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Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, The Curse of the Raven Mocker is a complex story inspired by the legends of the Cherokee and the culture of the region’s European settlers. Richly detailed and imagined, it’s a uniquely American fantasy.

After Adanta’s father falls ill, he leaves their solitary cottage on a quest to find Atagahi, a secret healing lake. Afterwards, Adanta’s mother is enchanted by the Lean One and lured away to the land of the Adantans, the Hidden People. Adanta journeys there to rescue her parents. Along the way she meets a variety of memorable characters including shapeshifters and the fairy-like little people.

I enjoyed this book because of its uniqueness in creating a fantasy world inspired by American myths. It was refreshing to read a fantasy that isn’t based on European myth. Adanta is a courageous heroine, setting off alone to find her parents. This may be the classic “child on a quest” storyline, but the beautiful descriptions of the landscape, imagery, and the language make this one different.

Along the way Adanta reunites with her old friend Tassel the Pony Boy, and together they journey further into the world she was named for, encountering more strange beings. In the end though, it’s up to Adanta to break the curse of the Raven Mocker.

This is good book for younger readers as well as teens and adults. While it has its dark moments and a complex plot, it never gets too frightening. The tone remains one of mystery and adventure rather than darkness.

The Curse of the Raven Mockers is a must read due to its roots in Appalachian and Cherokee myth and the great characters Youmans has created. It’s clear that love went into the writing of this novel. It deserves to be a classic. I can’t wait to read Ingledove, which is set in the same world.

5 out of 5 stars – must read