Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 20 hours, 18 minutes
Gordo Livingstone was born to be the witch of the Bennett pack, a pack where he felt he belonged until they moved away and left him behind. Not only did Gordo lose his pack that day, but he also lost his mate, Mark Bennett. While time has helped to ease his sense of betrayal by the pack, Gordo still hasn’t been able to forgive Mark for leaving him, even though Mark felt he had no choice but to follow his alpha and his pack.
The Bennett pack has been through a lot, including the death of their alpha, attacks by hunters, and the ascension of two new alphas in Joe and Ox. It has been a year since the pack had to take a stand against Richard Collins and they are managing to heal. Things are still tense between Gordo and Mark, but Gordo is finding it harder to stay away from the man who has been it for him for most of his life. As the relationship between them thaws and begins to move toward more, the guys could finally have a chance to find happiness together. But old enemies are resurfacing and threats are coming from unexpected places. Now Mark, Gordo, and the entire pack are going to have to fight for their lives if they have any hope for a future.
Ravensong is the second book in T.J. Klune’s fabulous Green Creek series. While this book features a new couple in Mark and Gordo, the book very much connects to the first, Wolfsong, and these are best read in order.
As with the first book, this story takes place in stages. The first portion of the book is told mostly in the past, moving back and forth between two timelines. One part follows Gordo, Joe, Kelly, and Carter as they are hunting down Richard Collins. This overlaps the timeline of the first book, but this time things are told from Gordo’s POV. This storyline alternates with further flashbacks to Gordo growing up. We learn about him being a witch, his early relationship with Mark, and the catastrophe that happened between his parents. I found Gordo’s backstory to be really interesting and a great way to really understand his role as a witch, as well as the bitterness he feels toward the Bennetts for leaving him, and towards Mark in particular. I also really loved seeing his friendship with the guys from the garage and how they were so close, even as kids. The portion where the guys are on the road hunting Richard is also interesting, as we know the general story, but in Wolfsong we were getting the POV of those left behind, so this gave us a chance to see it from Gordo’s perspective. That said, I found this part to be a little too long. The flashbacks focused on events that happened in the prior book and a lot of it was day to day things the guys experienced that I didn’t feel really advanced things in this second story.
We then move forward to the second portion of the book where we are in present day as everyone is trying to move on after the battle with Richard. Things picked up a lot here and the story has a lot of intensity and surprises as the pack once again finds themselves threatened and not always from expected places. Things tie together nicely with past events and we really get to see the bond between Gordo and Mark. We also get to feel the connection between the members of the Bennett pack, as well as their determination to face whatever is thrown their way as a family.
From a relationship end, I really liked Mark and Gordo together. When they separated years ago, Gordo was 15 and Mark was 18 and they were just barely getting started as a couple. Despite the fact that they didn’t really have a romantic relationship yet, there is a sense of inevitability here; these men are clearly meant for one another and it is just a matter of time until they work past their conflict and find their way back to each other. That said, the romance is definitely not the focus of this book and it takes a little too much of a back seat for me. I wish we got to experience more of these men together, especially for such a long book.
As with Wolfsong, I listened to this one in audio, narrated by the fabulous Kirt Graves. There are some books where I find the narration is so stellar that it becomes intrinsically tied with the book or series and that is certainly the case here. Graves is so connected to this series for me that I waited (not so patiently) for the audio to come out to read it because I just couldn’t imagine not experiencing it through his narration. This is a story with lots of atmosphere, where the tone and the pacing and the emotion are so much a part of the story that bringing it to life definitely takes a narrator with great skill. Graves is so good here capturing not just the words, but the feel of this story. From the moment I heard the opening words, I was just right back there in Green Creek.
This story has a large cast and Graves does a wonderful job managing all these characters. The voices carried over well from the first book and people were easily distinguishable, even with so many characters. I’ll admit to wondering where Gordo got his twang, when he was born and raised in Green Creek like everyone else. Yet I found I didn’t really care as his voice is just so perfectly Gordo to me, I can’t imagine it any other way.
It has to tell you something that despite the fact that I was DYING to read this book, I waited to experience it in audio as I think Graves does such an amazing job. And overall, I was really happy with this story. I think it could have used some tightening and I would have loved to see some more romance. But this is a book and a series that just moves me. Klune has cerated something so special in these characters and I can’t help but get a bit of a pang whenever I think of them. While the main conflict is wrapped up here, there is definitely more to come and we get some tantalizing bits in the epilogue that really set the stage for the next step in the saga. I can’t wait for more!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.