I would like to thank the author, once again, for sending me her book and for being so patient as it took me ages to read it and review it!
“The Raven Wheel” was written by A. F. Stone and published in September 2019 with the Book Guilt Publishing.
When you’re being dragged under, the choice is fly or die…
The Raven Wheel follows three troubled teenagers as they struggle to seize control of their lives.
Wayward Tye wants to finally make his father proud. Bright but awkward Kian is desperate to reconnect with his estranged mum. Impulsive rebel, Ria, harbours a secret desire to murder her father.
Their lives intertwine as they strive to succeed and find themselves in too deep, too late…The Raven Wheel.
It was a very heartbreaking story, and even though I read the blurb I wasn’t expecting to get my heart crushed this badly. It’s a book written with different point of views, which helps a lot to immerge you deeper into the story. Each characters are touching and brings out something that makes you want to find out more about them but also makes you love them. If I had to choose one favorite I think I would choose Kian. I don’t know why, but he was very sensitive, attaching, he felt very real. Well to be honest, the characters all felt super real. The author depicted her characters in a very sensitive way – you know everything about them: their personality, their struggles, their past, their present, their life, their projects. She really worked hard to bring them to life.
I want to be totally honest with you in my reviews so here’s the truth – when I read this book, it was my third attempts at reading it. I am a mood reader, and every time I picked it up it was never the right moment. I could say that I regret not reading it before but I don’t. I don’t because I wouldn’t have enjoyed, loved, nor felt the way I felt reading it this time if I had forced myself the two other times. The fact that I had to pick it up three time to read it doesn’t make it a bad book! oh gosh no! not at all. In fact, I think it is one of my favorite book! It’s just that being a mood reader is not easy because you can’t really plan to read something in advance! Anyway this third and last attempt was the one, and I loved it. It broke my heart, it crushed it into pieces, I cried so hard but it was worth it. Worth the wait and worth having my heart broken into million pieces.
I loved the characters background, with their very own struggles, their battles within their families. I loved the story, how the plot was brought and led all through the book. I hated as much I loved it, what the author done to the characters. Oh people! Don’t expect happy tears and a world full of unicorn.
We’re following Kian and Tye who are brothers, they use to live with Tye’s dad until something bad happened and so they moved to their grandmother’s place. From there, we meet Ria. She lives in the same place as their grandmother, and she has a very difficult life. She’s seeking revenge for what her father done to her. Some of them are going to meet, and their stories ends up all connecting to each others.
The only thing that is missing in this book is a list of Trigger Warnings. I know it can be hard to give one, but I think it’s very important for the readers who needs it! Many subjects can be triggering, and mentioning those triggers won’t take anything off the book, it could just protect the reader! (It’s missing in most books, unfortunately.)
I would definitely recommend “The Raven Wheel“. A. F. Stone is an amazing writer, a very sensible person and she needs to write more books. She is so talented and was truly gifted! She brings those made up person into the world as if they were real, I truly miss them and got so attached as if they were my friends in real life. Also I need her to collab with Adam Silvera so they can break my heart together!
Here’s a list of Trigger Warnings, feel free to not read them if you’re not interested!
Mental Health, Drugs, Alcohol, Death, War, Grief, Suicide.
I am so thrilled to share with you an interview with the author, I am so so happy that she accepted to answer some of my questions. I hope you will enjoy this little interview as it’s my first on the blog! Thank you so much to the author for taking the time to answer my questions, and dont forget to read this book.
- When did you start writing stories ?
I started writing stories as a child. My mum still has some that I wrote, aged eight. The illustrations are quite cringe-inducing. I seemed to be quite into sci-fi at the time, which is interesting, because I’m all about social realism now!
2. It’s not the typical stories we can read about with the perfect love stories, and happily ever after. How did you come up with the ideas for The Raven Wheel ? When did you start writing it and how long did it take you ?
The Raven Wheel started from an idea I had a lot as a kid. I had a bit of a miserable time in high school and every morning, walking there, I’d see the hills in the distance and just wish I could be there instead. God knows what I was actually looking at, but in my head it was the North Staffordshire moorlands and I could *totally* just go and live off-grid there, on my own, instead of going to school. The fact I didn’t know the first thing about living outdoors didn’t seem to matter at the time. So that’s where the idea of a semi-feral teenage girl living in an abandoned mill on the moors came from, anyway! The rest kind of sprung up as I was writing it. There are aspects of situations I’ve experienced or people I’ve known, but I should stress that none of it is biographical. You’re right – perfect love stories and happily-ever-afters are not my bag! I was a bit of a goth as a teenager so when you pair that with a nineteenth-century novel addiction, my work was always going to tend towards tragedy. I’m learning, though, and my next book will have hope on the horizon – I completely understand why people need it. I started writing The Raven Wheel in about 2016 I think. I did most of the work during 2017/18 during my first pregnancy and maternity leave, then signed a contract for publication in early 2019 just after having my second baby. The book came out just as I was returning to work later that year and was in shops (well, ahem, three shops) by Christmas. All-in-all it was a busy end to the decade.
3. Which character did you love the most writing about ? Why ?
That’s a really tough question! I loved them all for different reasons. Ria was good fun to write and a really immersive experience. Writing someone like Tye – confident, good at sport, popular at school – was quite hard, because that’s the opposite of me! I think the character I have most affection for is Kian, because I’ve known so many people like him. I’m not going to write any more about that in case I give too much away/start crying.
4. How did you feel when you put the last full stop on your project ? It must have been so exciting!
Anxious. I’d love to get to a point where I’m secure enough in my writing to feel elated about getting it out into the world, but I’m not there yet! See answer to next question for elaboration…
5. Who was the first person who read your book ? Was it hard to share your work with someone ?
I’ve always been so terrified of people thinking I’m deluded when it comes to writing that this is something I’ve always found extremely difficult. All the advice is to join writing groups, share your work online, find a community for feedback… I completely failed in this regard. The first people to read my work are generally the agents/publishers I’m submitting to and that is not the way to do it. Please, don’t follow my lead here. I know I have caused myself years of unnecessary grief purely because I’m too awkward to find fellow-writers to share with. When it comes to non-writers, I wouldn’t want to put anyone who actually knows me in the awkward position of having to a) pretend to like my work or b) tell me they don’t like my work. I’m too British to survive the embarrassment of that situation. Some friends and family read it once it was out, of course, but at least by then neither of us would feel too bad about a negative review- at least someone liked it enough to print it!
6. Do you have any tips to share with people who would like to write and share their work ?
Don’t do what I did. Do the opposite. The stuff everyone tells you to do. Ask questions, join groups, share your work, listen and learn.
7. How did you feel when you received your first review ? I’d be so scared, it must be a strange feeling!
It’s hard for me to articulate the relief. My first reviews were from the advance copies I sent to a few people who had kindly agreed to review it. I was really hoping that one of them would have a snippet of something positive to say that I could quote, so I was overwhelmed with the response. My first blogger/bookstagrammer review made me cry, because she ‘got’ exactly what I was trying to say with the book and she put it so beautifully. If I never have anything published again, that review is enough to make me believe my heartache over writing has been worthwhile.
8. This one is very tricky because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but do you think you could write a second book (or novella) about some of the characters to tell their ‘after’ story, what happened to them ?
I’ve left the door open, definitely. In an ideal world I’d love to write the next book, but as an unagented writer you have to be quite ruthless and look at what gives you the best chance of representation and further publication. Unfortunately, the follow-on of a book that isn’t part of a series-deal isn’t it! One day, though, I would love to write what happens next.
9. At the end of my review I’m speaking about Trigger Warnings. I think they are important, and I added some to my reviews for the future readers who might need them. So, if you were to give some Trigger Warnings which one would you mention ?
I agree, this is important. I feel like the cover needs warnings, to be honest! I often warn people who are about to buy/have bought it but haven’t started it yet about various aspects because it deals with a lot of sensitive topics and it is quite brutal in places. I think trigger warnings for The Raven Wheel should include:
Mental ill health
Controlling & coercive behaviour
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Secure & forensic secure settings
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