Monday 19 December 2022

Book Review: The Raven's Song by Zana Fraillon & Bren MacDibble


Title: The Raven's Song
Authors: Zana Fraillon & Bren MacDibble
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 5th October 2022
Genre: Children / Teen
Pages: 288 
RRP: $16.99 paperback
Source: Beauty & Lace Book Club 
 My Review of The Raven's Song
This review first appeared on the Beauty and Lace Book Club

The Raven’s Song is the product of a collaboration between Zana Fraillon and Bren MacDibble, two mutli-award winning authors coming together to write a story of friendship and courage.
Twelve-year-old Shelby and her best friend Davy live in a Government controlled closed community made up of three hundred and fifty people living on seven hundred hectares. This is the scientifically calculated number of people who can live sustainably on the land. They live a simple life with solar power and near zero pollution. They are brought up with kindness to each other and kindness to the land. 
Shelby’s life is busy with chores on their egg farm and attending school. 
They must live in these sustainable communities until the natural world, which borders on the fenced perimeter, heals 
When Shelby’s unfettered sense of adventure leads them through the perimeter fence and into the wild and natural world what she and Davy find is beyond their wildest imagination.
Zana and Bren have together created an outstanding Government controlled world in which Shelby and Davy live happily with only a scattering of information of the past. It, at first, seems like an ideal world.
Shelby’s story is told in alternating narration with Phoenix a 12 year old boy living with his siblings, grandmother and aunt. Phoenix has visions, dreams that he isn’t sure are real or not. A sixth sense his grandmother calls it. He is inexplicably drawn to the bog and an old local folk song about a girl who is trapped in the bog forever. 
Phoenix’s story has a science fiction element to it and is just a little bit creepy.
I loved the short chapters, each ending on a cliff hanger that had me eager to read on.
Both Shelby and Phoenix’s stories were totally absorbing and I was intrigued to see how the two stories would connect, never imagining what would actually come next!
Zana and Bren have combined multi-layered moral messages with a science fiction narrative that will have the reader transfixed.
I haven’t read much science fiction but I must say The Raven’s Song had me spellbound and quite often holding my breath whilst reading.
The Raven’s Song is a powerful and haunting read, best suited for ages 12+  (I may be being a bit cautious here, it is an eerie tale)
Publishers recommended age is: 9 - 13 years

My rating 5 / 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the authors

Bren MacDibble was raised on farms all over New Zealand, so is an expert about being a kid on the land. After 20 years in Melbourne, Bren sold everything and spent two years living and working in a bus travelling around Australia. She recently parked her bus in Kalbarri on the beautiful west coast, where she now manages a holiday villa. In 2018, How to Bee - her first novel for younger readers - won the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers, the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children's Literature, and the New Zealand Book Awards Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction. In 2019 The Dog Runner won the New Zealand Book Awards Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction. Bren also writes for young adults under the name Cally Black.

Zana Fraillon is an internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her work has been published in over 15 countries and is in development for both stage and screen. Zana was born in Melbourne but spent her early childhood in San Francisco. Her 2016 novel The Bone Sparrow won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children, the Readings Young Adult Book Prize and the Amnesty CILIP Honour. It was shortlisted for the PM's Literary Awards, the CBCA awards, the Qld Literary Awards, Vic Premier's Literary Awards, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Gold Inky and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Zana spent a year in China teaching English and now lives in Melbourne with her three children, husband and two dogs.


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