Get Your Free Audiobook

Highland Raven

The Celtic Blood Series, Book 1
Narrated by: Lesley Parkin
Series: The Celtic Blood Series, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 6 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

Non-member price: $28.94

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

Destined to become Queen of Scotland. Bound by blood to the Celtic gods.

Scotland, 1026 - Gruoch, descendant of the line of MacAlpin, should have been born into a life of ease. But fate is fickle. Her father's untimely death, rumored to have been plotted by King Malcolm, leaves her future uncertain and stained by the prophecy that she will avenge her family line.

Escaping to one of the last strongholds of the old Celtic gods, Gruoch becomes an adept in arcane craft. Her encounters with the otherworld, however, suggest that magic runs stronger in Scotland than she ever imagined.

Haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she's never met, Gruoch soon feels her fate is not her own. She is duty-bound to wed a powerful lord, if not the Prince himself; however, she's not sure she can stop her heart when she meets Banquo, a gallant highlander and druid.

Fans of Outlander and Mists of Avalon will relish this sweeping Scottish historical fantasy that tells the tale of Gruoch, a woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.

©2014 Clockpunk Press (P)2016 Clockpunk Press

Critic Reviews

A great novel that captures realistically a world of witches and fairies, warrior women and barbaric men, and a woman exploring a life she had no idea existed (Author Carrie L. Wells)
A rich tale of lore and legend that will trap you faster than a fairy ring ( Fabulous and Fun Book Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    0
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Michelle @ In Libris Veritas
  • 25-08-2016

Another Hit by Karsak

Melanie Karsak does it again! Highland Raven is a delightful mix of historical and fantasy that pulls inspiration from Shakespeare's Macbeth. The story centers on Lady Macbeth, before she ever took that name and is instead Gruoch MacAlpin the daughter of a royal bloodline and at the heart of magic from the Celtic gods.

Karsak has made her way onto my favorites list with her The Harvesting series, and are among my favorite audiobooks because of her care at picking amazing narrators who bring her stories to life. She doesn't disappoint with Highland Raven. I will admit to being somewhat hesitant with this one since it's a little different from her other novels, but that worry was pretty much pointless because I really think she knocked it out of the park with Highland Raven. We are given a chance to look at Grouch as she grows up and begins to learn that her fate has been set before her by the old gods, and that she is not only bound as a relation to the King but also by the old magics that still linger in the land. We get a surprising amount of religious strife as Christianity starts it's hold on the area and as those who still believe in the Celtic gods struggle to hold onto that heritage in the face of outright disapproval. Then there is the magic itself...I completely adored all the chapters in which Gruoch spent with the coven, as that is when we really start to see the Bard's work pulled in and weaved into the story-line in bits and pieces.

There was so much I wasn't expecting as far as the characters go. Grouch (Lady Macbeth) is portrayed as a power hungry woman who is completely lost to her husband's ambition in the original Shakespearean play, she pulls the strings behind his rise and we occasionally see the three fates at important moments lingering. In Highland Raven we see her as a woman who is placed with tremendous power and finds love not with Macbeth, but with Banquo. She is strong willed, curious, and glad to have this higher purpose, though the power behind her isn't one that allows for weakness or mercy. Then there is Sid...who is burdened with a gift of her own, but becomes a fast friend to Grouch and is completely delightful.
The narration, as a mentioned before, is perfection. Lesley Parkin does an excellent job with the reading and really makes each character stand out with a variety of different accents. She does read a bit on the slow side but she does have a pretty steady pace and a fantastic reading voice.

There is so much I wish I could talk about when it some to HR, but this review has gone on long enough already without adding in even more rambling about character development and fantastic scene setting. Karsak is definitely an author to keep an eye out for, and I really love her range. I'll be keeping up with this series for sure and I can't wait to see how Lady Macbeth handles the new revelation at the end of this book.

I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • korinka
  • 28-08-2016

Grabbed my soul

If you've ever looked into divination, past lives, runes or wicca, read this, and never even mind the whole Macbeth thing. Because, to be honest, I remember zilch from Shakespeare's Macbeth.
But I know that there are times in every woman's life when she wishes to be included in a tribe of women, to be taught herb lore and mysteries. To be an aspect of the Goddess and to find her inner calling. Go on this journey with Corbie, as she becomes Cerridwen.
You'll love what you find.

Also please give a medal to the person who got Lesley Parkin to read this story. Her Scottish accent totally convinced me I was in 11th century Scotland, following future Lady Macbeth. Beautiful.

Pet peeve: the lady on the cover of this book should probably have been raven black-haired, like the heroine. I like her braided updo, though :)

I still have 3 hours left of this story... so, gotta go.

See you in our next life together!

This audiobook was given by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review via Audiobook Boom.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • BVerité
  • 07-12-2018

Disappointing...

I reread the reviews after listening to this book and must agree completely with other reviewers that this book was incomplete, ridiculously fantastical, and quite shallow. I felt as though it was a bit childish- and perhaps belongs to YA fiction rather than Historical Fiction. After reading the book description and so many good reviews, I thought this would be solid historical fiction set in first century Scotland with a bit of fantasy lore of the time. I love Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian Legend series “The Warlord Chronicles”. Thus when I saw this book compared to Mists of Avalon and Outlander, perhaps I had unrealistic expectations.
I was also irritated by the narrator’s voice for certain characters. Looking back, I can’t tell if these characters were annoying due to the writing, or if it was just poor delivery.

I was underwhelmed with this book and won’t be continuing this series.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 31-01-2019

Spoiler Alert

I really enjoyed this book, and originally rated it highly. I was excited to start the second book in the series - which opens with the main character being raped. I'm deeply disappointed with what I thought was going to be a very enjoyable fantasy series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Diane Kay
  • 20-12-2018

Fantasy Celtic

Audio book very short and not worth the price. Good reading. Fairly well written but not much of an ending. Book is in a series and doesn’t stand on its own

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Joyfulgirl
  • 17-09-2018

Disappointing

I bought this title after a summer of reading historic and classic fiction. I wanted something fun and magical and it said if I liked Outlander and Mists of Avalon this was a good choice. The narration was pretty decent but the plot was not well paced at all. I had no idea what was happening some of the time and I don't think there was much building of characters, scenes or worlds. Nothing seemed fully developed. The ending was abrupt and I thought I accidentally skipped it somehow. Clearly they want you to rush in and buy the next book to try and figure out what the heck happened, but honestly, I'll pass. I only stuck this book out b/c I'm not a quitter and honestly, I kept hoping the plot would get interesting.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Beckersly
  • 11-06-2018

Just okay

The narrator did an excellent job but for me something was just missing in this story. It was decent enough but didn't pull me in. I don't think I'll continue with the trilogy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Eric Lymon
  • 18-11-2018

Incomplete & Wildly Imagined

First Problem: this book is not a complete story or episode of the series. The story is designed to require you to buy more books if you’re looking for a stopping place or resolution in the Protagonists life.

Second problem: The story starts as historic period fiction, but finishes as wild fantasy, beyond all suspension of disbelief. While the tale begins in medieval Scotland during the time of Danelaw in England, it evolves into something akin to a mythology story by a native people complete with scenes in a parallel spirit world.

Through the total detachment from a historically plausible reality, The story eventually becomes incoherent, hard to follow and wildly imagined.

Be careful before you buy.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Miss R.
  • 07-01-2019

Beautiful Narrarion

The narrator’s voice is perfect. The storyline was good, but sometimes difficult to follow due to all of the detailed names. If I had been able to read them as we went it would have helped me keep better track of places and characters. That being said, the narrator did vary her speech for different characters which helped differentiate them more easily.
Very enjoyable overall.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • J. Henry
  • 30-12-2017

Not what I had expected. Very hard to follow.

Multiple names for the characters. Main character had three names. Magic was used as an excuse to jump from one scene to another in different times with no apparent reason (unless the reason was to confuse the reader... if so...bravo, mission accomplished!). The attempt to be descriptive resulted in repetitiveness. The narrator's accent seemed overly exaggerated and was distracting. When the book finally caught my interest a little, it was the end. This book was little more than a prelude, introducing characters and various scenes. If I could go back and unread this book, I would.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lolah
  • 08-09-2018

A brilliant story, excellently narrated

I listened to this story as an audiobook, excellently narrated by Lesley Parkin, who really brought it to life, drawing out its subtle nuances and breathing life into the characters - with my eyes closed I could see the movie playing in my imagination! I absolutely loved the way that the author has woven in elements of the inspiration Shakespeare and real Scottish history, but still kept it a very original story, giving Lady Macbeth her own backstory, and I can't wait to listen to book 2 and find out what happens next!