Lord of Ravens by A.K. Faulkner (Inheritance #3)

Just when Quentin and Laurence have come to terms with their psychic abilities and the responsibilities that come with power, they learn there might be more to their gifts than they thought.

Laurence can wield magic. Real magic, gifted to him by the gods, with all of the sigils and spell-casting and talismans that comes with it. He needs to find a teacher, and Quentin can't - or won't - help him. Quentin has a history with magic, and even Laurence's love can't erase those scars.

While Laurence is learning sorcery, something comes hunting for Quentin and the psychic teens they've been looking after. Quentin doesn't need magic to stop the monster that's chasing them. All he needs to do is give up everything he's come to love and return to the monster that's in his past.

CONTRIBUTOR(S): RJ Bayley (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Ravensword Press
YEAR: 2016
LENGTH: 406 pages (11 hours 1 minute)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Main Character(s), Ace/Aro Main Character(s).

In LORD OF RAVENS, Quentin and Laurence find themselves with different paths for protecting the children in their care from a horrifying danger. Quentin is living in the mansion his brother bought in KNIGHT OF FLAMES, with the psychic kids who stayed after the events of that book. When Quentin's father tracks him down and issues an ultimatum, Laurence tries to fix the situation by learning sorcery as fast as he can, while Quentin prepares himself to surrender to his father to get back the kidnapped children. 

This might technically make sense if someone read it without knowing the earlier books, but the series has been building up to the reveal of how Quentin became scarred, and I think it really benefits from the lead-in of the first two books before getting to this point. Likewise, Laurence's struggle with addiction has a crisis point here which is much more meaningful after reading two books where he's clean of drugs and at least one where he's trying to be sober from alcohol as well. If someone started here, it would be rough introduction without the background to various aspects of their dynamic. The main focus of the series so far is on Quentin and Laurence's relationship, and how they're working on themselves as people individually and as a couple. Laurence has been clean from heroin for at least a few months now, and he's been trying to encourage Quentin to drink less ever since he realized Quentin was probably an alcoholic (though Quentin definitely doesn't think of himself that way). Structurally, I like the ebb and flow of them learning to come to each other with problems, and to trust each other to handle things in their own way. That's been a rough process, as so far Laurence has been the steadier one, but in this book he has a crisis when his abilities let him see a deeply traumatic event in Quentin's past. Until this point, the information that Laurence is addicted to heroin has been mostly a background detail, that comes to the forefront when he tries to obtain heroin to deal with what his vision showed him. Quentin knows that if he goes home to his father, Laurence and the children will be left alone, hopefully. It would be a sacrificial move, giving up his freedom and undoing the five years he spent getting as far away as he could from his terrible father. Laurence has new (horrible) insight into what it would mean for Quentin to return, and is determined to find another way to solve things. The kidnappings are tied into the broader series plotline of Quentin's father as a malevolent influence whom Quentin fled five years ago. There's a temporary resolution, but that ongoing issue is not resolved by the end and will continue to affect future books. 

I continue to be impressed with this series, both with the individual books and the overarching structure. It was obvious from the beginning that certain plotlines would be a very slow burn and I'm enjoying the pacing of the series. I especially like the way the epilogues of each book briefly give the perspective of some other character on the outcome. The ending of this particular book works very well, I'm eager to read what strange thing will happen next. 

Graphic/Explicit CW for sexual content, kidnapping, child abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, incest, rape, sexual assault.

Moderate CW for cursing, homophobia, biphobia, bullying, blood, alcohol, alcoholism, disassociation, drug use, drug abuse, animal death, parental death, death.

Minor CW for ableist language, disordered eating, deportation, gore, car accident.

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