In her thirteenth life, Aven has settled into the now witchcraft-friendly Salem where she has found true happiness and friendship, maybe even love. Despite her contentment, the truth of Aven's existence haunts her. When she dies, her Spirit is forced from the Veil to live again in the body of a stranger.
Does the elusive white raven, who has shadowed Aven through each of her lives, hold the secret to her release--or is it the cause?
To make matters worse, an unrelenting, twisted evil lurks closely behind her. Sustained by his hatred of the witch, he won't give up until she's paid for what she did to him.
When the truth of Aven's connection to the white raven is revealed, it is more horrifying than she could ever have imagined.
Her freedom will come at a terrible price. And even then, will she truly be free?
The White Raven is a modern-day fantasy, magical realism novel. It is told from the first-person perspective of Aven Dovenelle, a witch who has been cursed to live a seemingly endless number of lifetimes. Aven is now living her thirteenth life, nearly reaching the one thousand year mark. In her current lifetime, Aven has found a more accepting climate for those practicing witchcraft in the infamous town of Salem. She is even opening a shop where she will sell trinkets and homemade goods that are sometimes more than they appear.
What Aven does not realize is that something from one of her former lives is still holding a grudge. It is looking for revenge and will do whatever it can to get it.
I enjoyed reading The White Raven. It boasts a strong female lead, a unique take on modern fantasy and the curse itself, and a very intimate and realistic connection to witchcraft.
The main star of the show is Aven. Since the story is told from her point of view - for the most part - we get a bunch of insights into her thoughts and her past lives. To be fair, I actually didn’t like Aven for the first few chapters. She came across as angry and short-tempered, but this quickly developed into more of strong will and independence, rather than a short fuse (which she admits to having, herself). As we learn about the terrible things that she has been through and how she has suffered, it becomes more understandable that she has become hardened. As Aven explains many times, this is the first lifetime where she feels happy and safe. Nearly a thousand years of living in fear, being persecuted and killed will take its toll on anyone, even a witch as incredibly powerful as Aven.
And the incredible power that Aven possesses is extremely important in conveying one of the strongest messages in the sotry. A common theme I found within The White Raven was that, no matter how powerful Aven is, her actions have consequences. And usually the worst of these consequences are a direct result of Aven’s temper, when her fury gets the best of her. Whether it be reprimanding a thief, cursing someone who hates her, or merely displaying her grandiose power and wealth, Aven is often the instigator of her own misfortune. You don’t want bad things to happen for her, but her faults help make Aven, someone strong enough to influence Nature itself, more human and relatable.
We grow to love the other characters as well. Without delving into too much spoling detail, the other characters - primarily Aven’s friends - act realistically and are usually a fun, sarcastic addition to the story. Even the namesake of the story, the white raven, has its own personality and was one of my favourite characters.
There was one part of the novel that I wish was a bit different, though. The story almost feels like two stories in one. On the one hand, we are introduced to the Spirit of Morris Stiles as a hateful Spirit looking for revenge. He shows up in the first act of the book, then all but disappears until the very end. In between we follow Aven, Jo, and Sylvia trying to figure out why Aven is cursed and how to fix it. I think it might have been preferable to either focus wholly on one story or the other, for this first book, or have Morris show up or grow every now and then throughout the story, since both arcs could have stood on their own right.
That being said, The White Raven is a strong debut for Miller. Aven is almost like a force of Nature herself, a witch that is awe-inspiring in her abilities, yet relatable through her mistakes and tragedies. Yet she is cursed to live and die, over and over. She has been persecuted to no end, and even now, in the modern era, she is not safe.
Is The White Raven worth reading?
Absolutely. If you are a fan of magical realism, modern fantasy, real life witchcraft, a splash of romance, and a strong female protagonist, be sure to treat your imagination to Miller’s debut novel.
The White Raven gave me literal chills. Not just once or twice, either. Several times.
How many more lives must Aven live through? She’s on lucky number thirteen now. So lucky, in fact, that she settled in modern-day Salem, touting witchcraft freely. A fitting location for the mysteries of Aven’s past lives to haunt her. And everything was off to a great start, too.
I could honestly go on about this plot for days, it was that good. The thematic continuity was crafted so well. Not only did the author tackle good versus evil in an excellent way, they tried their hand at karma, too. The subject of karma comes up several times throughout the novel. The way it’s foreshadowed is brilliant. Key events and characters are placed at a point that the reader keeps them in the back of their mind. When the reveal happens, the message is pretty powerful.
Witchcraft has so many different renditions in the literary world. I loved the simplicity of magic in this novel. While it’s used often, it never feels like the characters are overpowered. It serves important purpose to the plot, so spells aren’t flashy or showy. The author took their time to make sure they did things right by modern witches, and it shows. The setting gave things a very traditional witchcraft aesthetic. However, modern Wicca makes a giant push for territory. The aesthetic really makes a difference in the tone of the novel. The way it’s written is almost a spell in and of itself. It draws the reader in so far that they lose sight of their own surroundings.
Characters came crafted with an expert hand. They had incredible depth. The cast also featured a number of women. The author turned the tables on many common tropes. The women were the stars of the novel, and I loved it. They were the ones in control. This time, it was a guy’s turn to be there as the love interest. I enjoyed the progression and the construction of the romantic subplot, something I don’t say too often.
And the ending. Oh, the ending. It was so deliciously evil. I hate it and I love it so much. The most brilliant way to guarantee readership for follow-ups, if there are any.
I don’t think I name one thing I dislike about this novel. I enjoyed everything about it–another rarity. This series is now on my watch list, and so is the author.
The White Raven is out! Happy Book Birthday (insert many balloons and streamers and champagne here) Carrie D. Miller!!! A new book release is always a special thing, even more so when I have just finished reading that book and it is fantastic! You might think I’m exaggerating, but no, I really, really liked this book (I’m a writer so I can come up with better descriptors than really, but it’s 6 am, so forgive me).
The White Raven is a romance wrapped up in a magical story with just enough thrill to keep you butt-in-seat until the book is done. Or at least, that’s how it worked for me. I started to read it a days ago but couldn’t finish, so I made sure to sit down last night and finish the last 95% of it I had left and it was no problem for me to do so. Seriously, a great story. It hooks you in and doesn’t let go.
The White Raven centers on Aven, a witch who’s been alive for a millennia and doesn’t see end in sight. She’s so powerful that she’s been solitary for the majority of her lives, yes, she’s on her 13th. I so don’t want to spoil this, so this is hard, but the title comes from Aven’s constant companion through all her lives, a white raven who she knows is there but can’t quite see or touch. Always just there on her peripheral vision but so far away. Throughout the story we come to find out just how important that raven, Ren, is. And through this journey, this 13th life that Aven leads, she makes friends, falls in love and performs some seriously cool magic.
The author, Carrie D. Miller, does a fantastic job of pulling you into this word of magic and making you cozy and want to stay. Even through the rough times, and there are some rough times, you root for Aven and her crew. Shes been through so much and you, the reader understand that she deserves a happy ending. Though, to be fair, I’m not sure if that is what she gets (spoilers!). Either way, I’m so glad I got a chance to read this book. It is always fun to find a new magic to read about. You think the genre is overdone until you find something bright and fresh like this, so that is cool. The White Raven is out today so look for it wherever you buy books!
Magic and suspense abound in this moving debut fantasy novel about how far a witch will go to help a friend.
Aven Dovenelle is new to Salem, Massachusetts, where she sets up a shop for potions and charms. Although most of Salem’s other witches resent her, she’s found a true friend in Josephine “Jo” Riddle and her daughter, Sylvia. Jo is a fellow witch who does vision walks, and Aven opens up to her, revealing for the first time that she’s been cursed to live one life after another, with no relief. A mysterious white raven often appears in her peripheral vision, but never long enough for her to find out why. With Jo’s help, she discovers the reasons why she was cursed and why the raven has been following her. The weight of the witchcraft in this story is tempered by the introduction of handsome Cal Jacobs, a down-to-earth plumber who ends up on a date with Aven. He may not initially believe that she’s a witch, but he soon has no choice, as a series of dramatic events unfold, each one testing Aven’s abilities further. It will take an intense amount of “magick” to help her—and possibly the ultimate sacrifice. Aven is a delightful protagonist who’s as funny as she is powerful (at one point, for example, she describes her personal style as “the Garage Sale Queen look”), and her wit keeps the story moving. Miller’s novel also showcases its flawless worldbuilding; it explains Aven’s many lives in compelling terms and offers beautiful sensory details, such as the smells of lemongrass and clove in the shop. The white raven’s occasional chapters of narration are opaque, but otherwise, each character brings the right amount of heart (and plot) to the story. The best part of the novel, however, is Aven and Jo’s friendship, as they often seem to genuinely enjoy each other’s company; they’re characters that fantasy fans won’t soon forget.
A heartfelt fantasy tale with a spirited plot.
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
I enjoy books with bold plots and quirky perspectives and The White Raven by Carrie D. Miller offered more than that. In some strange way, the author had me thinking about Sita, the lead character in Christopher Pike’s Thirst. Aven is living her thirteenth life, and she isn’t sure how many more lives she will have to live. It could have been easier for her to keep on living one life after another, except that her past lives catch up with her. Shadowed by a white raven, Aven isn’t sure if the raven has the key to her freedom or if she is the cause of the curse. Now she is settled in Salem, owns a shop, and explores the possibility of love. But then a shocking discovery disrupts everything. Can she survive the dark magic this time?
The narrative voice is captivating, and it comes across very strongly in the first person narrative. Written in the present tense, the author seems to have the unusual knack for drawing the reader irresistibly into the narrator’s viewpoint. The writing is excellent and it features a lot of insightful descriptions that capture the emotions of the characters in the minutest detail. I love the strong plot, the originality of the story and the great characters. The conflict is masterfully handled and it isn’t hard to love the characters, to feel their pain and frustration. The White Raven is a great story for fans of fantasy and anyone who loves reading about witches and magic. Carrie D. Miller was able to capture my heart throughout the entire story.
The White Raven is an epic fantasy tale that is a perfect escape into a world which is unlike our own. It is a novel that blends many themes such as magic, love, friendship, and incredible humour. The author has managed to weave all of these themes perfectly which in turn makes it an incredible adventure that will not be forgotten for a long time! Here is a little bit more about this tale.
Our story follows the life of our protagonist, Aven Dovenelle who so happens to be a witch who is cursed to live an eternal life ever after. Some may say that living forever would be a good thing but this is not the case with Aven as she is haunted by the memories of her previous lives everyday and she cannot escape the horrific memories and the horrible deaths she has encountered throughout her life.
In Aven’s thirteenth life she seems to have found some semblance of peace with her endless curse. She now owns her own shop in Salem where she is able to sell all kinds of magical items and she is surrounded by beloved friends that always stick by her side no matter what. However, soon Aven finds a shocking discovery which could disrupt the peace she has found… will she be able to survive the dark magic this time? Read this epic tale to find out!
Carrie D. Miller is an exceptional writer and her narrative voice is beyond captivating. Her novel is written in the present tense and she had the ability to draw me in very quickly into the narratives viewpoint and plot of the novel. Her writing is charming and excellent and features a lot of insightful descriptions that capture the emotions of the characters perfectly. Her strong, concise plot draws the pace of the novel and the story along perfectly so that you can’t resist reading this original, fascinating and let’s not forget intriguing story!
As well as the plot of this novel and the pacing being perfectly written, so was the chapters and the monologues, they were captivating and very unique. The monologue is so captivating that I found myself transported to Salem and I felt as if I was living besides the characters I came across in the novel. The world building of Miller is exceptional; All of this combined makes it an epic magic, fantasy, romance mystery that is full of twists and turns galore. Besides, this novel is about a witch! I adore reading about witches and Salem so that is why I had to read this novel and why I was always destined to love it!
Our main character Aven as well as the many other characters we encounter are incredible. I adored Aven and loved reading about her past, her journey and her present. I felt like I knew her, her character was so well flushed out that you feel her emotions; I felt her pain, and frustration but I also felt the love she felt. Her character from the beginning is very intriguing; immediately as a reader you want to find out more about her curse and what that means for her but then you also want to learn about her present life in Salem. I followed this story word for word and with every chapter I read the novel just continued to become even more marvellous.
To conclude my thoughts on The White Raven I would say if you are looking for a book that is beautifully written with enigmatic characters which is full of magic, curses and the power of friendship and love then you will adore this novel! It truly is a wonderful story that is a great escape, that is why I have to give this novel Four Stars!
Firstly, we follow the life of Aven Dovenelle (a real witch) who is cursed to live life after life with all her memories of her previous lives (including her horrific deaths). Straight away Aven’s character is so intriguing, wanting to know more about her curse and her new life in Salem I didn’t have a problem in following her story word for word. In her thirteenth life she seems to have found some peace with her endless curse, having her own shop to sell magical items and true friends by her side, I loved reading about Aven’s journey and truly felt as if I knew her, understood her pain, her frustration, her love and friendships.
The prospect of this book turning into a romance genre wasn’t entirely a bad thing (who doesn’t love a good romance) but as it already has fantasy, magic, friendship and tragedy muddled within, it gave this book a perfect mixture to satisfy all readers. The relationships that Aven encounters (Calvin being one) really proves that love can be hard to come by when you are different, but Aven inspired me by proving everyone wrong that a strong independent woman (witch) can have happiness and I was swept up with the romance that blossomed between her and Cal (even if there were a few rocky patches!).
One part I thoroughly enjoyed throughout (it is very hard to pick just one!) was the chapters where the White Raven (Ren) had an inner monologue, it was a very unique writing style and quite frankly a brilliant way to tie up the relationship between Aven and the White Raven, showing a softer side to her as well as giving us some insight into how she felt about Aven and the struggle they both must go through! How there relationship whilst somewhat a mystery proved to be something much more powerful and inspiring. It broke up the usual narrative perfectly and really gave me a different side to the story that I was very grateful for!
Learning about the curse was a huge shock! Although a few twists were put in place which completely threw me. I honestly didn’t see it coming and I couldn’t imagine it being announced any better, no spoilers will be mentioned but I was completely in awe of how the whole book finished…
I think that the book was written beautifully and honestly I don’t think my words can do it justice, I do feel as if The White Raven is a perfect read if you wish to escape reality and enter a world of magic, curses and friendships. My only downside would be that it wasn’t longer (but fingers are crossed for a sequel). I will most definitely be looking out for any other books Carrie D. Miller brings out because her writing is truly wonderful!
I’m very excited to announce that actress and voice over artist Melinda Wade will narrate The White Raven audiobook.
If you’ve listened to audiobooks Happiness Sold Separately, Devil in the Details, Zag Zig Parenting, or A Beautiful Day in Alaska, you’ve heard Melinda’s smooth, warm voice.
She looks familiar, doesn’t she? You may have seen Melinda in films Choke, The Limbo Room, Urban Legend, Sarah’s Key, and Three Windows, or on TV in House of Lies, Damages, multiple episodes of Law & Order, Spin City, All My Children, and Ed.
Melinda has also done multiple characters for video games like Grand Theft Auto, GTA 4, Vice City Stories, ChinaTown Wars, and was the voice of Pamela Anderson for Celebrity Death Match.
Check out IMDB for more of Melinda’s work.
Announcing The White Raven, its release in ebook and paperback, and several review excerpts from Amazon and Goodreads.
I’m thrilled to announce that The White Raven is now available as an audiobook!
Actress Melinda Wade’s smooth, warm voice gave me chills and had me in tears. ME! The author who’s read it countless times! Her voice is truly captivating.
Available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes.