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The Raven

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Fearing that mankind is heading toward nuclear extinction, a group of geneticists unleash a plot to save the world. They've discovered that mythological creatures such as werewolves, vampires, witches, and satyrs were once real, and that these monstrous genetic strands are still present in human DNA. These radical scientists unleash the bestial side of human beings that ha Fearing that mankind is heading toward nuclear extinction, a group of geneticists unleash a plot to save the world. They've discovered that mythological creatures such as werewolves, vampires, witches, and satyrs were once real, and that these monstrous genetic strands are still present in human DNA. These radical scientists unleash the bestial side of human beings that had been dormant for eons, and within months, most people are dead, and bloodthirsty creatures rule the earth. Despite the fact that Dez McClane has no special powers, he is determined to atone for the lives he couldn't save and to save the woman he loves. But how long can a man survive in a world full of monsters?


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Fearing that mankind is heading toward nuclear extinction, a group of geneticists unleash a plot to save the world. They've discovered that mythological creatures such as werewolves, vampires, witches, and satyrs were once real, and that these monstrous genetic strands are still present in human DNA. These radical scientists unleash the bestial side of human beings that ha Fearing that mankind is heading toward nuclear extinction, a group of geneticists unleash a plot to save the world. They've discovered that mythological creatures such as werewolves, vampires, witches, and satyrs were once real, and that these monstrous genetic strands are still present in human DNA. These radical scientists unleash the bestial side of human beings that had been dormant for eons, and within months, most people are dead, and bloodthirsty creatures rule the earth. Despite the fact that Dez McClane has no special powers, he is determined to atone for the lives he couldn't save and to save the woman he loves. But how long can a man survive in a world full of monsters?

30 review for The Raven

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    My thanks to Flame Tree Press, Jonathan Janz and Netgalley. I can truly say that I never know what to expect with this man! I'm not sure what I was expecting with "The Raven." I'm not certain, but I may have received more than I expected. I need more. That's not to say that this tale is the bomb diggity! Because it's not. But, it's one of those stories that I feel I should reserve judgement on. Yeah!😤😍.I tend to do that on Fantasy. I have a soft spot for fantasy. That's why I don't read much of i My thanks to Flame Tree Press, Jonathan Janz and Netgalley. I can truly say that I never know what to expect with this man! I'm not sure what I was expecting with "The Raven." I'm not certain, but I may have received more than I expected. I need more. That's not to say that this tale is the bomb diggity! Because it's not. But, it's one of those stories that I feel I should reserve judgement on. Yeah!😤😍.I tend to do that on Fantasy. I have a soft spot for fantasy. That's why I don't read much of it. Stupid? Sure. But, I once loved horror too! I'm saving my judgement for the next book. Let's see how it all comes together. Dear, mother nature!.I hope it's not a trilogy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Happy Publication Day to Jonathan Janz and The Raven!!! I need to get to this soon. 'Tis the season, after all. Original: OH YEAH!!! Thank you for my ARC, Flame Tree Press. I am really excited about this one! This. Sounds. Amazing. Happy Publication Day to Jonathan Janz and The Raven!!! I need to get to this soon. 'Tis the season, after all. Original: OH YEAH!!! Thank you for my ARC, Flame Tree Press. I am really excited about this one! This. Sounds. Amazing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    A decent enough read but as a dystopian monster fest a little underwhelming. Sure, there were some gory and fun fight scenes, but even they couldn't distract me from the fact that I was bored by this book. There's nothing at all here to really grab you. The main character is bland, his repeated escapes unlikely, and there was nobody to connect to save one late addition whose POV we don't get due to everything being narrated by Dull Dez. The blurb puts this right in my wheelhouse but the fact that A decent enough read but as a dystopian monster fest a little underwhelming. Sure, there were some gory and fun fight scenes, but even they couldn't distract me from the fact that I was bored by this book. There's nothing at all here to really grab you. The main character is bland, his repeated escapes unlikely, and there was nobody to connect to save one late addition whose POV we don't get due to everything being narrated by Dull Dez. The blurb puts this right in my wheelhouse but the fact that a book with all this potenial awesome doesn't manage to hit even the basic level of crazy that I usually love... well... that shows just how disappointing it was. It's just ok. All of it. ARC via Netgalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    This was a raving bloody romp through apocalypse proportions! A little backstory for you readers: An event known as the Four Winds decimated life and created new life in forms of creatures that roam the earth. Dez McClane survived the Four Winds but has to endure the inhabitants around him which include monsters from every form of life. Everything is in this book including Minotaurs that have free rein throughout the world. Dez is not one of these creatures as he is human which in this world is kn This was a raving bloody romp through apocalypse proportions! A little backstory for you readers: An event known as the Four Winds decimated life and created new life in forms of creatures that roam the earth. Dez McClane survived the Four Winds but has to endure the inhabitants around him which include monsters from every form of life. Everything is in this book including Minotaurs that have free rein throughout the world. Dez is not one of these creatures as he is human which in this world is known as Latent and he is has no superhuman abilities either. Dez has to travel through the terrain in search of his partner Susan but by searching for her, Dez will have to fight and survive the creatures roaming this world. Thoughts: This was a whole different concept for author, Jonathan Janz as he moved into horror apocalyptic, but with this book he stepped out into what I would call a cross between urban fantasy, modern day western, and science fiction horror. I can say it was different but there are horror elements integrated within the story with the creatures which include vampires, werewolves, cannibals, etc. just to name a few and there is tons of extreme gore interlaced through the story as well which takes the storyline into extreme splatterpunk. Lots of twists, turns, edge of the seat pacing and descriptive blood/gore scenes that kept my attention throughout the story! Giving this one five stars for creative imagination and graphic horror scenes that will make horror readers scream for more! My thanks to Netgally and Flame Tree Press for letting me review this ARC.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror

    Blurb: "It’s my opinion that Janz has found a new niche genre for himself with THE RAVEN. I’m pleased that ending leaves this story and this universe, wide open for more. I’m a fan." Full review coming to Cemetery Dance close to the release date.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly

    THE RAVEN is a post-dystopian novel by author Jonathan Janz. In this new world--which begins two years after a catastrophic event that . . . changes . . . many of mankind--we go along with Dez, a lone man searching for someone who was taken from him. ". . . He hoped it wouldn't get him killed." The characters we encounter are all unique. For example, Dez is a "Latent", which in this new era equates a "normal" person without any kind of extra or supernatural abilities. Powerless, some would say. THE RAVEN is a post-dystopian novel by author Jonathan Janz. In this new world--which begins two years after a catastrophic event that . . . changes . . . many of mankind--we go along with Dez, a lone man searching for someone who was taken from him. ". . . He hoped it wouldn't get him killed." The characters we encounter are all unique. For example, Dez is a "Latent", which in this new era equates a "normal" person without any kind of extra or supernatural abilities. Powerless, some would say. Others run the gauntlet, incorporating all manner of beings. The one thing that really stands out to me, is that no matter what the situation, there are always humans looking to exploit it for their personal gain. ". . . Deep down, the human race is--or was--pretty goddamned selfish . . ." The action starts out strong, with breaks for introspective thoughts by our main characters on things that happened in the past. Although these sections give us the backstory of what caused the world to be as it was now, other parts--where Dez obsessed over his lover and son--got a bit repetitious as the novel went on. ". . . Everyone looks human. No one looks like a monster, not all of the time . . ." The creativity and magnitude of the different "groups" here was staggering. Almost anything you could think up was addressed at some point. this is a novel that could easily become a series, in my opinion, as there was so much left unexplored yet. "You learned, or you died." Overall, a novel of epic proportions, catering to horror lovers of all kinds. The idea presented could easily be expanded on in sequels, although this book concluded well enough for its own story. I did feel that some of Dez's thoughts got a bit repetitious, and others were just unnecessary to the plot. However, my general opinion was a fast paced tale--with a few "lulls" in the action--that tackles a subject I would love to read more about. ". . . there was some good in the world, but you had to look hard to find it." Recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    The Raven is a veritable monsters ball of action horror which doesn't let up from the first pulse pounding fight scene to the epic bloodbath of a conclusion. Dez is a latent living in a world of mythological creatures made real thanks to a near extension-level-event caused by a group of rouge scientists who released airborne pathogens into the atmosphere - either killing or transforming the worlds human populace. However, a select few survived in their 'native' state, and that's where The Raven c The Raven is a veritable monsters ball of action horror which doesn't let up from the first pulse pounding fight scene to the epic bloodbath of a conclusion. Dez is a latent living in a world of mythological creatures made real thanks to a near extension-level-event caused by a group of rouge scientists who released airborne pathogens into the atmosphere - either killing or transforming the worlds human populace. However, a select few survived in their 'native' state, and that's where The Raven comes in. The book is largely a dark and dangerous search and rescue mission with survival horror and action themes as Dez travels far and wide in search of his partner Susan who had been taken by force by a band of marauders. Along the way Dez encounters werewolves, cannibals, a telekinetic, and a bunch of other mythical creepies; dispatching some with brutal efficiency while taking licks from others - the fighting is relentless. The setting is intimidating and intriguing and the concept allows for further exploration of the new world inhabitants and their stories. Fingers crossed this is the start of something much larger.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Schizanthus Nerd

    Humans have always been monsters. We just needed a push to embrace our shadow side. In a world of monsters, Dez is a Latent. That sounds fancy, like his superpowers are just about to emerge. It actually means Dez is one of the few people that don’t have any powers, which is especially unfortunate considering he’s surrounded by cannibals, vampires, werewolves and satyrs. Dez has managed, against all odds, to survive for two years since the Four Winds but any moment could be his last. Although it Humans have always been monsters. We just needed a push to embrace our shadow side. In a world of monsters, Dez is a Latent. That sounds fancy, like his superpowers are just about to emerge. It actually means Dez is one of the few people that don’t have any powers, which is especially unfortunate considering he’s surrounded by cannibals, vampires, werewolves and satyrs. Dez has managed, against all odds, to survive for two years since the Four Winds but any moment could be his last. Although it was the promise of monsters and blood spatter that drew me to this book, it was Dez himself that sucked me in. Despite all of the horrors he’s witnessed and participated in to stay alive, he has retained his humanity. He still has feelings. The grief and guilt he lives with for surviving while so many of his loved ones didn’t threatens to consume him. Although the odds are very slim that she’s still alive, Dez maintains hope of finding Susan, who he last saw being dragged away. I learned enough about Dez’s personal history to become invested in his survival. The details provided about the various monsters enabled me to picture them, but I also understood that Dez still has a lot to learn, if only he can survive long enough. So much blood is shed you could probably swim laps in it. I’m a huge fan of visceral horror so loved the descriptions of the carnage, where “shredded guts oozed like wine drenched cutlets” and a “chest was a wicker weave of stringed meat”. I’m really hoping for a sequel that will take me to Blood Country. Some answers are given in this book. New people and monsters are introduced, and many are eviscerated, bludgeoned and ripped to shreds. But we’re on a journey here, and we’re not even close to the finish line. We need to search for loved ones, get to know new acquaintances (who are hopefully trustworthy) and battle more monsters. This book surprised me in the best possible way. When I first saw the cover image I found it striking but didn’t really think it was signalling that this was the book for me. It was the blurb that enticed me and I’m so glad I took a chance on The Raven because it was a winner. I’m definitely going to be seeking out more books by this author. Content warnings include mention of death by suicide, drug addiction and sexual assault. I’m all for slicing and dicing so I was keen for the gruesome deaths, though I was concerned about the satyrs and the potential for on page sexual assaults. Thankfully, while past assaults are mentioned, graphic details were not provided. Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for the opportunity to read this book. I’m rounding up from 4.5 stars. Blog - https://schizanthusnerd.com

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This is one of those books I would never have heard of were it not for GR a post-apocalyptic thriller generally does not fit in my taste in books and they tend to be bloody doorstops of books. This one is actually quite lean and mean clocking 245 pages of story which is kind of readable if the book is less than satisfying. For the good news the writer does know how to write and tell a story, he does not meander a lot about what happened to get Dez McClane's story going. As a latent his DNA had not This is one of those books I would never have heard of were it not for GR a post-apocalyptic thriller generally does not fit in my taste in books and they tend to be bloody doorstops of books. This one is actually quite lean and mean clocking 245 pages of story which is kind of readable if the book is less than satisfying. For the good news the writer does know how to write and tell a story, he does not meander a lot about what happened to get Dez McClane's story going. As a latent his DNA had nothing to rewrite so Dez remains a normal human being while he manages to stay alive among the horrors of mythological creatures who were hidden in our DNA all along. A simple story of a man looking for his stolen mate in a world that is unrecognizable for us, Dez is nothing special if not very goal minded. A really fascinating and good read I can only advise you to read, it might become a series I do not know but if I would gladly return. If not that deserves some kudos too for leaving this very successful scenery for just one book instead of an extended series. Which is my main problem with fantasy they tend to put out sequel after sequel to keep the cash register going. Anyhow do read the book it is worthy of attention.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Levi Walls

    A runaway train of post-apocalyptic horror, suspense, gore, and fun—flying down the tracks. You don’t want to look, but you can’t look away. If you like post-apocalyptic stories, or just supernatural or horror in general, you have to read this book! Then again I’d recommend every Janz book that has ever been written to just about anyone that isn’t squeamish. Another masterful book from arguably my favorite author, who I would put up there with the likes of Robert Mccammon instead of another supe A runaway train of post-apocalyptic horror, suspense, gore, and fun—flying down the tracks. You don’t want to look, but you can’t look away. If you like post-apocalyptic stories, or just supernatural or horror in general, you have to read this book! Then again I’d recommend every Janz book that has ever been written to just about anyone that isn’t squeamish. Another masterful book from arguably my favorite author, who I would put up there with the likes of Robert Mccammon instead of another super well known horror author, because not only can he birth the most amazing tales, but he can also completely land the ending. Shots fired, but that’s my opinion. Mccammon and Janz are two of the most powerful kings to me 😲😲 It bears stating that I have found that I hate supernatural or unbelievable style in horror, unless it’s executed very well. “Look, it’s a chupacabra,” or, “Hey, there are bushes shaped like animals chasing me.” Those things just bug me when they’re not handled correctly. I’ve never had this problem with Janz. After loving every single Janz read, Children of the Dark was the first book of his that I thought would turn me off, but Janz drug me in and made every single far-fetched thing believable. I’ve never doubted him again. Raven is even more over the top, but Janz again makes everything seem so possible and spins the tale it in new and unique ways that drag you in and won’t let go. I love his pacing, his usage of just the right amount of humor at the correct times, and his analogies. If you’ve read Janz and haven’t noticed that his unique analogies are unrivaled in their field, then have you really read Janz? 😂 In every Janz book there are horror moments that are mind-blowingly matchless and singular to Janz. (The tooth brushing scene in Exorcist Falls, the member scooping scene in Wolfland, etc.) In Raven we have a shriveled “Mushroom” welcome sign to a den of iniquity and a “heady” railing. I would also add the forehead/face biting scene as a contender. Excited?! You’ll have to read it to find out! On top of all this, Janz named the main character after me!!! 🤣😂Ok, so it’s a very minor character and completely not named after me, but I can pretend, right?! The ending is tied up in a perfect bow, as Janz so deftly does, but also left open for a return to this world. I’m in. I can’t wait to go back. Janz for president. I’m out. Peace. P.s. sorry for gushing, he’s my favorite author. Read the book, there is better gushing in there. Gobbets of flesh and rivulets of blood like tributaries from a Stygian river........

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michael Hicks

    The Raven, Jonathan Janz’s latest horror romp, is both a departure from the neo-gothic style he’s perfected over the course of his career with works like The Sorrows, House of Skin, and The Dark Game, and a continuation of several familiar hallmarks from the author’s career. It treads new ground for Janz, while also feeling a bit like a culmination of the man’s work to date with a promise to chart new horizons in the immediate future. Dez is the survivor of an apocalyptic event known as the Four The Raven, Jonathan Janz’s latest horror romp, is both a departure from the neo-gothic style he’s perfected over the course of his career with works like The Sorrows, House of Skin, and The Dark Game, and a continuation of several familiar hallmarks from the author’s career. It treads new ground for Janz, while also feeling a bit like a culmination of the man’s work to date with a promise to chart new horizons in the immediate future. Dez is the survivor of an apocalyptic event known as the Four Winds, which populated the world with monsters. He’s also a Latent, one of the few humans left that do not possess any type of supernatural power, which makes him an easy target for the cannibals, vampires, werewolves, and other assorted nasties populating this changed Earth. Hunting for his kidnapped lover, Susan, he routinely comes into contact with these monstrosities, and Janz wastes no time showing us the marked depravity to which humanity has succumbed. The Raven hits the ground running with an opening sequence of high brutality that immediately lets you know Janz ain’t playing around here and sets the tone for the story that follows. Over the course of roughly a dozen novels, Janz has shown an impeccable knack for crafting immediately loathsome characters, while also giving us some unexpected twists on common tropes. The Raven has a planet full of deplorable characters, but few are as bad as Keaton, a barman and trafficker of humans for the cannibals and vampires of Indiana’s wilderness. The book itself is also a nifty, off-beat twist on the post-apocalyptic genre itself, taking the premise of “humans are the worst monsters” to the next level by literally making humans into actual, honest-to-goodness monsters of legend and lore. Two years ago, terrorists launched an attack with the aid of rogue scientists who had managed to unlock the mysteries of the junk DNA in our genetic code. Turns out, all the horror legends we’ve grown up with in books and movies actually existed long ago. Vampires were as real as you and I once upon a time, as were werewolves, witches, and all the rest, but as mankind’s population grew these horrifying traits were bred or persecuted out out of human genes. The Four Winds terror attack managed to re-trigger these ancient abilities and destroy contemporary mankind, returning society to a state of barbarism populated almost entirely by monsters. It’s a premise that coasts along on pulpy comic book or video game logic, so don’t expect a lot of actual hard science here. You just have to enjoy it for the fun premise it is. It’s also a premise that allows Janz to go back to some familiar creatures he’s dabbled with previously in works like Dust Devils and Wolf Land, as well as mash together a few genres to create some layered tones and atmosphere that work exceptionally well. With its focus on a lone hero wandering the wastelands to save his girl and bring justice to those who captured her, heading for Keaton and his tavern of depravities, The Raven has a rich Western genre aesthetic to it, at times feeling like a post-apocalyptic, creature-laden Man With No Name flick. I'm always game for some Weird Westerns, and I good and truly dug that Janz leaned hard into this mode of storytelling. The Raven is assuredly some fun post-apocalyptic monster mayhem, but what makes it all the more special for me is the fact that it's a post-apocalyptic spaghetti western! The Raven is also the first in a proposed series, and Janz leaves enough plot threads dangling to lure readers back for more. Thankfully, Janz has created a monstrous enough world filled with plenty of potential and promise that I’m more than eager to return to again. There's a lot of directions this series can take and I'm curious to see what directions Janz goes in with future installments and how the relationships between Dez and his small cadre of fellow survivors develop.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Scott Neumann

    It's been 2 years since a man-made plague has been unleashed upon the world reverting most human beings into creatures of myth, which was locked within our DNA. Dez McClane is what as known as a latent a human who has not turned at all. He has been on a quest to find Susan another latent who was kidnapped for sale to highest bidder. This is a fast paced gore filled romp through a world that has essentially become the wild west. If your fan of vampires, werewolves, cannibals, people with psychic p It's been 2 years since a man-made plague has been unleashed upon the world reverting most human beings into creatures of myth, which was locked within our DNA. Dez McClane is what as known as a latent a human who has not turned at all. He has been on a quest to find Susan another latent who was kidnapped for sale to highest bidder. This is a fast paced gore filled romp through a world that has essentially become the wild west. If your fan of vampires, werewolves, cannibals, people with psychic powers etc. you are sure to enjoy this. A bit different for Jonathan Janz, but that's what makes him one of my favorites, always trying something new.

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Coycaterpillar Reads

    What do you associate with an awesome reading experience? The final page has been digested, the last word consumed, and time feels like it has literally stood still. The Raven made me feel like I was in a different place…in a different time. The book felt like it was magnetised to my fingers. If I had to put it down to do you know, adulty things, I ended up looking for any excuse to get straight back to it. I’m ashamed to say that this was my first Jonathan Janz book, but it will a gazillion per What do you associate with an awesome reading experience? The final page has been digested, the last word consumed, and time feels like it has literally stood still. The Raven made me feel like I was in a different place…in a different time. The book felt like it was magnetised to my fingers. If I had to put it down to do you know, adulty things, I ended up looking for any excuse to get straight back to it. I’m ashamed to say that this was my first Jonathan Janz book, but it will a gazillion per cent not be the last. The Raven was fully inhaled in one sitting and I was all in and invested in the story. I was carried away by the cognitively pleasing atmosphere and a narrative style that just etched a lasting impression upon my soul. This being my first book by Janz, I wasn’t sure just what I was letting myself in for. It was a closed door, I needed the key that would open up a whole new world that I just needed to explore. The narrative is so pleasingly savage and brutal with monsters, potential human extinction and scary as shit DNA lying dormant. My true love is horror and one that is written so perfectly such as this gives me the book hangover to end all hangovers. The Raven is just so compulsive and dark that it reminds me of the crack in the earth’s crust after a monumental earthquake. Dez McClane is a survivor in the days after an apocalyptic event known as The Shift. He is trying to find his way/path in unknown territory. He is now faced with trying to survive in a world where the monsters of our nightmares are very very real. He’s unremarkable at first, but isn’t that how all of the worlds hero’s start off? Jonathan Janz’ characterisation is a strong, swift kick to the genitals. He highlights humanity’s strengths and weaknesses, actions and consequences and death and loss being the prominent themes being portrayed through-out. This bleak world will come to life before your eyes and the characters will call out to you just like a lamenting swan song…its beautiful but devastatingly haunting. I don’t really want to reveal anything further about the plot, you need to experience the emotions that this book will wreck upon you. The Raven had me always pulling towards the lone wolf element of the story. He’s been through a lot and continues to do so. It’s not a fairy-tale but real life and the damage that can be wrought upon the world. We can end up alone and fighting not only the beasts within our head but apparently “fictional” ones too. I’m glad I took the leap and I’ll be back for more. The Raven is a humdinger of a Apocalyptic horror. Janz creates characters that you can relate to, who have your instant respect and then thrusts them into situations that are our deep-seated fears. Hypnotically readable.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Reynolds

    If ever a novel was right up my street it was this one. A spaghetti western action-horror in a post-apocalyptic landscape, with a serious nod to "from dusk till dawn", crammed full of mythical monsters and beasties. It is a well worn trope to have the protagonist in stories of this nature be some mysterious, almost invincible figure but Janz avoids falling into this pitfall by having Dez prove to be oh so fallible. He doubts himself and his actions, especially when in life or death situations, f If ever a novel was right up my street it was this one. A spaghetti western action-horror in a post-apocalyptic landscape, with a serious nod to "from dusk till dawn", crammed full of mythical monsters and beasties. It is a well worn trope to have the protagonist in stories of this nature be some mysterious, almost invincible figure but Janz avoids falling into this pitfall by having Dez prove to be oh so fallible. He doubts himself and his actions, especially when in life or death situations, feels guilt for those that he has failed previously and often seems utterly outmatched when faced with a werewolf, vampire, cannibal or any of the other monsters he encounters on his quest. Highly recommended. One of the most fun horror reads I have had this year.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tod

    THE RAVEN by Jonathan Janz is my favorite book by Janz so far which is really saying something because I love his work. THE RAVEN has great characters and an extremely wide range of different baddies and Janz makes it work with the kind of amazing characterization Janz fans have come to expect from his books. I have read that Janz plans to make THE RAVEN into the first book in a series which has me excited because I want more adventures in this world Jonathan Janz has created.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Rolfe

    Monsters, monsters everywhere! Another rad adventure from the mind of Jonathan Janz. A really fun setup and cool cast of characters to venture through the post-apocalyptic world with in Janz's latest offering, THE RAVEN. Lots of action and some nice and even a few thought-provoking sentiments. If you dig Janz or post-apocalyptic novels, you will love this.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Well Read Beard

    2.5 Stars The Raven is an apocalyptic story where monsters walk and rule the earth. This monster DNA was still present within us. The extinction event wasn't so much as an extinction event as it was an awakening. An awakening of the monsters inside of us. Hold on to that thought, hold onto the idea that the monsters were already here. Hold on to the idea that they were just sleeping and needed an event to wake up. So that's the gist, the world is full of vampires, cannibals, werewolves, witches, 2.5 Stars The Raven is an apocalyptic story where monsters walk and rule the earth. This monster DNA was still present within us. The extinction event wasn't so much as an extinction event as it was an awakening. An awakening of the monsters inside of us. Hold on to that thought, hold onto the idea that the monsters were already here. Hold on to the idea that they were just sleeping and needed an event to wake up. So that's the gist, the world is full of vampires, cannibals, werewolves, witches, satyrs, telekinetics and about everything else you can imagine. There are very few humans or "latents" left that haven't already become food for some other creature. We follow Dez, a latent, who was an English teacher pre event. We open up on a scene with cannibals. I enjoyed the opening. It was exciting and harrowing. We get some gruesome kills early that kind of sets the tone for what Dez is facing in the new ugly world. Before I get into the next part, I will say that while I was unaware of it, this book feels like a part 1. It feels like we will be coming back to this world. However, not knowing that, the story felt kind of small for the length of the book. I have read a bunch of novellas where I say "that should have been longer" or "I wanted more". This book felt like it could have been a novella. Dez is on a path to the Four Winds bar to square something from his past. The synopsis says he is trying to atone for the family he couldn't save and save the woman he loves. Annnd... That's kind of the rest of it, kind of one tracked. Big bar scene, bar fights, creatures, monsters, but it is very busy. Example: we are told about the viciousness of vampires, basically waiting to cross paths with them, and they literally get like 5 minutes of screen time. On the note of screen time, I will say that the fight scenes are really well done and had a real feel of playing out cinematically. I just didn't love the story. This is my 4th Janz read and my least favorite of those four. The Siren and The Spectre is still my favorite. Now, that's it. That's where I was going to leave it, but... in writing this, I found something. The monsters lying dormant in us part. They just needed an event to be set free. There is a line on page 113 about racism, homophobia, prejudices never going away. People just got better at hiding it. Now, in the apocalyps the prejudices were free to reign, like the monsters. I really dug that part. I dig that this world of the monsters showing who they are is somewhat a parallel of the current climate. People show us who they really are every single day on social media. This makes me feel old, but you used to be able to live next door to your neighbor and never really know who they were voting for, if they were a racist, if they were a misogynist and so on. Now? They fly it from their flagpoles, literaly and figuratively. There were some other parts I liked: The mechanism on page 11. The bit about human nature on page 28. The meaning of terrorist on page 84. Clean air on page 112. Depravity on page 125. Cool little reference to I Am Legend, as well as a bit of Hank on the box.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    I'm not that keen on apocalyptic novel but I got to admit that I really enjoyed this one. Jonathan Janz has become a must-read for me and I'm so glad I had the chance to read an ARC via NetGalley and the publisher. This novel is well-written, has interesting characters and a fun plot, and it’s really scary. The journey these fictitious people take to stay alive will grab you from page one and make you want to read it in one sitting. If not, you'll find yourself grabbing the book whenever time pe I'm not that keen on apocalyptic novel but I got to admit that I really enjoyed this one. Jonathan Janz has become a must-read for me and I'm so glad I had the chance to read an ARC via NetGalley and the publisher. This novel is well-written, has interesting characters and a fun plot, and it’s really scary. The journey these fictitious people take to stay alive will grab you from page one and make you want to read it in one sitting. If not, you'll find yourself grabbing the book whenever time permits. That's what happened to me. I look forward to read anything else by this talented man.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve Stred

    ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews** DNF First off, let me start by saying, I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Janz. Wolf Land, Children of the Dark, The Dark Game etc. I still need to get to Siren and the Spectre and Savage Species, but that’ll be happening shortly. Second off, The Raven was a DNF for me. I’ll go into that here shortly, but I went back and forth between writing a review or just putting a few comments on Goodreads about it, but ultimately, each book is an individual ** Edited as review is now live on Kendall Reviews** DNF First off, let me start by saying, I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Janz. Wolf Land, Children of the Dark, The Dark Game etc. I still need to get to Siren and the Spectre and Savage Species, but that’ll be happening shortly. Second off, The Raven was a DNF for me. I’ll go into that here shortly, but I went back and forth between writing a review or just putting a few comments on Goodreads about it, but ultimately, each book is an individual’s experience. So, here is my experience, and I’m hoping that maybe what I say will still get some of you to buy it. What I liked: The Raven is a post-apoc book set in the not-so-distant future, following an ‘end of world’ bomb event. The difference here is that some crazy scientists dropped bombs that turned some people into cannibals, some vampires and some werewolves. This left some folk as normal or ‘latents.’ The book picks up in the middle of some action. Dex, our MC has stumbled on some people in the woods, as he continues to make his way to the mysterious Four Winds Bar. Janz writes with such ease that the choreography described was easily pictured as a big-budget, Hollywood action film. I was intrigued with the notebooks our character kept with him and with the amount I read, we find out that he’s struggling with feelings of being a failure over not being able to save his family. It really humanized a character that needs to kill to stay alive. What I didn’t like: For me personally, I’ve fallen off the enjoyment of shows like The Walking Dead where it’s people trying to survive against the elements and the undead coming to kill them and at points, I thought I was reading a book about Daryl with his crossbow. For someone to survive on their own for so long, Dex sure made a lot of bonehead decisions in the 30% of the book I read and that was what ultimately made me stop reading. I couldn’t comprehend that this guy would be killing vampires and werewolves yet let someone walk up behind him and apprehend him. The thing that ultimately did it in for me was Dex coming across a strange old man and willingly followed him into his house, all in the hopes that the man had popcorn. Why you should buy it: Janz is one of the best horror writers out there. He has produced a number of truly stunning releases and there are more coming down the road for sure. While The Raven ultimately missed its mark with me, for old fans and new, it offers a fun action/adventure romp where killing is Dex’s business… and business is good.

  20. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    I actually finished this a bit ago, but wanted to think a while before writing the review. You see, I saw so many unabashed five star reviews of this online and I was just: I mean, I liked it… The book is good. You have a main character who is almost iconic. There are breathtaking action sequences and moments of pure heartbreak. And…I liked it. I didn’t completely love it. You see, it took me a while to buy into this world. I had so many questions about the various supernaturals and the hows and t I actually finished this a bit ago, but wanted to think a while before writing the review. You see, I saw so many unabashed five star reviews of this online and I was just: I mean, I liked it… The book is good. You have a main character who is almost iconic. There are breathtaking action sequences and moments of pure heartbreak. And…I liked it. I didn’t completely love it. You see, it took me a while to buy into this world. I had so many questions about the various supernaturals and the hows and the whys and especially about the cannibals that it kind of interrupted the world for me. At times, instead of just enjoying the ride, my mind was full of questions. While the author did eventually answer each one of those questions, it wasn’t a seamless read for me. I still liked it. I love the author and will be first on board for whatever he brings me next. This one just gave me the occasional hiccup. *ARC Provided via Net Galley

  21. 5 out of 5

    The Grim Reader

    Huge fun. Review to follow.

  22. 4 out of 5

    D.K. Hundt

    ’Experiments and risks. What images do those words conjure? Laboratories and test tubes? Petrie dishes and beakers?’ ’How about the manipulation of human genetics?’ ’No one saw their plot coming, which meant the human race was uniquely unequipped to deal with the fallout once it began. Here’s something no one else knew: The reason why the same legends show up in all cultures is that the legends aren’t really legends.’ I love the creatures that feature in THE RAVEN. I had a blast reading this book, ’Experiments and risks. What images do those words conjure? Laboratories and test tubes? Petrie dishes and beakers?’ ’How about the manipulation of human genetics?’ ’No one saw their plot coming, which meant the human race was uniquely unequipped to deal with the fallout once it began. Here’s something no one else knew: The reason why the same legends show up in all cultures is that the legends aren’t really legends.’ I love the creatures that feature in THE RAVEN. I had a blast reading this book, specifically, that scene in the kitchen, and just prior—the tension build-up was fantastic!! Thank you, NetGalley and Flame Tree Press, for loaning me an eGalley of THE RAVEN in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zoé-lee O'farrell

    This may be a ranting review because Mr Janz what are you doing to me!!! I really bloody hope there is another book and you know maybe a third or a fourth! I was enjoying the book, it was intense there at the end and then…then…bam…Acknowledgements. Now I checked my kindle just in case I was missing something, check my book to see if I was missing pages or anything had come loose. I text Kate (Portable Magic) to ask if it was the same for her. I can’t repeat what I said to her afterwards, it’s to This may be a ranting review because Mr Janz what are you doing to me!!! I really bloody hope there is another book and you know maybe a third or a fourth! I was enjoying the book, it was intense there at the end and then…then…bam…Acknowledgements. Now I checked my kindle just in case I was missing something, check my book to see if I was missing pages or anything had come loose. I text Kate (Portable Magic) to ask if it was the same for her. I can’t repeat what I said to her afterwards, it’s too spoiler territory but she did laugh at me. I howled at the moon in despair, wait what?! But no bottom line is, I had the complete book and ebook, I’m not missing anything. My other conclusion is that Mr Janz has finished the book and maybe it cut off at the printers? Or he forgot to send that bit to the publishers? I can come up with many theories here but none of this detracts what a wild ride this book is! Now everyone who is anyone in my little bubble knows that this author, the legend that he is, is my go-to for all things spooky and gory. This is most definitely the gory side of things, I did also make the mistake of starting this book on my lunch break. Now nothing normally puts me off my food, ever, but this book well I might have felt slightly queasy, so that is an accomplishment there! I mean if flayed penises are your thing at lunchtime come on over and join the crew. The worrying thing about The Raven is I have always a small fear about books and films about a chemical that can make people into zombies, carry the virus which makes them crazy, you know the everyday world we are living in now!! So when this book pops up, I don’t read the blurb, don’t need to, but man this book could be just as real as any other romance or thriller we read. This is a lab-based virus which wipes people out, and then others with “junk” DNA can turn in to a whole array of mystical creatures it’s astounding. Something I think could happen now! I mean hello Resident Evil, Covid? I have so many theories with this book but I can’t share them here for the fear of spoiling but if you read it and want to discuss feel free to message me! I have theories behind why he is called The Raven. I have theories about the Edgar Allen Poe poem mentioned in the book. I have a theory about the entire book! But these are theories, let’s talk about the book! This book is one heck of a gruesome, Walking Dead kinda vibe. Think Neagan and you have Keaton, only not as hot. You have to have a bad guy, and this guy is as bad as they come, remember the penis comment, well thank him! I found it fascinating the combination of the supernatural creatures in a community. We have everything you can think of and then you have the Latents, the no supernatural abilities whatsoever which add an extra spice to the book. It is a tale of man, Dez, seeking revenge, best kind and well things don’t always work out how you expect them. So much blood, guts and gore you will be sliding all over the place, just how it’s meant to be in Shadeland. Yes, we are back there again and I love it! This place is like Maine in a King book, just don’t ever go there!! I haven’t even spoken about the main characters or any characters really. I don’t think I will, I think you should meet them yourself. They all have their own story for you to hear plus they tell it better than me. Just make sure you listen closely. I feel like I had some sort of weird trippy drug trip with this book. There is so much going on in such few pages. Still, with its homage to a Richard Laymon book, it packs quite a few punches. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though my mojo has gone on holiday, I know that a Janz book is one that will pick me up straight away. I mean how long is this review!! Bottom line, I want more of the Raven and I want more of Janz’ stories! Win-win really! Janz has all the magic of a horror book, the tension, the backstory, the girl, enough to keep you on hanging on the hook demanding more (have I done that enough!?). He powers through you with all of this and he leaves you with the taste of blood in your mouth and a need for more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Reading Reindeer Emigrates To Pluto

    I'm happily familiar with Jonathan Janz' excellent character-driven horror, but in his newest novel, THE RAVEN, Mr. Janz takes up a new venue, that of post-apocalyptic horror, and horrifying it is. In a sort of combination goal: to cleanse the planet and to return it to a paradisical state; and to proactively prevent nuclear destruction; a group of brilliant scientists at John Hopkins University join with a Narcissistic corporation (Four Winds Aerospace) in inventing a virus that devolves most o I'm happily familiar with Jonathan Janz' excellent character-driven horror, but in his newest novel, THE RAVEN, Mr. Janz takes up a new venue, that of post-apocalyptic horror, and horrifying it is. In a sort of combination goal: to cleanse the planet and to return it to a paradisical state; and to proactively prevent nuclear destruction; a group of brilliant scientists at John Hopkins University join with a Narcissistic corporation (Four Winds Aerospace) in inventing a virus that devolves most of humanity to monsters. Literally: Monsters. Monsters of Myth and Legend. Unfortunately, the consequences do not remove human greed or cupidity, so that even those few who are "Latents" (without a monstrous alter ego) can still be purveyors of human evil. Dez McClane, former teacher of Creative Writing, English, and Short Stories, is a quintessential Feckless Hero. As a Latent, he has no "super-power," and is physically ineffectual. Constantly crippled by grief over his son, father, brother, and kidnapped lover, Dez seems destined for failure. But author Janz delineates Dez right down to his very core, so that his character and purpose become a part of the reader; then starts Dez out on his own Hero's Journey, his quest to locate his lost Susan, literally against all odds, facing Monsters of Myth. The Denouements are stunning, and unfold almost consecutively. I have in mind at least three mind-blowing revelations which boggled my mind and ripped my heart, but I will leave those discoveries to future readers. This surely will develop sequels; the conclusion leaves open future adventures, and I long to travel that Hero's Path with Dez: his work here is not yet done.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Toni | Dark Reads

    The Raven, Wow! I have so much to say. I have not read a Jonathan Janz book yet that I haven’t enjoyed, but I this is my favorite so far, I loved everything about it. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where Dez is a survivor of a man-made Bio attack known as the Four Winds. Scientists had discovered that the monsters we know from myths and Lore did once exist and now lay dormant in our genetic code. The four Winds attack reignited these codes and the world is now at the mercy of Werewolf’s, Vampires The Raven, Wow! I have so much to say. I have not read a Jonathan Janz book yet that I haven’t enjoyed, but I this is my favorite so far, I loved everything about it. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where Dez is a survivor of a man-made Bio attack known as the Four Winds. Scientists had discovered that the monsters we know from myths and Lore did once exist and now lay dormant in our genetic code. The four Winds attack reignited these codes and the world is now at the mercy of Werewolf’s, Vampires, Cannibals, Witches, Telekinetic’s and many other forms. Dez is a ‘Latent’ one of a small percentage of the population left who has no ‘abilities’. The Raven hits the ground running, straight into the action and the scene is set instantly. ‘Finding a dead body wasn’t uncommon – the creatures who ruled the world now didn’t scruple about leaving their victims exposed to the elements. But it was still a nasty jolt to find himself standing on a dead man’s forearm’ Dez is on a mission to track down Keaton, a tyrant who has made his name trafficking people for the flesh trade, selling to vampires, cannibals and other creatures. During an attack Keaton kidnapped Dez’s love interest Susan. Dez has tracked Keaton to the Four Winds Bar, and so the journey begins. I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I love the suspense and the constant search for safety, the distrust between people and the relationships formed between people (and creatures in this case) who would never have normally crossed paths. I think Janz does this perfectly. The characters have layers and layers of personality and although we are introduced to many characters in a fast-paced story, their personalities are all very discernible. Dez is a very believable and relatable character, I noted as I was reading the first few chapters, I liked the clever way we get insight into Dez’s character through his diary entries. I like everything about him. ‘Apparently he needed no new issues; the old ones simply grew more corrosive in his isolation. The bad decisions he’d made with Susan. His wife and son. The manner in which he’d spoken to his father. His failure with his little brother. Most of all, the things he hadn’t said and done’ Also, of note we have an awesome female protagonist in Iris, I cannot wait to find out more about her and the others who ended the story together. Let’s not forget to mention how fantastically brutal and gory The Raven is a no holds barred ride, in true Janz style, many pages are slick with blood and gore and I loved every minute. The detail and imagery were so good I felt like I was watching the scenes unfold rather than reading them. Possibly not for the faint hearted haha. I am so pleased that the story was left open for more, not a cliff-hanger, more like the end of part 1 (please let it be a trilogy!) and please don’t make us wait too long Mr Janz! The world building foundations that have been laid are truly exciting and with so many potential avenues the story could go absolutely anywhere. I’m so excited! I would usually use this space to note any negative comments or thoughts, but I have none. The Raven is a fast paced, brutal post-apocalyptic thriller. Awesome characters, engaging story and immersive imagery. I want more and I want it now! If you haven’t already ordered a copy, I suggest you do so immediately!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kaffeeklatsch and Books

    To be honest I didn't expect so much gore and violence (cannibals weren't mentioned in the blurb) and that was a bit off putting. The scenes are quite graphic and maybe not for everyone. However the concept sounded intriguing but how the author wove in the explanation about how all those mythical creatures were already living hidden within the society and how the "Four Winds event" changed the DNA of people was a bit lacking and not believable enough. This book might have to have been longer to To be honest I didn't expect so much gore and violence (cannibals weren't mentioned in the blurb) and that was a bit off putting. The scenes are quite graphic and maybe not for everyone. However the concept sounded intriguing but how the author wove in the explanation about how all those mythical creatures were already living hidden within the society and how the "Four Winds event" changed the DNA of people was a bit lacking and not believable enough. This book might have to have been longer to really explore the world and events more, but for under 300 pages it was still well done. I wasn't a big fan of Dez. His movie references and being the "lone wolf" (raven) searching for his lost love and mulling over what a failure he is and drowning in guilt isn't my favorite trope, but others might enjoy that. My biggest problem was that the action scenes didn't make much sense in my head when I read them. I can easily conjure up whole scenes in my head, but I kept thinking about where the characters were located and who threw what at what person and how and it made me confused, which didn't make for an enjoyable experience. The author has great potential and I'll give this a 2.5 star for my reasons above. I am still keen on checking out more from the author in the future. Thank you Netgalley and Flame Tree Press for providing me with an eARC for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Nash

    A refreshing take on the post apocalyptic drama. I enjoyed following Dez through the barren landscapes, encountering the numerous creatures that the human race have turned into. It was a fun twist that any person Dez met could be harboring a secret as to what they really are, and it made the paranoia that Dez felt feel real, and the world janz created here feel very dangerous. Dez is a broken character who's had to learn to fight and adapt to the new world in order to survive. His past is hinted A refreshing take on the post apocalyptic drama. I enjoyed following Dez through the barren landscapes, encountering the numerous creatures that the human race have turned into. It was a fun twist that any person Dez met could be harboring a secret as to what they really are, and it made the paranoia that Dez felt feel real, and the world janz created here feel very dangerous. Dez is a broken character who's had to learn to fight and adapt to the new world in order to survive. His past is hinted at throughout, and I hope the sequel delves a bit more into that. There were a couple of shocking scenes, one in particular with a werewolf towards the end that I didn't see coming. The whole story was very enjoyable and compulsively readable and I will gladly visit this world again.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Robinson

    Review to come

  29. 5 out of 5

    Debbi Smith

    I've been a fan of Jonathan Jana for several years. I think this may be his best, and scariest, work yet. The post-apocalyptic world he described has a ring of truth to it that can scare you worse than his all too human monsters. You should read this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Becky Spratford

    Full disclosure before this review: My name appears in the acknowledgments. I was going to review this for Booklist but did not feel like that was 100% Kosher; in fact, I didn't know this until after I had written a review and turned it in. But here is a version of what my honest review would have been. Three Words That Describe This Book: original, character focused, strong world building Dez has survived for two years in a world decimated by a biological weapon attack, engineered by terrorists Full disclosure before this review: My name appears in the acknowledgments. I was going to review this for Booklist but did not feel like that was 100% Kosher; in fact, I didn't know this until after I had written a review and turned it in. But here is a version of what my honest review would have been. Three Words That Describe This Book: original, character focused, strong world building Dez has survived for two years in a world decimated by a biological weapon attack, engineered by terrorists to reactivate the long buried genes of monsters humanity thought only existed in fiction. Turns out, monsters were real; their genes may have been suppressed, but their markers still lurked in human DNA. A world where werewolves, vampires, satyrs, and more jumped out of the myths of the past and into a very real present meant most “Latents,” people with no special powers like Dez, didn’t have much of a chance to survive. As the reader encounters him, Dez is desperately trying to find his girlfriend, stolen from him six months before, encountering many monsters along his route. This original take on the post-apocalyptic trope is surprising and fun because of the unique threat, and its dogged focus on world building and character development. Janz takes time making this impossible world feel totally believable, peppering it with exciting fight sequences throughout. While the pacing here is never fast, it is extremely compelling; readers want to root for Dez’s success and learn more about the fascinating human-monsters they meet along the way. This is a perfect choice for fans of horror-science fiction hybrids such as Rebecca Roanhorse’s Sixth World series or Josh Malerman’s Bird Box novels. On a side note: I loved that there were no zombies for once in a post-apocalyptic horror novel. Longer version on blog here: http://raforall.blogspot.com/2020/06/... Shorter version in Library Journal here: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?revie...

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