The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters
Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”
DNF @ 30%
Lately, I’ve stopped writing reviews for books that I DNF, but since I received an ARC of this in exchange for one, I figured a brief summary of why this didn’t work for me was necessary.
You should know that I adore Cat Winters. This is the first book by her that I haven’t flat-out loved. I will still one-click buy literally everything she writes, so take this review with a grain of salt.
Usually, I find her prose so enthralling that I tend to inhale her works in a single sitting. This one was a struggle to get through. And Winters for me has always had this haunting, poetic way of writing that stays with me long after I finish reading. For a book about a haunted poet, the writing here wasn’t up to her usual scratch.
This book read like it once had a lot of info dumps that were heavily edited out and instead shoved into dialogues and inner monologues in a way that felt forced. In the forward, Winters mentioned how much research she did for this. It shows. Not in a good way. Usually I find her world-building to be effortless and organic. This felt stilted and forced in comparison.
This also lacked her usual elegant prose. Instead, this story suffered beneath the mimicry of a century-old writing style.
So, brilliant concept, but the execution fell short for me.