ARC Review: Raven-Stacey Rourke

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 Raven by Stacey Rourke

The Legends Saga #2

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An infamous love, destined nevermore,
For death could not claim, the enchanting Lenore.

Cursed by the malevolent spirit of the Headless Horseman, Ireland Crane ventures to Manhattan in search of a way to break her soul crushing bond. Instead, she discovers the lines between fact and fiction are blurring once more. Croaking ravens. Telltale hearts. Could the works of Poe be coming to pass with handsome Wall Street Midas Ridley Peolte as their unwilling target?

She walks the Earth, a plague on mankind,
searching for he, her rotted heart doth pine.

Together, the two unknowingly release a dark force death itself could not tame. Surrounded by the unrelenting violence and mayhem they’ve unleashed, Ireland feels her control over the Horseman slipping. Before the beast within consumes her, she and her crew must follow the clues of the dead to right a centuries’ old wrong. Will it be enough to sate the Horseman’s appetite?

Hell hath no fury like a ghoul scorned.

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“Gathering both her hands in his, he brushed his lips across the back of one then the other. ‘Before you came into my life I breathed on an atmosphere of sorrow. I stood, lost deep in darkness. Wondering. Fearing. Doubting, I would ever escape. Then, suddenly, a corner was turned and there you stood. A blaze of hopeful light before me. My love for you is more than love.'”

Stacey Rourke’s retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s works is nuanced and macabre. The intricate weaving between tales of darkness and madness spiral into a dreamy, sinister and poetic contemporary world. Rourke is spot on, capturing Poe’s Gothic, and twisted romanticism. 


  • Edgar and Lenore’s love is passionate and tragic. It’s beautiful to read the way Edgar worships her. The sheer poetry that flows from his lines is enough to make any girl with an ounce of romantic yearning swoon. Their love is truly one that transcends time and space and shakes the world’s foundation. The lightness he finds in her eyes is beyond her mortal beauty and is a tell-tale sign of soul mates. The carriage scene broke my heart. The incredible loss, will make you ache and fully grasp Edgar’s torment. The emotional turmoil is palpable. Brace yourself from serious emotional carnage and a not so pretty ugly cry. Though the plot alternated between a few different perspectives, the build up of their relationship was natural and so solid, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect couple. 
  • The story itself, the combination of Sleepy Hollow with Poe was a match made in heaven. The way Stacey fused the two together was seamless and they definitely played off of each other, enhancing each subplot. Just when you think you have it all figured out, a surprise connection you never saw coming will throw you for a loop. 
  • Ridley is hilarious. From his blatantly sexual and flirty remarks, to his playful commentary designed to irk Noah and Ireland, he’s both debonair and magnetic. Ridley is full of vivacious energy and life. Ridley is a complicated man, when he comes into his curse, you see a side of him that is not quite so lackadaisical. Ridley has the weight of Poe’s drama on his shoulders and it is not an easy burden to bear. At times, he spins out of control into the realm of insanity and blood lust. His visions rival even those of Ireland under the Horseman’s spell.
  • The opening scene ranks as one of my all time favorite introductions to a story. It’s magical, sick, and oh so dark. I loved it. The witch is one creepy, vile, and ruthless woman. 
  • Rourke has a talent for graphic descriptions of violence, battles, and gore. The bloodshed was vibrant and so detailed it might be a little much for the faint of heart but was appropriate for the realm of Edgar Allen Poe.
  • Lenore. What a travesty. This love story is a fierce competitor for Romeo and Juliet’s reign. Lenore’s rise and fall is heartbreaking and bitter. The sacrifices Poe makes and the choices he lives through are the kind that you can never forget. The Lenore of the contemporary times is a ravishing yet decrepit bloodthirsty monster. The way she plows through humans is angry and needlessly painful. But the Lenore of old, Poe’s Lenore is still there buried and at the forefront of the reader’s mind, begging to be set free.
  • Ireland’s struggle against the Horseman is more powerful than ever. He thirsts for heads to roll and bodies to massacre. Ireland is still full of guilt and doesn’t know how to cope with the Horseman’s growing control. The internal battle is one of taunts and threats but Ireland’s spirit will not give up and her resilience is really admirable in the face of everything that the curse entails. 
  • The endings to these books are always awesome and leave you wringing your hands, itching for the next book. I can’t WAIT for the next one. He’s one of my favs.


  • There were a handful of minor typos.
  • Towards the end, some of the plot felt convoluted and did not come off as clear as it could have. While the scene itself was inherently chaotic, the explanation lacked cohesion.

Check out the First Book in the Series, Crane, on Goodreads:


The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?

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There is nothing worse than being put on the spot and asked to talk about yourself. For me it brings back that inevitable moment in a new school when the teacher would ask me to stand up, introduce myself and tell the class something about myself. I was always worried I would blurt out something stupid that I would get teased for. Something like, “My name’s Stacey and I like pickles!” Then for the rest of the school year I’d be known as the Pickle Girl and let’s be honest, no one wants that. So to avoid such a faux pas I will simply say that I love to write. It allows me to get my crazy out just enough that I can function as a normal member of society.

Happy reading, 

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