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The Seventh Raven

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Best-selling author David Elliott examines the timeless themes of balance, transformation, and restoration in this evocative tale about a girl who will stop at nothing to reverse a curse that turned her seven brothers into ravens. And these are the sons Of good Jack and good Jane The eldest is Jack And the next one is Jack And the third one’s called Jack And the fourth’s known Best-selling author David Elliott examines the timeless themes of balance, transformation, and restoration in this evocative tale about a girl who will stop at nothing to reverse a curse that turned her seven brothers into ravens. And these are the sons Of good Jack and good Jane The eldest is Jack And the next one is Jack And the third one’s called Jack And the fourth’s known as Jack And the fifth says he’s Jack And they call the sixth Jack But the seventh’s not Jack The seventh is Robyn And this is his story When Robyn and his brothers are turned into ravens through the work of an unlucky curse, a sister is their only hope to become human again. Though she’s never met her brothers, April will stop at nothing to restore their humanity. But what about Robyn, who always felt a greater affinity to the air than to the earth-bound lives of his family? David Elliott’s latest novel in verse explores the unintended consequences of our actions, no matter our intentions, and is filled with powerful messages teased from a Grimms’ fairy tale. Stunning black-and-white illustrations throughout by Rovina Cai.


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Best-selling author David Elliott examines the timeless themes of balance, transformation, and restoration in this evocative tale about a girl who will stop at nothing to reverse a curse that turned her seven brothers into ravens. And these are the sons Of good Jack and good Jane The eldest is Jack And the next one is Jack And the third one’s called Jack And the fourth’s known Best-selling author David Elliott examines the timeless themes of balance, transformation, and restoration in this evocative tale about a girl who will stop at nothing to reverse a curse that turned her seven brothers into ravens. And these are the sons Of good Jack and good Jane The eldest is Jack And the next one is Jack And the third one’s called Jack And the fourth’s known as Jack And the fifth says he’s Jack And they call the sixth Jack But the seventh’s not Jack The seventh is Robyn And this is his story When Robyn and his brothers are turned into ravens through the work of an unlucky curse, a sister is their only hope to become human again. Though she’s never met her brothers, April will stop at nothing to restore their humanity. But what about Robyn, who always felt a greater affinity to the air than to the earth-bound lives of his family? David Elliott’s latest novel in verse explores the unintended consequences of our actions, no matter our intentions, and is filled with powerful messages teased from a Grimms’ fairy tale. Stunning black-and-white illustrations throughout by Rovina Cai.

30 review for The Seventh Raven

  1. 4 out of 5

    ♠ TABI⁷ ♠

    DNF @ p.26 because I have better things to do than try and force myself through stagnant, repetitive "poetry" I am probably too uneducated to appreciate but, y'know, it hurts my brain and ruins whatever scraps of decency this story might have held. I am disappointed in this that even the appeal of this being a retelling of this rarely-used Seven Swans tale doesn't even make me want to finish it. DNF @ p.26 because I have better things to do than try and force myself through stagnant, repetitive "poetry" I am probably too uneducated to appreciate but, y'know, it hurts my brain and ruins whatever scraps of decency this story might have held. I am disappointed in this that even the appeal of this being a retelling of this rarely-used Seven Swans tale doesn't even make me want to finish it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Athena (OneReadingNurse)

    I didn’t realize this book was going to be in verse, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I quickly found myself drawn into Elliot’s words and rhymes and verse. I by no means have any idea how verse is “supposed” to read, but just from reading it aloud in my head, I felt like the book has a really readable flow and a rhythm and rhymes that sounded good! The afterword about each character having their own form of poetry was super interesting.  The different forms gave each character a unique vo I didn’t realize this book was going to be in verse, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I quickly found myself drawn into Elliot’s words and rhymes and verse. I by no means have any idea how verse is “supposed” to read, but just from reading it aloud in my head, I felt like the book has a really readable flow and a rhythm and rhymes that sounded good! The afterword about each character having their own form of poetry was super interesting.  The different forms gave each character a unique voice within the verse. I also liked how the novel followed the fairytale format of “get in, get out, tell the story.” It is a quick read that is a modern retelling of The Seven Ravens, which appeared in The Brothers Grimm. The plot is pretty interesting, a sister trying to save her seven brothers from a curse. The different. points of view helped move the story along, with the various styles of verse making each unique.  April persevered through a lot of hardship to finally find the mountain of glass where the brothers were being held. Plus the artwork inside looked really great from what I saw so far.  I love the cover too, how gorgeous is that! If anything I think the formatting suffered in the early electronic version but I would love to see a finished copy. I would totally recommend for fans of fairy tales and fans of books in verse!  It is out in Mid March so add it to your TBR now!

  3. 5 out of 5

    ❀ Alex ❀ (The Scribe Owl)

    Come see this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! 3/5 stars Thanks to Edelweiss for supplying me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was my first book in verse! It wasn't included in the description, so it was a bit of a surprise, but it worked out well. I especially loved the author's note on the different types of poems and the ways they were utilized. I don't really have much to say. The book was a quick, interesting read, but I'll probably never think about i Come see this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl! 3/5 stars Thanks to Edelweiss for supplying me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was my first book in verse! It wasn't included in the description, so it was a bit of a surprise, but it worked out well. I especially loved the author's note on the different types of poems and the ways they were utilized. I don't really have much to say. The book was a quick, interesting read, but I'll probably never think about it again after I send in this review. The formatting on my copy was not very good, but that was probably just from it being an eARC. I enjoyed this book and its prose, but I doubt I'd recommend it or reread.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Molly - Baltimore Bibliophile

    Today I learned that books written in verse are not for me. The language is beautiful, the story is haunting & spooky. It’s a creepy & unusual retelling. But I’m not a fan of verse. If you like verse & retellings, definitely check it out!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Elliott’s book in verse takes a fresh look at the classic Grimms’ fairytale “The Seven Ravens.” Told from multiple perspectives, this exploration of family bonds and wishes gone wrong is paired with lovely artwork from Rovina Cai. This book is for fans of poetry and fairytale retellings. The cover of this book and it’s brief description intrigued me, but I wish I had known it was in verse. I’m surprised that the publisher did not include this key information in the description. Poetry is not alwa Elliott’s book in verse takes a fresh look at the classic Grimms’ fairytale “The Seven Ravens.” Told from multiple perspectives, this exploration of family bonds and wishes gone wrong is paired with lovely artwork from Rovina Cai. This book is for fans of poetry and fairytale retellings. The cover of this book and it’s brief description intrigued me, but I wish I had known it was in verse. I’m surprised that the publisher did not include this key information in the description. Poetry is not always my thing, and while a novel in verse is impressive in its ambition, this book didn’t work for me. The characters, for the most part, were flat and stereotypical and the verse too often repetitive. This book is classified as a teen/YA read, but it seems better suited to a younger age group based on the language and illustrations. The formatting of the ebook copy I had was very poor, but this could be because it was an eARC. Nevertheless, it negatively impacted my reading experience, making it a more difficult and confusing read. The high points were the character of Robyn (although I was disappointed by his fate) and Elliott’s explanation of the poetic forms he used at the end of the book. I wish I could have seen a print copy of the book and maybe read it with a younger reader – I think that would have improved my opinion and experience of the book. ----- Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    2 stars. Ambitious and an intriguing idea, but ultimately it did not live up to expectations. The characters fell a little flat and while the language was haunting and sometimes beautiful, I did not feel connected enough to the story to appreciate it. At the end, Elliot offers explanation as to why he used different poetic forms for different characters, which could be helpful for readers not familiar with poetry, but it felt over-explained to me - I wish the characters could have spoken for the 2 stars. Ambitious and an intriguing idea, but ultimately it did not live up to expectations. The characters fell a little flat and while the language was haunting and sometimes beautiful, I did not feel connected enough to the story to appreciate it. At the end, Elliot offers explanation as to why he used different poetic forms for different characters, which could be helpful for readers not familiar with poetry, but it felt over-explained to me - I wish the characters could have spoken for themselves and displayed their own traits through action rather than through an afterword explanation by the author. Kind of like how a joke isn't funny if you have to explain it. If I don't understand your plot or your reasoning without it being explained to me, well... This was a quick read and an interesting one, but not one that's going to stick around with me. Thank you Edelweiss and HMH for the ARC!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group -HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I could not put this book down. My eyes were glued to every word of every page solely because the writing structure was just brilliant. You get to know the characters in just a few words and the plot gets straight to the point without any drag. This is such an enticing novel filled This book was received as an ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group -HMH Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I could not put this book down. My eyes were glued to every word of every page solely because the writing structure was just brilliant. You get to know the characters in just a few words and the plot gets straight to the point without any drag. This is such an enticing novel filled with so much drama and excitement that it will leave you gasping for air and catching your breath when you are finished. We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maria F.

    3.5 stars for me I didn’t know this book was going to be written in verse but it was a pleasant surprise and I found myself enchanted by this and the way the author managed to tell this haunting story through poetry. I definitely enjoyed the different POVs and the changes in tone from all of them- Robyn being my favorite character because he was different than the rest and his POV was almost endearing to read 💛 I loved the art as well and the little surprises along the way All in all, this was a 3.5 stars for me I didn’t know this book was going to be written in verse but it was a pleasant surprise and I found myself enchanted by this and the way the author managed to tell this haunting story through poetry. I definitely enjoyed the different POVs and the changes in tone from all of them- Robyn being my favorite character because he was different than the rest and his POV was almost endearing to read 💛 I loved the art as well and the little surprises along the way All in all, this was a quick read that didn’t end how I expected but I loved it nonetheless! I recommend this if you like verse, Grimm fairytales, haunting world building and can appreciate the genius behind poetry 💛 *thank you to netgalley for sending me an earc in exchange for an honest review*

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alyson Kent

    Thank you, Edelweiss, for the ARC. 3.5 stars because I struggled a little with the flow of the poetry, mainly because the ARC of the ebook has messed up formatting that I hope will be corrected for the release. Half a star added for a retelling of one of the lesser known of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amber (The Book Bratz)

    Thank you so much HMH for the opportunity to review THE SEVENTH RAVEN!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Seventh Raven by David Elliott, Illustrated by Rovina Cai Genre: Fairytale Retelling, Verse Novel Page Count: 192 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Warnings: None Quick Look (out of five): Plot Rating: 3 Character Rating: 3 Romance Rating: N/A World-Building Rating: N/A Writing Style Rating: 5 Recommended?: Only for readers who enjoy verse novels. Note: Due to the different style of this book, this review will focus on an analysis of the literary devices being used, as well as the poetic style choices. There wi The Seventh Raven by David Elliott, Illustrated by Rovina Cai Genre: Fairytale Retelling, Verse Novel Page Count: 192 Rating: 3 out of 5 stars Warnings: None Quick Look (out of five): Plot Rating: 3 Character Rating: 3 Romance Rating: N/A World-Building Rating: N/A Writing Style Rating: 5 Recommended?: Only for readers who enjoy verse novels. Note: Due to the different style of this book, this review will focus on an analysis of the literary devices being used, as well as the poetic style choices. There will also be no spoilers section. This novel is definitely not for everyone. I absolutely loved it, but that is due to my adoration of literary analysis. This novel’s value is entirely in the ways poetic form, symbols, and archetypes are used to tell a story whose heart exists in between the lines. For readers who read a published copy, there will be a lot of meaning to gain from the occasional artwork throughout the novel (I cannot comment on those, as all artwork was marked as Not Final in my Advanced Reader Copy). If you enjoy plot or character driven novels, this book will likely fall flat. However, those who enjoy diving into literary analysis as you read, I would highly recommend this novel. There is a seemingly unending supply of things to interpret. The Seventh Raven is a novel written entirely in verse that retells The Six Swans from the Brothers Grimm fairytale collection. A couple with seven sons who have always wanted a daughter end up accidentally trading their sons for a single daughter. The sons are turned into ravens and fly away. As the daughter grows, she senses a loss at the core of her family. Upon learning of her brothers, she sets out to save them. The novel resembles a parable in tone, with the focus on themes and poetic style more than on the characters or plot. It is a masterful blend of poetic forms into a complete work that resembles the epic poems of the past. The plot of the novel is empty in the same style as fairytale plots. Rather than being a weakness, this allows the plot to act as an invisible support to the true purpose of the novel. By eliminating plot as a focus of the story, the focus changes to the structure of each speaker’s poetic style and what it reveals about them. The characters in this book are highly two dimensional, intended to act as archetypes given form rather than fully developed people. Jack and Jane are the parents of six boys named Jack, a seventh son named Robyn, and a daughter named April. Jack and Jane begin the novel as the representatives of traditional gender norms and tropes. The six Jacks also fall in this category, and often exist as a single entity rather than as six individuals. Robyn is set up as the foil to these characters, as he feels out of place and does not fit into this constrained world. April is the catalyst of the story, named after a spring month to demonstrate the way her birth acts as a rebirth for the other characters. Overall, we spend the most time in April’s mind, making her feel slightly more defined than the other characters. None of the characters actually seem like people, nor are they intended to. At first, the verse style of this novel bothered me. It felt simplistic and lacking in purpose. However, the further I got into the novel, the clearer it became that the fault actually lay with the ‘rough draft’ format of the Advanced Reader Copy. As the placement of line breaks was sometimes wrong, it took longer to grasp each poetic style. Upon a second and more informed reading, I appreciated the way that the first and second halves of the novel acted as foils to one another. In the beginning, the poetic styles chosen are purposefully simpler in feeling. The characters are all unhappy in some way or another, fighting against some aspect of their life. This discontent is apparent through the excessive use of enjambment. Each speaker has a verse style that rarely uses punctuation inside or at the end of lines. This creates the sense of each line rushing into the next with no breaks for breath. The repetition and pace act as a perfect match to the way each character is experiencing their lives. While this means the first half of the novel is exhausting to read, the stylistic choice does fit perfectly. The second half of the novel is where the verse style gets interesting. Throughout the novel are segments in which the speaker can best be described as a narrative voice. These sections usually focus on the reactions of nature and inanimate objects to the story. They use a rolling rhythm and parallel lines to create the sense of a passive yet driving force. My personal favorite was the segment titled “The Road is a Villain”. Nearly every line begins with ‘and’ which combines with the rhyme scheme to create a rising and falling rhythm not unlike a marching or rowing rhythm. One of the more interesting structure choices is in the Crone’s speaking segments. The Crone is clearly the archetype of the wise woman/fate. She is the only speaker who comes close to prose format, employing a kind of modern prose poem. She declares herself the ‘truth’ and exists in many forms, including taking on the Mother Goddess archetype that cycles from youth to old age. If the Crone is Truth (the perfect representation of self-actualization), then her style of speaking is closest to a state of perfect acceptance of self. Considering this, it becomes highly symbolic that April and Robyn are the only ones whose sections come close to the Crone’s style. In the beginning, Robyn’s sections resemble those of his brothers, but feel just slightly different and off. He uses more complex phrasing or placement of line breaks in a way that stands out sharply amidst the speaking styles of his family. In the second half, Robyn’s section become even more distinct from his brothers’ sections. His segments closely resemble April’s sections in and demonstrate that both these characters feel fully themselves. They utilize longer sentences and fuller lines. Robyn’s lines feel sharply different from his way of speaking in the first half. His lines are no longer broken at the end of each phrase, and instead break in places that create a more robust rhythm and symbolize his newfound sense of comfort as a raven. Since Robyn and April’s desires are polar opposites – April wants her brothers to be human again and Robyn wants to stay a raven – the similarity in their poetic form becomes more apparent and important. The six brothers named Jack either speak as one or in parallel lines in the beginning. While they feel incredibly simplistic, this sparseness serves to show their content. The Jacks do not need more from life; the repetitiveness of their days does not grate on them to way it does for their parents. In contrast, they speak as one in a jumble of partial thoughts after their transformation. Their intense feeling of being in the wrong form screams out from the page as they seem to speak over one another in a chaotic cacophony. Their moments of speech are shorter than anyone else’s and have a more simplistic pattern to their line breaks. Jack the father speaks in a form quite similar in sound to those of the six sons named Jack. It feels boisterous and forceful in a way that presents a traditional vision of masculinity. His wife Jane speaks in the exact same poetic form, but her sections feel a bit softer. Their identical poetic forms ensure that the masculine and feminine characteristics of each are more noticeable due to the contrast. This tonal setup reverses in the second half of the novel. Jack sounds softer, his lines oozing regret. Jane takes up the more forceful and staccato position, boiling with anger at the way Jack has cost her all eight of her children. By switching Jack and Jane’s tones, the author sets up and then destroys their traditional gendered existence. There is an implication that by clinging to these gender tropes, Jack and Jane caused their own sadness. They longed for a daughter to bring softness to their lives, ignoring the ways Robyn’s sentimentalism could have filled that role if they had allowed him to live outside gendered tropes of behavior. It plays in to one of the overall symbolic morals of the novel: that living in absolutes rather than spectrums constricts one’s ability to be themselves. Robyn’s ending acts as a mirror to this gender deconstruction. By having Robyn become part raven and part human, the story demonstrates the necessity for nuanced senses of self. There is a distinct queer aspect to Robyn’s story. He feels that he cannot be himself at the beginning of the novel, having to hide some aspect of his self away. His family notices and dislikes Robyn’s differences. Later, April observes that Robyn is sensitive based solely on the way her parents describe him compared to her brothers. “Sensitive” feels like coded language for Robyn’s queer identity. The freedom Robyn finds in his transformation and his choice to live between the ground and the sky demonstrates the ways he exists outside of all categories and constructs. My only complaint about this novel is that it exists in physical form. Throughout the entire novel, I found myself wishing to see it performed on stage. It reminds me of medieval Morality Plays that consisted of anthropomorphized vices and virtues that travelled around performing moral and religious lessons for the peasant class. There is also a similarity to early Greek plays adapting epic poems. While I found this story to be a delight when read in novel form, I think it would truly shine on the stage. If you are interested in more reviews, check out my blog theartistryofreading.com!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shireen Hakim

    Although Elliot's poetry is beautiful and obviously worked hard on, the lack of prose context makes the story seem irrelevant. The book seems like a children's nursery rhyme instead of YA, at best it could be middle grade. Thankfully I read Goodreads reviews so I was prepared for the structure. Thanks for the ARC. Although Elliot's poetry is beautiful and obviously worked hard on, the lack of prose context makes the story seem irrelevant. The book seems like a children's nursery rhyme instead of YA, at best it could be middle grade. Thankfully I read Goodreads reviews so I was prepared for the structure. Thanks for the ARC.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    2 stars This review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. My rating scale is below. review This is a novel in verse, which surprised me. This is my own fault, as it is clearly in the book’s description on NetGalley, but I probably would not have requested the book had I seen that line. Anyway, I initially thought the first page was an epigram and skipped it, then had to go back and re-read. Unlike 2 stars This review is based on an ARC ebook received for free from NetGalley. I am not being paid to review this book and what I write here is my own opinion. My rating scale is below. review This is a novel in verse, which surprised me. This is my own fault, as it is clearly in the book’s description on NetGalley, but I probably would not have requested the book had I seen that line. Anyway, I initially thought the first page was an epigram and skipped it, then had to go back and re-read. Unlike many YA novels in verse, Elliot’s writing really does read like poetry, rather than prose with extremely foreshortened lines and unnecessary rhymes. It isn’t especially enjoyable writing though. At least not for me. I tried setting it to a few different songs to see if that made a difference, but...not really. The language is very similar and repetitive, like Elliot is trying to create a saga or ballad, following the traditional forms.* Part of why I requested this book was because it’s illustrated by Rovina Cai, whose art I very much enjoy. I hoped her art would prove an enhancement to Elliot’s lyrical text, but in Part I it is mostly birds and feathers. Well-illustrated birds and feathers, but birds and feathers. In Part II there are pages marked “art to come” or “art not final,” which is disappointing. Storywise, this is a retelling of the Seven Swans/Ravens. We first meet Robyn, who lives in the cottage with his six brothers (all named Jack) and his father (also a Jack) and his mother (Jane). They are woodcutters and Robyn...is not. Robyn’s parents dream of a daughter: there are too many Jacks. Finally a daughter is born, but when she looks to die almost immediately, Jack the Father utters a curse and suddenly his sons are no longer men, but ravens. The Jacks are distraught by their new state, but not Robyn. At least their baby sister will live after all. The brothers’ baby sister is April, and she is much-beloved, but kept ignorant of her brothers’ fate. She is, nevertheless, subject to portents that hint at something uncanny. She eventually learns of the curse on her brothers and decides it is her destiny to break it. Her discovery and then her quest take up a decent portion of the book. The end is similar to the fable. *Note, there is a note about poetic form at the end, and how each POV character speaks in a different poetic form, and what that form says about them as a character. The descriptions of the poetic forms and Elliot’s reasons for assigning them to their characters are fascinating reads. Almost more so than the text itself, I’m sorry to say. rating scale 1 star - I was barely able to finish it. I didn't like it. 2 stars - It was okay. I didn't dislike it. 3 stars - It was interesting. I liked it. 4 stars - It was excellent. I really liked it. 5 stars - It was extraordinary. I really hope the author wrote more things.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kacey

    Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy. I had no idea this was going to be a novel in verse, and honestly I wouldn't have requested it if I'd known, because I'm not particularly fond of that style. But I figured to give it a try anyway. I do like poetry, and the poetry in this book was very nicely done with some great imagery. I just personally don't like novel-in-verse, and this book Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My opinion was not affected by the free copy. I had no idea this was going to be a novel in verse, and honestly I wouldn't have requested it if I'd known, because I'm not particularly fond of that style. But I figured to give it a try anyway. I do like poetry, and the poetry in this book was very nicely done with some great imagery. I just personally don't like novel-in-verse, and this book didn't really change my opinion in that regard. I actually had to read this through twice to get the story. I feel like some of my negatives are more for personal taste reasons than anything objectively wrong with the book. I'm not entirely sure why this is marked as YA since I think middle grade readers can get through this just fine, and the addition of illustrations definitely gives it a younger audience sort of vibe. Not that a YA audience can't enjoy a novel-in-verse with pictures in it; I just didn't see anything so mature that a younger audience couldn't handle. I'll also say that the author's explanation of the different poetic forms he used for each character could be a negative. Explaining why he chose a certain type of poetry for each character is a neat tidbit but I chose not to read it because I didn't want my perception of the characters to be altered by the explanations. Objectively I can say this was good. The poetry is nicely written with some good rhythm and rhyming schemes, and the different styles are very neat. I can see poetry clubs breaking apart each character and analyzing the form used in their narrative. It has a wonderfully timeless feel to it and has that haunting and gruesome quality from older fairy tales, especially Grimm fairy tales. I'm not going to give this a bad score just because I don't really like novel-in-verse. If that's your thing, you'll love this. If that's not your thing, you might still like it, but I wasn't sold on the genre by reading this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Griffin

    I have read all of David Elliot's books written in verse. My favorite overall was definitely Bull, but I really enjoyed this one too. One of the best parts of this is definitely how he uses different poetic forms for each of his characters. It makes each of their voices feel distinct and stand out from the others. I also really enjoyed how he used a fairy tale that is not as well known as others by the Grimm brothers. This is one that I do know but not for as long as their other ones. It was als I have read all of David Elliot's books written in verse. My favorite overall was definitely Bull, but I really enjoyed this one too. One of the best parts of this is definitely how he uses different poetic forms for each of his characters. It makes each of their voices feel distinct and stand out from the others. I also really enjoyed how he used a fairy tale that is not as well known as others by the Grimm brothers. This is one that I do know but not for as long as their other ones. It was also an interesting take on the tale focusing on the father, mother, sister, six of the brothers as a chorus of voices, and the youngest brother Robyn. One aspect I have always loved in poetry is how people play with the formatting to fit the message that they are telling. There are pages throughout this book that he plays with the formatting that I enjoyed seeing. Robyn's were ones that stood out a lot with formatting, especially after he is turned into a raven. Also, the illustrations throughout were a nice addition. I can't wait to see a final copy of this book when it comes out. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and hope that David will write more novels in verse. I will definitely be picking up a copy for my collection. *Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my review copy of the book. All opinions are my own.*

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Seventh Raven in exchange for an honest review. If you follow my reviews, you may have caught on that I'm unhealthily obsessed with all things fairy tale and that I constantly go on and on about how unfair it is that my favorite fairy tales, 'The Six Swans' was never adapted. So, when I found out that there was a "The Seven Ravens" adaptation being written, I was ecstatic (for clarification: if you haven't read many Brother's Grimm fairy tales, Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Seventh Raven in exchange for an honest review. If you follow my reviews, you may have caught on that I'm unhealthily obsessed with all things fairy tale and that I constantly go on and on about how unfair it is that my favorite fairy tales, 'The Six Swans' was never adapted. So, when I found out that there was a "The Seven Ravens" adaptation being written, I was ecstatic (for clarification: if you haven't read many Brother's Grimm fairy tales, often times the same story line occurs multiple times with smaller plot points being shifted so while it sounds like I'm an idiot saying "I love this fairy tale so I was so excited to read an adaptation of a different fairy tale", I promise I'm not idiotic in that specific regard). The Seventh Raven is gorgeously written. Told in various types of poetry (the author's note explains the amount of effort and significance put into choosing who speaks in which type of poem), this reads like a bed time story for big kids. I especially loved the narrative poems, told in a very 'The House that Jack Built' manner that instantly made me nostalgic. The poetic narrative is paired with gorgeous illustrations to help tell a wonderfully artful story.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eule Luftschloss

    trigger warning (view spoiler)[ being stuck in a body not your own (hide spoiler)] Once upon a time, a miner and his wife wished for a baby girl. Yes, they had children, but every seven of them turned out to be boys, and they longed for the soft voice of a daughter. One day, their wish was granted. One day, they were cursed. Let me be honest: As I read the synopsis, I thought of the Grimm fairy tale in which seven boys are transformed into swans and their sister has to make clothes out of nettles t trigger warning (view spoiler)[ being stuck in a body not your own (hide spoiler)] Once upon a time, a miner and his wife wished for a baby girl. Yes, they had children, but every seven of them turned out to be boys, and they longed for the soft voice of a daughter. One day, their wish was granted. One day, they were cursed. Let me be honest: As I read the synopsis, I thought of the Grimm fairy tale in which seven boys are transformed into swans and their sister has to make clothes out of nettles to transform them back. I always, always forget this one, where they get turned into ravens and banished to a mountain. Was it an Andersen one? If I remember, I might update this. Another aspect that drew me to this retelling is that it is written in verse, and I haven't read that many books written that way - one, I believe, Brown Girl Dreaming. I really loved the nature descriptions in this book, but felt that sometimes the parts the humans do felt clunky. All in all, I liked the reading experience and see myself digging out my collection of Andersen fairy tales because I am sure it's in there. I recieved a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for the ARC of this novel. Elliott’s The Seventh Raven is a captivating retelling of the Brothers Grimm The Six Swans and is written entirely in verse. His command over form and language creates a searing story of a girl’s quest to save her brothers and reverse a curse. The poetic prose lends itself to a quick read; I completed the book in three sittings. I’d never read The Six Swans before, so April’s journey to reverse t Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for the ARC of this novel. Elliott’s The Seventh Raven is a captivating retelling of the Brothers Grimm The Six Swans and is written entirely in verse. His command over form and language creates a searing story of a girl’s quest to save her brothers and reverse a curse. The poetic prose lends itself to a quick read; I completed the book in three sittings. I’d never read The Six Swans before, so April’s journey to reverse the curse on her brothers was entirely new to me. I appreciate how Elliott gives each character their own poetic form. This was one of the first elements I noticed about the book, and one of my friends is reading his novel in verse, Bull, and mentioned that he does the same technique there. Allowing himself and the characters to break the form gives them their own agency and voice, especially as we watch them struggle with their identity throughout the novel. This book is different from other novels of verse that I’ve encountered before due to its precisely chosen- and broken- forms and word choice. The lyric is haunting, foreboding, insightful, and curious throughout. Novels told in verse aren’t for everyone; however, I’d certainly recommend this book to lovers of young adult fiction, fairy tales, and fantasy because it captures the classic elements and themes of identity, grief, and the consequences of our actions despite our intentions.

  19. 4 out of 5

    ChillwithJill

    I’m going to be honest in that I’ve never really read a book written in verse form. I didn’t know how I’d like it either; if I’d be able to flow with the plot, if I’d be able to connect with the characters, if I’d be drawn into the setting. It was an experiment through and through. And the experiment was beyond successful. This story is one that draws you in slowly-- if you don’t know the tale on which The Seventh Raven based, it's a study in quiet patience trying to figure out what’s going on. Bu I’m going to be honest in that I’ve never really read a book written in verse form. I didn’t know how I’d like it either; if I’d be able to flow with the plot, if I’d be able to connect with the characters, if I’d be drawn into the setting. It was an experiment through and through. And the experiment was beyond successful. This story is one that draws you in slowly-- if you don’t know the tale on which The Seventh Raven based, it's a study in quiet patience trying to figure out what’s going on. But as you settle into the flowing verse-- and each character has their own different brand of beats and patterns to get into-- you fall into this mystical world and are perfectly content to watch what happens unfold. Each character is unique; April is quiet and willful, Robyn, filled with freedom and light for the first time, and the parents who are full of anger and guilt. It makes for a compelling family drama, just as much as it screams dark bedtime story. I loved it and I hope everyone else falls in love with it as well.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Neuhart

    I received an advanced reader copy of the book. I didn’t realize that it would be in verse. I received a digital copy. I’ve noticed when trying to read books in verse on Kindle, the typeset is usually off and doesn’t go with the appropriate breaks in the poetry. This made it somewhat difficult to read. I would recommend that if you do pick up this book, definitely get a physical copy. While I did find it admirable that the author followed different poetic styles for each character--he explains e I received an advanced reader copy of the book. I didn’t realize that it would be in verse. I received a digital copy. I’ve noticed when trying to read books in verse on Kindle, the typeset is usually off and doesn’t go with the appropriate breaks in the poetry. This made it somewhat difficult to read. I would recommend that if you do pick up this book, definitely get a physical copy. While I did find it admirable that the author followed different poetic styles for each character--he explains each one at the end of the book--I still felt like the characters and story-telling fell a bit flat in this retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale. Books in verse are very popular in my middle school library right now, as well as fairy tales, but I don’t know if middle grade readers would get into this. They might find it difficult to follow.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andee

    BLOG|INSTAGRAM|TWITTER|YOUTUBE Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly, I should have read the reviews for this as I was not aware that it was written in verse. As with most books written in verse, I enjoyed- but I would have preferred it written in the traditional sense. The writing was haunting and well described, but I found myself lost as to what was going on at some points. The different perspectives were well do BLOG|INSTAGRAM|TWITTER|YOUTUBE Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Admittedly, I should have read the reviews for this as I was not aware that it was written in verse. As with most books written in verse, I enjoyed- but I would have preferred it written in the traditional sense. The writing was haunting and well described, but I found myself lost as to what was going on at some points. The different perspectives were well done, and with so many of them, this could have been easily ruined.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kerri

    Having read, "Bull", I'm a big fan of David Elliott and excited to read his newest book, a retelling of the obscure Grimm fairy tale, "The Seven Ravens". The night that April is born, her seven brothers are transformed into ravens. As April grows older, she realizes it is up to her to break the curse and restore her family, but not all of her brothers want the curse broken. The tale is told in verse and the author offers detailed information about verse and poetry at the end, which is a nice bon Having read, "Bull", I'm a big fan of David Elliott and excited to read his newest book, a retelling of the obscure Grimm fairy tale, "The Seven Ravens". The night that April is born, her seven brothers are transformed into ravens. As April grows older, she realizes it is up to her to break the curse and restore her family, but not all of her brothers want the curse broken. The tale is told in verse and the author offers detailed information about verse and poetry at the end, which is a nice bonus. There are snippets of wisdom throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thanks to NetGalley, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group, and David Elliott for an advanced eBook copy in exchange for my honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    Okay wow. I don't particularly care for novels in verse and I wasn't aware this was in verse until I already asked for work to purchase it. I decided to wing it and give it a chance and I'm glad I did! I don't know how, but this is a full fairytale in prose. It feels like a full story when really it's bare bones. Less than 200 pages and in prose no less, this took around 2 hours to read even while working. But I can feel the heart in it. Granted, it's not fully fleshed out; the brothers, all name Okay wow. I don't particularly care for novels in verse and I wasn't aware this was in verse until I already asked for work to purchase it. I decided to wing it and give it a chance and I'm glad I did! I don't know how, but this is a full fairytale in prose. It feels like a full story when really it's bare bones. Less than 200 pages and in prose no less, this took around 2 hours to read even while working. But I can feel the heart in it. Granted, it's not fully fleshed out; the brothers, all named Jack, have little to no personality, the other characters are given one maybe two poems each and that doesn't lend to perfect characters. But with what it had, it was kinda awesome. A magical fairytale in verse that's good for fantasy fans to branch out with!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Dang

    This was an interesting read, as it was a retelling of the Grimm's fairytale of The Seven Ravens told through verse. I did not expect it to be in verse but did not mind it as much as I do enjoy poetry. There was also beautiful artwork in the story that was such a nice touch. I rather enjoyed this story and liked the way the various perspectives of characters played into it. It was a very simple read and I would even recommend it for younger readers as it was short and easy to digest. I wish ther This was an interesting read, as it was a retelling of the Grimm's fairytale of The Seven Ravens told through verse. I did not expect it to be in verse but did not mind it as much as I do enjoy poetry. There was also beautiful artwork in the story that was such a nice touch. I rather enjoyed this story and liked the way the various perspectives of characters played into it. It was a very simple read and I would even recommend it for younger readers as it was short and easy to digest. I wish there was a bit more or something, but all in all it was an okay read. * Thank you Netgalley for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chastity

    The language of this novel in verse is very beautiful and covers a dark topic with a twist of a fairytale essence. However, I spent the primary part of the novel believing the plotline focused on the brother Robyn who I presumed was trans, but from the other reviews I read and how the novel is concluded I believe I may have wrongly assumed this which left me feeling a bit out of place in the story. I think if this novel was covering topics of transgender issues in family dynamics the presence of The language of this novel in verse is very beautiful and covers a dark topic with a twist of a fairytale essence. However, I spent the primary part of the novel believing the plotline focused on the brother Robyn who I presumed was trans, but from the other reviews I read and how the novel is concluded I believe I may have wrongly assumed this which left me feeling a bit out of place in the story. I think if this novel was covering topics of transgender issues in family dynamics the presence of the sister and Robyn being outcast would have made a bit more sense and I would have rated it higher.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    I received both a netgally and edelweiss copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I really liked the premise of this book as I actually read Anderson's The Seven Ravens when I was very small. Plus it's a verse novel which I'm always a sucker for. This retelling is overall beautiful, though the writing at times could be smooth and then next very choppy. The characters were likable and were able to stand out on their own, and the descriptions throughout the book make you feel like you'r I received both a netgally and edelweiss copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I really liked the premise of this book as I actually read Anderson's The Seven Ravens when I was very small. Plus it's a verse novel which I'm always a sucker for. This retelling is overall beautiful, though the writing at times could be smooth and then next very choppy. The characters were likable and were able to stand out on their own, and the descriptions throughout the book make you feel like you're actually there.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka Menon

    Thanks to Edelweiss and HMH for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Elliot's novel is a retelling of the Grimm's fairytale of The Seventh Raven. It explores familial bonds, masculinity, and the power of wishes. I love fairytale retellings but I wasn't prepared for a novel in verse. The characters felt flat and verses repetitive. I loved the illustrations by Rovina Cai (would love to see the final art) and the note from the author at the end explaining the poetic forms used Thanks to Edelweiss and HMH for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Elliot's novel is a retelling of the Grimm's fairytale of The Seventh Raven. It explores familial bonds, masculinity, and the power of wishes. I love fairytale retellings but I wasn't prepared for a novel in verse. The characters felt flat and verses repetitive. I loved the illustrations by Rovina Cai (would love to see the final art) and the note from the author at the end explaining the poetic forms used for each character. It was a quick, interesting read but not a book I'd recommend.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka Menon

    Thanks to Edelweiss and HMH for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Elliot's novel is a retelling of the Grimm's fairytale of The Seventh Raven. It explores familial bonds, masculinity, and the power of wishes. I love fairytale retellings but I wasn't prepared for a novel in verse. The characters felt flat and verses repetitive. I loved the illustrations by Rovina Cai (would love to see the final art) and the note from the author at the end explaining the poetic forms used Thanks to Edelweiss and HMH for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. Elliot's novel is a retelling of the Grimm's fairytale of The Seventh Raven. It explores familial bonds, masculinity, and the power of wishes. I love fairytale retellings but I wasn't prepared for a novel in verse. The characters felt flat and verses repetitive. I loved the illustrations by Rovina Cai (would love to see the final art) and the note from the author at the end explaining the poetic forms used for each character. It was a quick, interesting read but not a book I'd recommend.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Ashby

    I love this original fairy tale and was SO looking forward to reading this retelling. I had no idea it was written in verse and that format did not work for me with this story. The original story has so much potential for deep emotion, magic, and a fantastical quest, but the poetic format didn't allow for the world building I wanted to sink into. The language is rich but quite a bit of it would be above the comprehension level of many middle schoolers so I see this being a better fit for high sc I love this original fairy tale and was SO looking forward to reading this retelling. I had no idea it was written in verse and that format did not work for me with this story. The original story has so much potential for deep emotion, magic, and a fantastical quest, but the poetic format didn't allow for the world building I wanted to sink into. The language is rich but quite a bit of it would be above the comprehension level of many middle schoolers so I see this being a better fit for high school.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A fantasy novel in verse that tells the story of a couple blessed with many sons but who pine for a daughter. When the girl is born sickly the father prays and is rewarded with a healthy girl, but his sons have been turned into ravens. When the girl, April, becomes a teen she takes off on a quest to restore her brothers. It's a compelling story, and one that I didn't know was in verse when I ordered it. The author provides an afterward explaining the poetic forms used and how he chose them. Ther A fantasy novel in verse that tells the story of a couple blessed with many sons but who pine for a daughter. When the girl is born sickly the father prays and is rewarded with a healthy girl, but his sons have been turned into ravens. When the girl, April, becomes a teen she takes off on a quest to restore her brothers. It's a compelling story, and one that I didn't know was in verse when I ordered it. The author provides an afterward explaining the poetic forms used and how he chose them. There is a musical quality to some of the verse that adds to the magic of the story.

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