Ravenous: The epitome of a middle-of-the-road book

paranormal romance Sharon Ashwood Dark Forgotten Dark Forgotten 1. Ravenousurban fantasy book reviews Sharon Ashwood 1. RavenousRavenous by Sharon Ashwood

Ravenous is the epitome of a middle-of-the-road book. It’s an entertaining read, but not one I’d jump to recommend.

Classified as paranormal romance, Ravenous follows the structure of that genre, but also includes plenty of urban fantasy elements and will probably appeal to readers on that side of the subgenre divide. The central characters, Holly (a witch) and Alessandro (a vampire), fall in love while trying to prevent a demon from wreaking havoc in their city. Sharon Ashwood tells the story in third person, with the point of view alternating between Holly, Alessandro, and occasional others.

Ashwood’s best touch is probably the witch houses. In this universe, when a witch family lives in a house, the building absorbs a great deal of power and becomes partially sentient. We see two examples in the novel: one benevolent and one gone horribly wrong. Another fun aspect is the snarky humor:

Eternal life didn’t make a person anything besides old. The real value lay in what you did with all that time. As far as he could tell, most immortals wasted that opportunity on internal politics and fashion crimes.

On the other hand, the characters could have used more fleshing-out, as could the relationship between the leads. Holly and Alessandro initially meet and establish a friendship offscreen, before Ravenous begins, so we don’t get to see the formation of that bond. Instead, most of the development is sexual. One terrific exception is the scene where Holly calls Alessandro for comfort after dispatching a human-sized mouse, and he comes to her rescue even though he thinks she means a garden-variety rodent. This is one moment when the emotional connection between the characters really comes through. I’d have loved to see more moments like that. In addition, everything seems to fall into place a little too easily at the end.

Also disappointing is… [Spoiler: highlight it if you want to see it]… the revelation of the bad guy who orchestrated the demon summoning. This character, who had previously appeared complex, reveals himself as a one-note zealot willing to sacrifice anyone for his cause. He’s much more interesting, though, as he first appears — a well-meaning but weak man who lets his fears get the better of him.


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KELLY LASITER is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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One comment

  1. I agree with you on this book. I enjoyed it as a read, but it wasn’t anything new and exciting. But there was nothing wrong with the book. I’ve mentioned it to others but that its not really anything new. But the author did a good job writing it.

    Thanks for the review.

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