity to refuse a man in 19th century society sparked a chain of events that let to so much bad luck that she viewed herself as cursed. Her fringe science experiments result in a pair of tame Ravens named Radcliffe and Shelley. A gothic horror reference even I managed to note. I’m sure there are a few more that those more erudite than myself (not difficult) will pick out and enjoy. The word ‘heart’ is of key importance to the success of this story and although this story has some of the obvious horror tropes that I enjoy and expect there were some parts of this story that were more subtle than I expected.

Overall this is an enjoyable read that does justice to the concepts that made Shelley’s work great without being a direct re-working. It is well worth a read.


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