Publication date Sept 2020/ Publisher FlameTree Press
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?
“The night he met the cannibals, Dez made the mistake of leaving his hiding place too early.”
Janz is always such a master at opening lines. My favourite is the foreword he wrote for Midnight In The Graveyard, such a fantastic atmosphere.
The reader is immediately catapulted into the non stop action of The Raven, we’re told the story through Dez’ POV which transitions smoothly from first person journal entries addressed to the reader into live action.
When the narrative changed back to journal entries it was a surprise to remember that I’d been reading a memory and not current events.
Everything is a possibility in The Raven, the concept being that all monsters and myths were born from truth. A bioweapon has altered human DNA and opened the doors to long dormant abilities.
There’s a small twist on each of the known quantities for instance; Cannibals get an instant strength boost from devouring humans and Werewolf transitions are instigated by various emotional triggers- I enjoyed this new take on familiar figures.
I liked the way Janz showed us human behaviour after the known world has ended. The differences between those who fight only to survive and the ones living for the thrill of the kill, and especially for the unwilling monsters; those that battle their transformation and feel remorse for their actions afterward.
The Raven is unrelenting from start to end, with the characters not safe for even a moment, Janz heightens the tension in every page.
I did find Dez’ constant self pity rather irritating, he is always mentally berating himself in his father’s voice and assuming responsibility for every little thing. After the first few times I started to skim past those monologues. Other than that minor annoyance I loved every other part of this book.
It seems to me we may be in luck as there is definitely cause for a sequel- I do hope so, I’ll be first in line to read it.