Review: Season of Kings (The Raven’s War #1) by A.J. Rettger

MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.25/5

Format: Kindle Whispersync


War is upon the land and the throne sits empty. Who will claim it?

Elbert of Artanzia finds himself in a precarious position. After stealing the throne from his older brother, he finds himself newly crippled and low on friends. The nobles want to undermine him, while the populace wants to depose him. In a desperate attempt to keep his power, he launches a campaign against the barbarian islanders to the north, something that no king has ever done.

In the forest to the south of the capital, lives Anna and her father. While raised in isolation, Anna is taught how to hunt and kill everything that makes its home in the monster-infested forest. However, her quiet life is torn apart when a group of visitors pay her father an unexpected visit. Forced to flee to the capital city, she must find her long-lost aunt, all while fighting to protect herself and socializing with other teenagers for the first time.

Grimm White-Eyes, a legendary barbarian warrior and Shield of the Isles, is accused of murdering the Islander High King’s brother. With a price on his head, he must flee his homeland and find refuge on the continent. Yet no ship will risk carrying someone of his notoriety. Unable to leave, he is forced to ally himself with the enemy, in hopes that he can continue to live his life as the gods intended, free.


Mr. Rettger was gracious enough to send me an audio version of Season of Kings to review, when I saw that it was whispersync’d, I decided to purchase the ebook as well so that I could listen and read. There were a few things I enjoyed about this book, for starters, this is a very dark book! If you’re a fan of Joe Abercrombie, then this is right up your alley. Speaking of Abercrombie, there was an unintentional easter egg that I caught, “different colored eyes, one green, one blue” that made my First Law heart jump for joy! This story shows the very dark moralities of man with slavery, vanity, betrayal and manipulation but even in the darkest of places, there’s always a sliver of light. With that said, Rettger did not hold back on the sheer brutality of the world he created, because Season of Kings is action packed, and almost from the get-go! The first chapter left me saying “wow, he just did that…”

I really enjoyed the 3 main characters of Grimm, Anna, and Elbert, each extremely flawed in their own ways. Grimm is my favorite character of the bunch, he is a fierce warrior being hunted by the king and he travels with a dwarven girl that he has a type of fatherly dynamic with that reminds me a bit of Wolverine and X-23 in Logan. Anna is a 14 year old girl that is trained as a hunter and survivor by her father, her story-line really escalates quickly and she actually reminds me a little of Arya Stark from Game of Thrones, at least the show. Finally, there’s Elbert, a stuck-up self-centered p.o.s who becomes King of Artanzia, not to make another Game of Thrones connection, but he does kind of remind me of Ramsay Bolton a bit with some of the things he’s done thus far.

Cad Delworth does an incredible job with the narration, I love his accent and a lot of the voices chosen. He does a great job of finding the personality of the charcaters and really gets into the moments. Another thing that I enjoyed that I haven’t really heard much before is when characters “speak in unison” and the narration actually has them do exactly that! But my only issue with the audio has more to do with the production side. The time between the end of a paragraph and the beginning of the next felt more like the end of a sentence. I bring this up because i listen at 1x speed and it made it difficult to get to a stopping point because you had to time the pause just right or it would start the next paragraph that quickly.

The only issue I had about the writing is that the dialogue between characters could use some work. There were times where it just didn’t feel right, as if the conversations just didn’t flow right with a few of the characters. That also could’ve been due to the production timing issue that I had as well. Regardless of that, I definitely enjoyed this and will be continuing this series, especially with that ending! I have to know what happens next, and I also plan to check out his debut novel, Oathbreaker as well.

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