Monday, 23 January 2017

Raven Song (Inoki's Game #1) I.A. Ashcroft

Name: Raven Song
Series: Inoki's Game (Book 1)
Author: I.A. Ashcroft
Paperback: 290 pages
Published Date: March 14, 2016
Publisher: Lucid Dreams Publishing 
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1944674004
ISBN-13: 978-1944674007

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Book Blurb:
A century ago, the world burned. Even now, though rebuilt and defiant, civilization is still choking on the ashes. 

Jackson, a smuggler, lives in the shadows, once a boy with no memory, no name, and no future. Ravens followed him, long-extinct birds only he could see, and nightmares flew in their wake. Once, Jackson thought himself to be one of the lucky few touched by magic, a candidate for the Order of Mages. He is a man now, and that dream has died. But, the ravens still follow. The nightmares still whisper in his ear. 

Anna’s life was under the sun, her future bright, her scientific work promising. She knew nothing of The Bombings, the poisoned world, or the occult. One day, she went to work, and the next, she awoke in a box over a hundred years in the future, screaming, fighting to breathe, and looking up into the eyes of a smuggler. Anna fears she’s gone crazy, unable to fill the massive hole in her memories, and terrified of the strange abilities she now possesses. 

The Coalition government has turned its watchful eyes towards them. The secret factions of the city move to collect them first. And, old gods stir in the darkness, shifting their pawns on the playing field. 

If Anna and Jackson wish to stay free, they must learn what they are and why they exist. 

Unfortunately, even if they do, it may be too late.

Raven Song is the first of a four book adult-oriented dystopian fantasy series, a story of intrigue, love, violence, and the old spirits in the shadows who wait for us to notice them again. Readers of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, and Charlie Human will enjoy this dark magic-laced tale rooted on the bones of what our world could become.

How has your own environment influenced the story of Raven Song?

First of all, thank you for inviting me to speak with you on your blog! I love talking with fellow readers and fans of fantasy and science fiction. It’s the only other thing as fun as writing it myself!

So… how did my environment influence Raven Song? That is an excellent question. It’s a strange, unique story, and I have no doubt the unusual and wonderful things I experienced growing up fed into it.

When I was a kid, I lived in the mountains of Colorado in the middle of nowhere—over 9,000 feet above sea level, 7 miles from our nearest neighbor. In a place like that, you learn what solitude and silence are. After several years, you start to feel the wind, the snow, and the coming storms on an almost instinctive, visceral level. The ways of the animals and the trees become a part of you. The supernatural starts to sound very possible. And when you read our ancestors’ myths about the gods and the wilds, you approach these stories from a certain place of understanding, a feeling of how small you can be in the larger universe, but how integrated you are with it nonetheless. 

When I felt this the most was when I would look up in the sky at night, not a human soul for miles, and see thousands of glittering lights. 

Many of the old myths hold stars as a portal to the more divine aspects of the world, and when you see them unhindered by light pollution or atmosphere, you start to realize why. It’s an overwhelming, jaw-dropping experience, just looking up into infinity, trying to fit together the pieces. 

Once, we used the stars to navigate and explore. We used them to tell our most important stories, hang high visions of our heroes and the monsters they fought, make sense of our world. Even Dante himself ended all three books of the Divine Comedy with “stars” as the final word. Being out there under those ancient fires, and you start to realize that the world our ancestors and our myths lived in never died. It’s so much bigger than us, enfolds us still. It’ll always be there, even when we can’t always see it in our cities, in the protective bubbles we’ve made shielding ourselves from it all.

That’s not to say that the progress civilization has made in recent years, the extraordinary things we’ve achieved, is bad. All of that is well worth preserving. But, I will always carry those stars with me. And, the divine being on which Raven Song spins carries them too, flickering out from his night-sky eyes. Raven Song tells of a world where, unfortunately, many of our comforts and securities have been ripped away by war and bombings. Humanity struggles on. It tries to keep alive the good of what civilization made. But the divine forces of the past, the dreams and myths and magic… it’s all so much closer to the edges in their world, entwines with it deeply, even when no one understands it anymore. 

Anna and Jackson, the two narrators, are lynchpins in this story, both very close to these primal forces in their own ways. A new war is coming, change that threatens to rip away all of the recovery and goodness their world has achieved since the last major conflict. 

The curious thing about Anna and Jackson is that they both have a gift to see ravens—birds that have gone extinct by their time, birds that have long held a special place in the heart of our myths and legends. These specters are living embodiments of the primal and magical universe, guiding them along their path, helping them to discover secrets humanity has long lost. If Anna and Jackson want to have a hope of not letting the world tear itself apart, they must follow. 

Will they succeed? Well. There’s a lot in their way: war, twisted mages, corrupt government, and gods that would rather let humanity fall. Even learning what they are and what magic they can do could be fatal. But this is a story for dreamers, for lovers of myth, and for people who want to find hope amidst destruction. And I can’t wait to share it all with you! 

The second installment is coming this year, as well—four books in total. If you check out my mailing list, you’ll hear all about it, plus I’ll be sending out some short stories tied up in magic and intrigue as well. 

I hope to see you there, and I hope you enjoy my debut fantasy Raven Song! Maybe when you next look up at the stars, you’ll think of magic as well.

Author Bio:
I. A. Ashcroft has been writing fiction in many forms for almost twenty years. The author's first book, written at age seven, featured the family cat hunting an evil sorceress alongside dragons and eagles. This preoccupation with the fantastical has not changed in the slightest.

Now, the author dwells in Phoenix, AZ alongside a wonderful tale-spinner and two increasingly deranged cats. Ashcroft writes almost exclusively in the realm of darker fantasy these days, loving to entertain adults with stories of magic, wonder, despair, violence, and hope, bringing a deep love of mythology into every tale penned. The author also loves diverse and intriguing casts of characters.

When not buried in a book, one might find Ashcroft learning languages, charting road trips, and playing tabletop RPGs with clever and fun people.

Contact the Author:
Amazon Author Page

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