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From the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain comes an extraordinary tale of grief, devotion, redemption, and timeless mystery.

When Jenna Rosen abandons her comfortable Seattle life to visit Wrangell, Alaska, it's a wrenching return to her past. The hometown of her Native American grandmother, Wrangell is located near the Thunder Bay Resort, where Jenna's young son, Bobby, disappeared two years before. His body was never recovered, and Jenna is determined to lay to rest the aching mystery of his death. But whispers of ancient legends begin to suggest a frightening new possibility about Bobby's fate, and Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit, who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness. Armed with nothing but a mother's protective instincts, Jenna's quest for the truth behind her son's disappearance is about to pull her into a terrifying and life-changing abyss.

Published: HarperCollins on Mar 2, 2010
ISBN: 9780061969515
List price: $11.14
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It started out the way I thought, but didn't end the way I expected. There's a twist that starts up about halfway through, at which point you'll either stick it out or give up. I personally really liked the novel, even thought the twist through me for a loop. Stein's writing, much like Art of Racing in the Rain, is extremely easy to absorb and you'll whip through the book.read more
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The Short of It:Raven Stole the Moon is almost like reading two novels, side by side. There’s the everyday, here and now part of it, and then there’s the other part that centers around mysterious Native American legends and shapeshifters. At times, it’s a wild ride.The Rest of It:Raven Stole the Moon is not a new book for Stein. In fact, it was first published back in 1998, but after his success with The Art of Racing in the Rain, his publisher decided to release this new edition of Raven Stole the Moon. However, when I first picked it up, I believed that this was a new book so I was a tad surprised when I came upon the afterward in the book and was told that it wasn’t.I had mixed feelings over this book.The first half of the book worked for me. Jenna and her husband, Robert, experience what I believe, has got to be the hardest thing to get through; the death of a child. Jenna is grief-stricken, lost and confused and looking for closure. Stein does an excellent job of communicating that feeling of loss to me. Plus, I liked her a lot. She is easily someone who I could be friends with. When she arrives in Wrangell, Alaska she is sort of like flotsam in the sea. She just sort of drifts between point A and point B. When she lands into the arms of Eddie, their attraction is obvious.As we learn more about the circumstances of her son’s death, we are introduced to the Kushtakas. The legends of the Tlingit center around shapeshifters that are part man, part otter. These Kushtakas are soul-stealers. They change shape to lure you in. Once captured, you spend the rest of eternity as one of them. So in essence, your soul is never at rest.The introduction to this legend intrigued me, but by the end of the book, much of it seemed far-fetched. I felt as if the novel was pulling in two different directions. Part of it wanted to stick to the relationship aspect between Jenna, her husband, and Eddie. The other part wanted to focus on the ancient legends but the two never really came together for me. I think it would have been a more powerful read, had a bit more time been spent on the ending to blend the two together.I will say this, this novel is quite different from anything I’ve ever read. If you enjoy reading about Native American legends and can appreciate the spiritual aspect of the novel, you will enjoy this book. Also, Stein has a way with characters. Their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes, the way they use language, all come together to form real flesh and blood.Source: This ARC was provided by Terra Communications.read more
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Jenna and Robert Rosen were a happy couple. Two years ago though, their 5 year old son Bobby drowned on a fishing trip to Alaska. There have always been questions, no body was ever found. This all happened at The Thunder Bay Resort near Wrangell Alaska. When the resort was first built, David Livingstone, a Tlingit Shaman had been hired to feel the property so to speak. His report was that there were spirits on the land called Kushtaka, and they wouldn’t leave, so the investors would be better off finding other property. John Ferguson, the man in charge of securing the property though, goes ahead with the project. Jenna is now on a search to discover what exactly happened with her son, and try to put the past behind her.I liked this book. The author peppered in Tlingit theologies and stories while relating the story of Jenna Rosen. Jenna is a pretty tragic character. Due to her son’s death, she’s abused Valium and Alcohol. Her husband, is a mixed bag of a character. There are times I truly felt for him, and others where I didn’t like him at all. Sometimes he just seemed rather controlling and acted more like he had ownership over Jenna, than a marriage. Her parents are a bit on the domineering side as well.David Livingstone was a character I liked. You could feel his respect for his people’s beliefs, cultures, and for the shamanic rituals. John Ferguson on the other hand, seems like your typical corporate type. He seems greedy, manipulative, and at times seems as if he wants to exploit the Tlingit culture as a way to sell condo spaces.Throughout the book, you can see people change, and evolve. Some of the characters I didn’t like at first, I learned to understand and sympathize with. That made the book pretty true to life for me. I think anyone would enjoy this book. There was some use of profanity. I think women in particular would be able to relate to Jenna. I felt for her for the relationship she felt she was stuck in. From the opening chapters: She’s getting ready for a party, when her husband looks at her and ask “Is that what you’re wearing?”. When Jenna takes off and leaves Robert behind and heads to Alaska, I couldn’t blame her at all.This isn’t however just a work of fiction. It has Tlingit theological information, some fantasy aspects, some fairly intense moments. Overall, I’m very glad I got the chance to read it. It was originally released in 1999, but is being re-released with a new cover and new ISBN number.*Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by Sarah at Terra Communications. Thanks go to her for this book. It didn’t affect my review in any way.read more
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From My Blog....Raven Stole the Moon is a hauntingly beautiful, heart-wrenching page-turner, which immediately captures the reader's attention and does not let go. Garth Stein's novel weaves in the beliefs and the culture of the Tlingit of Alaska, in this well-written novel filled with a deep sadness, Native American legends, and the longing to become whole. The novel begins with the 2-year anniversary of the death of Jenna Rosen's son, whose body was never recovered in the wilderness of Alaska. Jenna heads to Wrangell, Alaska, in a desperate attempt to find answers to the strange and mysterious circumstances surrounding her son's death. Robert, left behind in Seattle, desperate to find Jenna, hires a private investigator to find his wife. Stein does an exceedingly brilliant job with this novel. Raven Stole the Moon is a vividly written novel, which came at times to be rather disturbing, however, not without reason, which is one of the reasons Raven Stole the Moon is such a brilliant and haunting novel of love, loss, and the question of what being whole truly means. Stein's novel would make for an excellent weekend of reading, be certain to have tissues handy.read more
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Raven Stole the Moon is author Garth Stein's debut novel, which has since been followed by The Art of Racing in the Rain. Given the latter novel's recent impressive success, Raven Stole the Moon has been nicely repackaged and released anew by Harper. I haven't read The Art of Racing in the Rain, unfortunately, so I can't very well compare the two, but Raven Stole the Moon stands perfectly well on its own two feet (or its own 400 some pages, I should say).The central character in Stein's new (old?) novel, is Jenna Rosen. The opening chapter of the book finds Jenna leaving a cocktail party on the second anniversary of her son's accidental death. Without planning to, Jenna finds herself driving away from her husband and their marriage and embarking on a journey to find out the truth about what really happened the couple's son, Bobby, at a would-have-been Alaskan resort. Taking refuge in her grandmother's hometown of Wrangell, Alaska, Jenna begins search for answers that proves to be none too simple as she encounters temptation in the form of an injured fisherman and as she plumbs the depths of Tlingit mythology only to find that nothing is as it seems. I hate to say too much more lest I spoil a single thing about Raven Stole the Moon, a novel with the plot of a good thiller or even horror novel that doesn't sacrifice characters or themes to suspense. The book is very well-paced, and the mystery keeps the pages turning. Where Stein really succeeds, though, is in elevating Raven Stole the Moon over some of its horror genre counterparts by giving us a set of really well-developed multi-dimensional characters as well as exploring the deeper issues that face those characters. It would be easy to make Jenna and her husband Robert unequivocally bad. Jenna is obviously selfish in her quest to find answers, using whoever she needs to get what she wants, plowing over the lives and needs of those around her as she pursues her goal. It's easy to hate Robert who hires a private investigator to find out what Jenna's up to and considers drugs and hookers as revenge against his wandering wife. Then, however, Stein brings out the death of the couple's son and the decimation it has wreaked upon both of them as individuals and as a couple, explores the road the two have taken to get where they are, the struggles and the misunderstandings, and ultimately the love they had, and might still have even in the aftermath of a tragedy that threatens their marriage. Suddenly, instead of seeing two rotten people made more rotten by the death of their son, we see two struggling characters who ultimately deserve our sympathy. Like the Tlingit patron saint Raven, these characters are neither good nor bad, they just are. Raven Stole the Moon is a richly atmospheric and completely absorbing story that takes Tlingit myth and legend, mixes in a heartbreaking tragedy, and ends up with a satisfying blend of thriller and love story that will keep you turning pages until the very last question is answered.read more
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Read this after enjoying Racing in the Rain so much. Although not as original as RITR, I thought this was also a great read. (The author wrote this over 10 years prior to RITR, but then took the unusual step of revising it after RITR's success. I appreciated his postscript describing what he changed, and why.)read more
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Two years ago, Jenna Rosen’s son, Bobby, drowned while on vacation in Alaska. To her dismay, his body was never found and she had to return home with her loss and grief. While Robert, Jenna's husband has gotten over his grief, Jenna has found nothing that can help her get over or forget the loss of her son, putting strain on their marriage and making them act more like strangers than a husband and wife.One night Jenna just can't take it anymore and decides she needs to leave, while in the middle of one of Robert's business parties, she just gets in the car and drives off. She eventually finds herself in Wrangell, Alaska, where her Native American grandmother lived - and just a few miles away from where Bobby drowned. There Jenna meets a shaman who tells her of the legends of the Tlingits and their beliefs as to a person's soul.As a big fan of Garth Stein and, of course, Enzo's, when I was contacted to review Raven Stole the Moon, I was like.... "ooh, ooh, me!" And although it seems this is one of Mr. Stein's previous works (maybe even his first), I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this story. It is definitely nothing like The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is more of a thriller, and at more than one point, it even felt creepy along the lines of a horror story. As a mother, you can't help but to feel Jenna's pain. The overwhelming loss of a child - trying anything and everything to overcome that grief and to eventually find a path to healing... it really is heartbreaking. This is her journey to not only save herself but also to save her son's soul.I really found it interesting to read of the Kushtakas (a/k/a shape-shifting soul stealers). I liked the mystery and even the fright that came with their myths and legends. Mr. Stein really has a way with words. I love the voice that he uses to narrate his stories. It was the same way with The Art of Racing in the Rain. I don't know if I can explain it right, but it's soft and soothing... even though there was a time or two where my hairs were standing on end... I found his writing calming.This is a heartwrenching story about grief, loss and healing that it is expertly intertwined with Native American folklore making it a fascinating read. I truly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.This book was provided for review Terra Communications.read more
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This is a slightly updated re-release of Stein's first novel originally published in 1996 and out of print for some time. Don't expect any Enzo-like characters here--this book is TERRIFYING, a flat out, brilliantly crafted horror story. Stein is a "blood quantum verified" registered member of the Tlingit Indian Tribe of Alaska (his great-grandmother was full blooded Tlingit), and he has taken one of their more terrifying legends and brought it to the modern world. This is a story about Kushtakas, otter spirit shapeshifters who steal souls from people found alone in the woods and waters near Klawock and Wrangell Alaska. Two years ago when Jenna's young son drowned in Thunder Bay, she had not heard the legends. But with her world falling apart around her in Seattle, Jenna decides to go back to Alaska and try to find peace. What she finds is a nightmare that leaves her fighting for her own life and soul. The writing in this book is masterful--I spent no small amount of time curled up in a ball keeping a wary eye on the windows and door locks while reading it. And the last 40 pages--I pretty much forgot to breathe. Yes, it's THAT good.read more
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When I was growing up my mother was a storyteller. She told Southern folk tales and some Celtic tales, but most of all she loved to tell trickster stories, so I grew up with Raven and Jack and Anansi, and I was definitely curious to read this book because of its title and loose association with the story of how Raven stole the moon. I spent summers in Seattle from the time I was in the third grade and lived there for ten years (before the rain forced me to flee), so I like to keep my eye on Seattle writers. I haven't read Garth Stein's other book (The Art of Racing in the Rain), which I think of as the dog book because of the amazingly cute cover, but now I will.This book draws on the folklore of the Tlingit people to frame its utterly modern tale of Jenna and her search for her son who she can't quite believe is dead. Escaping her safe Seattle life for Wrangell, Alaska, Jenna is forced to face her fears, her beliefs, her history, her choices, and her life as she struggles to put together the pieces of the ancient puzzle that may bring her son back to her.Stein tells a great story here - it's a real page-turner with plenty of creepy, scary moments that will make you wonder what else may be out there. In a way this is a story that has been told over and over again and yet Stein tells it through fresh eyes that are never sentimental, never cliched, never simple. The characters are utterly believable as are their choices. I loved that Stein never took the easy way out. He held my attention and made me want to keep reading long past my bedtime.Thanks to the nice people at Terra Communications for giving me an advance copy of this book to review.read more
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Story OverviewOn the surface, Jenna Rosen has it all: a husband who loves her, a comfortable life in Seattle, and good looks. But Jenna is troubled; it shows in her excessive drinking, Valium addiction, depression and the increasing discord in her marriage. But her problems can all be traced back to the loss of her son Bobby, who drowned during a family vacation in Alaska two years ago. Jenna blames herself for Bobby's death and cannot get past it. Yet her husband Robert seems to have been able to put the past to rest. One night at a party, Jenna gets in Robert's car and keeps on driving. Her trip leads her to Bellingham, WA, where she impulsively boards the ferry that will take her to Wrangell, Alaska—a small town where her Native American grandmother lived and close to the Thunder Bay Resort where Bobby died.Once in Wrangell, things happen that lead her to believe that something is calling her to discover the truth about Bobby's death. Her grandmother's Tlingit ancestry begins to manifest itself in strange and frightening ways. As Jenna begins to explore the Tlingit legends of the kushtaka, she begins to believe that Bobby's death was no accident. Determined to find the truth, Jenna embarks on a quest to discover what really happened at Thunder Bay. The result is a terrifying but liberating journey into the heart of the Alaska wilderness and the ancient legends of the Tlingits.My ThoughtsContrary to what you might think, this isn't a new book by Garth Stein, author of the best-selling Art of Racing in the Rain (which is on my TBR list for later this year). Rather, this is a rerelease of his first novel, which was published in 1998. (Note to authors: If your first book is not very successful, keep on trying. You may score later on and then get a rerelease for your earlier books!) Raven Stole the Moon has been out of print for several years, but is being rereleased on March 9. Remember how I told you I was reading a mystery book that I couldn't talk about? This was it!Anyway, on to my thoughts about the book. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I enjoy stories of ancient legends coming to life in our modern world, and I thought the sections dealing with the kushtaka were disturbing and frightening at times. (Let me tell you, after reading this book, I won't look at otters quite the same way again!) On the other hand, I had some issues with the tone and writing in the book. In many ways, the book is told in a very plain, straightforward way: She did this. Then she did that. He reacted this way. Then the author mixes in some stream-of-consciousness stuff that I found a bit jarring. Here is a small example: She got off the freeway in Bellingham feeling tired and hungry. She pulled into a gas station to get some fuel for the Machine, and she picked up some Corn Nuts and a Coke—fuel for herself. The trip suddenly had the feeling of an all-night drive. Standing under a canopy of fluorescent bulbs. Artificial sunlight. Electrified reality. Everyone would be asleep if they weren't plugged in.My other quibble was that I thought the emotional lives of characters could have been better developed. We know Jenna is devastated by the loss of her son because the author tells us, but I never really felt it from Jenna herself. For me, this kept the book from being more than a competently told story with some supernatural elements. I think with a little more work and polishing, this book could have been something special. However, in the end, I think it falls shy of the mark.My Final RecommendationIf you enjoy books with supernatural elements related to Native American culture, this would be a good read for you. The Tlingit legends and story line were the most compelling part of the story for me, and the descriptions of the kushtaka were interesting and a bit frightening. Although the writing is competent and the story moves along quickly, I didn't think it was unforgettable or out of the ordinary. For this reason, I'm giving it 3 stars.read more
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Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein is a book which is hard to categorize. It is one part spiritual journey, one part horror, one part chick lit (dealing with grief & death & love & marriage), and one part Indian folklore. The story revolves around Jenna, a woman who cannot come to terms with her son's death by drowning. One the second anniversary of his death, she leaves her husband at a dinner party and travels back to the remote Alaskan Indian settlement where her son drowned. Once she is back in Alaska, strange things happen to her. She gets caught up in a spiritual world and is unsure of whether it is real or imagined. Mr Stein does a beautiful job of showing the world from Jenna's eyes, where the line between reality and fantasy is blurred and unclear. Interesting and thought-provoking.read more
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I was actually pretty nervous about this book - not too far in, it took a decided turn toward magical realism. You may or may not know this, but magical realism and I do NOT get along. I consistently struggle with being able to become fully immersed in these types of stories, and often find them a chore to get through.I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find myself becoming quickly engrossed in this tale of magic and tragedy in a small Alaskan town. I found the sections with David, the shaman, to be particularly powerful, and found his tales of Tlingit mythology to be fascinating. Stein does a masterful job of bringing the spirits and lore of the kushtaka to life in the pages of his story, and it completely worked for me, in ways that I would have never suspected.It did take me a little while to really connect with the characters - especially Jenna, although I suspect this was more a result of the narrative style (short, choppy sentences which seemed somewhat abrupt in the initial sections about Jenna) - and once Jenna got to Alaska and the story picked up, I became so involved that this was no longer an issue.And it is a great story - not only the fascinating pieces of native Tlingit lore, but the themes of love and loss and forgiveness were perfectly woven together to make for a completely compelling read. I definitely enjoyed it - if you were a fan of Stein's recent mega-hit, The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is a must-read!read more
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After an argument with her husband at a party, Jenna Rosen impulsively takes off on an unplanned trip to Alaska. Jenna and Robert have been struggling with their marriage since their young son Bobby drowned at a posh resort near the Alaskan coast. The fight is the last straw for Jenna, who drives away from the party in her husband's car and boards a ferry taking her to what will be a very confusing, yet cathartic destination. Upon arriving, Jenna begins to check out the small town of Wrangell, where she is immediately drawn into stories and legends of the Tlingit Indians and the Tlingit kushtaka spirits, who are the thieves of souls. Meeting a local man named Eddie who offers her a room in his home in which to stay, Jenna is quickly drawn into strange circumstances and she soon comes to believe that the kushtaka spirits are not just a legend. Jenna has reason to believe that these spirits have stolen away her son's soul and that they are after hers as well. With her relationship with Eddie becoming more than just platonic and her growing belief that the malevolent kushtaka spirits are vying for her soul, Jenna escapes once again to find an Alaskan shaman to help her outrun the kushtaka and to restore her son's soul to rest. Blending elements of magical realism with the interpersonal story of Jenna's life, Raven Stole the Moon is a very complex and dark work of fiction.I have read numerous good reviews of Garth Stein's book The Art of Racing in the Rain, and though I have not yet read it, I have been looking forward to sampling something by this author. I was very pleased to have been contacted to review this book, a re-release of Stein's first work of fiction that forays deeply into the magical realism genre. I have to say that the book was a little different than what I had been expecting, but nonetheless it was a great reading experience.First of all, I felt that the relationship that was portrayed between Jenna and her husband Robert was very convincing and realistic. The arguments that they got caught up in were intensely dramatic and real and at times I would wince at the abuse that the two of them were hurling at each other. At no time did I feel that the couple didn't love each other anymore. Rather I felt that the heartache that was their son's death had compromised their emotions and minds and they couldn't seem to get any kind of emotional equilibrium achieved. It was very sad to see them so distraught, and by alienating each other, they were really alienating themselves. There are some sections of the book that deal with Jenna's total inability to cope with her child's death and her foray into prescription drug addiction and alcoholism. I felt that those sections were also realistic and they made me feel doubly sad for Jenna because it was clear that she had no handle on her feelings at all. When she basically runs away from her husband to travel to Alaska, I had been hoping that she would be able to use her time away as a means of healing herself and putting the past behind her.But Jenna doesn't seem able to outrun her past, because from the moment she sets foot in Alaska, forces beyond her control seem to be gathering towards her, pushing their way into her mind and forcing her to believe in things that she finds at first outlandish. When she meets Eddie and begins to camp out at his house, he stresses to her the bizarreness and unbelievability of the ideas that Jenna is beginning to have, which drives a wedge between them. Though they are both attracted to one another, the tension of their differing beliefs keeps them apart, and it is in this section that we first begin to see the subtle magical realism in the tale creeping out of the story.Though Robert is frantic to find his wife, Jenna seems to have no time to devote to thoughts of Robert, or Eddie for that matter, because she is starting to feel oddly compelled to discover whether the legendary kushtaka spirits have stolen her son's soul. Though it seems to be an off-the-wall assumption, the nuances of the story make it almost credible that Jenna would be looking towards these spirits for her son's salvation. The magical elements in the story were crisply delineated but didn't come off as awkward of clumsy. They also had a very artistic feel to them, which went far in my eyes to build towards a compelling and interesting conclusion. I think part of the reason for the feeling of cohesion in this story were the mythological qualities of the stories peppered throughout the first half of the book. Through the use of these stories, Stein captures a lot of the local feel of Alaska and its Native American inhabitants, greatly detailing stories of the Tlingit Indian spirit Raven.In the last two sections of the book, the story turns sharply from interpersonal narrative to a detailed and frightening magical realism novel. Jenna is pursued and captured by the kushtaka spirits and it is not clear what will happen to her or, for that matter, her soul. Jenna also finds interesting information about the whereabouts of her son's soul and the story builds towards a heart-racing confrontation between the humans and the spirits who want to absorb them. I found this battle between the kushtaka and the humans to be woven really tightly into the story and because of the slightly otherworldly aspect of the earlier plot, it didn't seem like the story was overwhelmed with awkward and outrageous elements. In fact, I felt that the story's conclusion had really been built solidly on its magical realism foundation and it all came together in a rather scary and mind-bending way.One thing that I thought I would mention in this review is the kushtaka spirits themselves. They come into the story as a sort of shape-shifter whose natural shapes seem to be of very human looking otters. These shape-shifters find ways to isolate human souls in peril and then take them down to their underground warren where they are transformed into kushtaka themselves. It is said in the story that once they have abducted you, you are never able to leave and that theirs is a hellish existence that no one would chose for themselves. They are remarkably frightening when they show up in the story as well, looking almost human but for the black glossy eyes and craggy teeth. They are also very forceful about abducting the humans, changing their shapes into those of people that the characters know and trust, stealing them away into the night with nary a sound. Stien mentions in the afterword of his novel that almost all of the otherworldly aspects of his story, including the kushtaka, have come directly from the real legends of the Tlingit Indians who inhabited this part of the world. I was really interested in that bit by the author and felt that he did an exemplary job of incorporating these legends into his tale.I thought that this was a very interesting and diverting story and I think that those who have read other books by Garth Stein might be interested in this singularly unique tale that he has told. I think it's very different from the other books that he has out there and I really ended up liking it a lot. I also think that those readers who enjoy stories imbued with a good dose of magical realism would get a lot of enjoyment out of this tale. It's just spooky enough to make you want to read it in a well lit area but it also has the organic and personal feel of a novel about relationships. A very uncommon story by a well loved author. Recommended.read more
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Mostly I loved this. I found the scenes in the first half from Jenna's point of view to be super intriguing - it was the kind of thing I could happily read a few hundred pages of without even thinking of setting it down, and that doesn't happen very often.

The second half was slightly less interesting (though still very good), perhaps because the foreshadowing in the first bit was so well done that it would have been hard to live up to my expectations. And the last 50 pages in particular could have been improved, I think - it's based on Native American/First Nations folklore, so you'd have to work within that, but I think even a few slight tweaks could have made me like it more.read more
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You may be familiar with Garth Stein from his writing of the New York Times best seller The Art of Racing in the Rain, but did you know that Mr. Stein wrote a couple of books well before that one, one of which we'll be discussing today. Due to the overwhelming success of Racing in the Rain, the publisher thought it a good idea to release a new addition of Raven Stole The Moon. Lucky for us that they did. If you missed the book the first time around as I did, you certainly don't want to pass up your chance to read it again. Let's start with the blurb on the book.When Jenna Rosen abandons her comfortable Seattle life to visit Wrangell, Alaska, it's a wrenching return to her past. The hometown of her Native American grandmother, Wrangell is located near the Thunder Bay resort, where Jenna's young son, Bobby disappeared two years before. His body was never recovered, and Jenna is determined to lay to rest the aching mystery of his death. But whispers of ancient legends begin to suggest a frightening new possibility about Bobby's fate, and Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit, who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness.Armed with nothing but a mother's ferocious protective instincts, Jenna's quest for the truth about her son--and the strength of her beliefs--is about to pull her into a terrifying and life-changing abyss.This story consisted of so many delicious little layers for the reader to discover. On the surface, it's a mystery that seeks to gain answers to the questions surrounding the death of the young child Bobby. Interspersed throughout that mystery is the tale of a woman and two men trying to find connection with another and at the same time, trying to understand and discover themselves.After the death of their son, the marriage of Jenna and Robert Rosen takes a distinct turn for the worse. She needs time alone to sort things through. When Jenna leaves town unexpectedly, and finds herself in her hometown, the stakes are raised for everyone. She meets a sensitive and lonely fisherman named Eddie by happenstance. Her husband sends out a private investigator to track her down and finds himself on the way to Alaska hoping it's not too late to save his marriage. Jenna is not going to let anyone stop her from finding out what really happened to their son. She encounters mystical incidents that leave her wondering if they're real or the product of an imagination run wild from grief, weariness or too many old folk tales.This book is a literary jewel. The story was fresh, different and totally unexpected. Not only was it an intriguing, poignant read, but the reader learns about another culture, one I'm sure is not familiar to the American public at large. Garth Stein has Tlingit ties in his maternal bloodline.What I found especially well done, was the weaving of supernatural elements into a story that was solidly based in the real world. It was so seamless, it made the impossible sound plausible. The mark of an well-skilled storyteller.There were several laugh out loud moments as well as a part to make you cry. I was deeply impressed with this book. It was much more than I expected and was quite the page turner. More than once, I had to force myself not to peak to find out how it ends, or get my questions answered of which there were many.You've got to read this book. You're going to love it!read more
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Ever since the drowning her heir son, Bobby two years ago, Jenna Rosen and her husband, Robert are more like strangers then husband and wife. Jenna decides to get away from her life and Robert for a while. She takes off for Alaska. This is where it all began. Where Bobby drowned. Jenna experiences some strange things like…a wolf or wolf type dog chases her through the woods. Jenna meets a man named David. He is a shaman. He tells Jenna of a legend hat the Tlingits believe. It has to do with the belief that not all people die peacefully, so people’s souls are trapped to wither wander aimlessly or take form in another being. What does this have to do with Bobby? Could this mean that he might be alive after all?Raven Stole the Moon is the first book I have read by Garth Stein. I have wanted to try his work out when I first heard about The Art of Racing in the Rain but just haven’t gotten around to it. After reading this book, I definitely plan to check the book out. I have to admit that I did get a little lost at first trying to figure out in my mind about how the shaman and the Tlingit beliefs really played a part in this story and Jenna’s son’s death. Once I out it all straight, I was able to fully sit back and immerse myself in this book. I found that I absolutely was delighted with this book as well as Mr. Stein’s writing style. He really brought the characters to alive on an emotional level that made you connect with them in the moment. I only have one last comment to make and that is… you have got to check Raven Stole the Moon for yourself.read more
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I knew this book was a hit for me, when I fought with myself over whether to go to sleep or read one more chapter. In the end, I finished this story in 2 days.From the moment I started reading, I was pulled in. Gradually the book built up, and in a way that half the book was done before I noticed.I really loved how the author formed the characters in the story. Each one highlighted in a way, that wasn't too descriptive yet gave you everything you needed.Beautifully written, and truly an amazing story.I am recommending this book to everyone. Please note there is some foul language in it, but so worth reading it to get the tale.read more
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Garth Stein's third novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, was a huge success. It was so successful, that I do believe a movie is being made as a result. In order to capitalize on Stein's success, his publishers have decided to re-release his first novel. Originally published in 1998, Raven Stole the Moon, tells the story of Jenna Rosen. Two years ago at the Thunder Bay Resort, near Wrangell, Alaska (the hometown of her Native American grandmother), Jenna's young son, Bobby, disappeared. She has no idea what happened to him, let alone what happened to his soul. Unable to let go of her grief, Jenna suddenly decides that she must go back to Wrangell. And she must go now. Leaving her husband at a party they were attending together, Jenna hops into their car and soon finds herself heading towards her past. Once in Wrangell, Jenna becomes involved with a local fisherman, gets threatened by the Kushtakas (spirits that steals souls) and schooled about the Kushtakas by a shaman. She soon realizes that Bobby's soul has been captured by the Kushtakas and she must now find a way to aid Bobby's soul to the Land of the Dead Souls, where he will finally be able to rest. Stein has created a novel that is both interesting and engaging. We have the undying love of a mother, Native American legends, a marriage riddled with grief and unhappiness and the Alaskan wilderness. Jenna Rosen is a character that you can't help but befriend. You feel her sadness and want her to pull through this journey of rescue, because not only is she saving her son's soul, but she is also saving herself in the process. The rest of the characters in the book are written so vividly and accurately, that you can easily visualize them. In fact, it is through these textured characters that we are introduced to the various Tlingit legends, which I believe helped make the spiritual aspect of the novel accessible. As for the Alaskan backdrop, Stein has clearly captured the wilderness and small town feel of Wrangell. The tone and strength of Stein's writing and voice are well defined in this debut novel. In fact, I believe that from the first page of the novel, Stein easily draws you into Jenna Rosen's world. You want to find out why this woman is thinking about drowning herself in the tub and why the notion of survival instinct is inherent in her thoughts. How did Jenna Rosen get to this mindset? Raven Stole the Moon is definitely a book that I would highly recommend. It is not my usual book fare, but I am truly glad that I decided to give it a go. Based on this book, I will be picking up Stein's other works and adding them to my TBR list.read more
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Jenna Rosen used to have a wonderful life – married to a man she loved, raising a little boy who meant the world to her. But a fateful trip to Thunder Bay, a lavish resort in Alaska, steals away everything. Bobby, Jenna’s five year old son dies in a drowning accident and Jenna feels responsible for his death. Her way of dealing with the guilt is to turn to alcohol and prescription drugs. Her husband, Robert, turns his grief to anger and directs it mostly at Jenna. Two years after Bobby’s death, Jenna impulsively leaves Robert and boards a ferry from Seattle to a tiny town in Alaska where her grandmother once lived…looking for answers in the cold and remote wilderness of Alaska.Jenna’s journey for closure quickly becomes a terrifying ordeal where Jenna must not only sift through the legends and beliefs of her ancestors, but must face the devastation of her marriage.On its surface, Raven Stole the Moon is a supernatural thriller which brings to life the Tlingit (pronounced Klink-it) legend of the Kushtaka – otter people who steal the souls of the dead. The Kushtaka are shape-shifters who can appear in whatever guise they desire to trick people into going with them. Jenna almost immediately encounters the Kushtaka upon her arrival in Alaska … and Stein amps up the tension and fear, successfully driving the story forward.But to classify Raven Stole the Moon as just a thriller would be wrong. There are deeper issues embedded in the novel: how does a parent survive the loss of a child? And how does a marriage evolve or devolve in the aftermath of such an event? What role does religious faith play in recovery? How does someone forgive themselves for a tragedy for which they feel responsible? These questions resonate through the story. Jenna appears to have no religious faith until she discovers the religion of the Tlingit which puts her on a pathway to self-discovery and provides closure for the loss of her son. Her journey is not just a physical journey, it is a spiritual one.I read this novel in just under three days. The story pulled me in and made me want to continue reading to find the answers. I loved the German Shepherd who makes an appearance as Jenna’s spirit guide. I admit to being terrified at some of the scenes when Jenna was being pursued by the Kushtaka. That said, the writing is not perfect. At times the dialogue felt stilted and I longed for more development of some of the supporting characters. I did not always understand Jenna or her motivations.Raven Stole the Moon is Garth Stein’s debut novel – released initially 13 years ago, it is now being re-released by Harper Collins after the success of his bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain. I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain which I read last year (read my review). There are many differences between the two novels – perhaps most obvious the level of the writing. Stein has certainly grown as a writer in the 13 years between books. Despite some of the flaws in the prose, Raven Stole the Moon is still a worthwhile read, especially for those interested in Native American legend. The strengths of the book are its engaging storyline and the theme of recovery through spiritual awareness.read more
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Robert and Jenna - the couple with everything. That is until they lose their only son, Bobby in a tragic drowning while on vacation in Alaska. Robert desperately wants to move on with their lives while Jenna is trapped in a constant state of despair as the accident happened while she was with Bobby. The stress proves too much for Jenna and she flees her marriage and life in Seattle to visit her grandmother's hometown in Alaska which just happens to be located near the Thunder Bay Resort, the location of her son's death.Raven Stole the Moon follows Jenna's journey in Alaska and Robert's journey to find her. Jenna is mysteriously drawn to Alaska. She has a sense that there is something unfinished concerning her son's death. Is it because his body was never found or is it guilt eating at her that she didn't do everything she could to save him? While touring the town of Wrangell, she has what seems like supernatural encounters and the feeling that things are not what they appear. Jenna learns of the beliefs and legends of the Tlingits, the North American Indian tribe that was her grandmother's, concerning the kushtaka, shape-shifting otter-like creatures that have been known to lure people to their deaths and transform them into a fellow kushtaka. Could this be what happened to her son? Is this why Jenna seems to be seeking out answers?I really did enjoy my time spent with Raven Stole the Moon. There were elements of magic and mystery, shape-shifters and shamans, romance and a violence (nothing shocking). The characters are interesting and the dialogue between them really lends to the overall "feeling" of the book. The edition I read was actually a release of a new edition of the book which was originally published in 1998. In the afterword, author Garth Stein explains his relief that he felt he did not need to rewrite large parts of his original version including the lack of technology (pretty amazing a time without cell phones and the internet) and I am glad that he left things pretty much as is. I believe a story should be kept true to it's original form.I was very excited to have this opportunity to review this release (offered by Sarah from Terra Communications Book Marketing). As I am an Enzo fan - Enzo being the star of Mr. Stein's extremely popular and wonderful The Art of Racing in the Rain - I was very curious to see how Mr. Stein's first work compared. Both books featured very believable and realistic characters but I do believe the author's writing has gained a better voice and has evolved. Raven Stole the Moon is an engaging book with a great appeal.read more
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A great story combining the ties of family life, love and loss with native mystical lore to create a story you won't soon forget.Jenna and Robert seem to have it all. A great life, great friends, and their little boy, Bobby. While trying to expand their earthly wealth, they travel to the newly built Thunder Bay Resort for a little business and a little pleasure. But things are not always what they seem, for the land this place inhabits was owned long before the business officers arrived...and they mean to keep what they feel entitled to.read more
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Jenna lost her son, Bobby, in a tragic drowning while on a business-related vacation with her family at a soon-to-be-opened wilderness lodge. Two years later at home with her husband Robert in Seattle, Jenna has yet to recover. She's seen numerous psychiatrists, but has yet to come to terms with Bobby's death and the changes their loss made to their marriage. After a fight at yet another business related event, Jenna takes off in Robert's car. At first she just wants to get home. In the end, she just keeps driving, running away from Robert by default. Eventually, she ends up headed on the ferry to Alaska, the home of her Tlingit grandmother and the place where Bobby died. Can returning to the source of so much pain in her life help her move forward, or will it send her further into depression and despair?The first half of this novel had all the makings of a great episode of "The X Files." After Jenna lands in Alaska after leaving Robert, she has the most creepy experiences. Because she doesn't completely trust her sanity, she's not sure if she believes what she sees. What she may have experienced is creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the potential of kushtaka, the otter people gifted with the ability to shift their shape and "convert" souls. When Jenna wonders if the kushtaka are real and if they may have some connection to the death of her son, I could just imagine Mulder and Scully investigating and having a field day with all the possibilities. During that first half, I was in heaven. I felt that I could relate to Jenna and I wanted her to find her way to where ever it was that she needed to go.The second half of the novel didn't work as well for me. I grew impatient with Jenna and her attitude about anyone other than herself. The story became much less suspenseful because it featured Robert and his attempts to find Jenna more prominently. This weighted the novel down and was distracting. I wanted the novel to be about Jenna and her discoveries. I wasn't so much concerned about Robert. It's not that he didn't matter, but I wish there could have been more a more concise way to bring him back into the story without the play by play. Robert also put enough normalcy and reality back into the story that when the kushtaka arc built back up, I missed it. I was no longer prepared for it. Had I recognized it immediately, the end of this novel really would have packed a punch.I didn't like this novel as much as The Art of Racing in the Rain. However, Raven Stole the Moon was more challenging and in some ways more interesting. I enjoyed the Alaskan setting, history, and spirituality that were infused throughout. I liked that Jenna and Robert were a mess and were prone to making rotten decisions when under stress. It made them human. The highlight for me was the section where Jenna relives her last moments with Bobby. They were incredibly heartbreaking and powerful. Had Stein maintained the same pacing and level of suspense consistently throughout, this novel would have been absolutely incredible.read more
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It started out the way I thought, but didn't end the way I expected. There's a twist that starts up about halfway through, at which point you'll either stick it out or give up. I personally really liked the novel, even thought the twist through me for a loop. Stein's writing, much like Art of Racing in the Rain, is extremely easy to absorb and you'll whip through the book.
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The Short of It:Raven Stole the Moon is almost like reading two novels, side by side. There’s the everyday, here and now part of it, and then there’s the other part that centers around mysterious Native American legends and shapeshifters. At times, it’s a wild ride.The Rest of It:Raven Stole the Moon is not a new book for Stein. In fact, it was first published back in 1998, but after his success with The Art of Racing in the Rain, his publisher decided to release this new edition of Raven Stole the Moon. However, when I first picked it up, I believed that this was a new book so I was a tad surprised when I came upon the afterward in the book and was told that it wasn’t.I had mixed feelings over this book.The first half of the book worked for me. Jenna and her husband, Robert, experience what I believe, has got to be the hardest thing to get through; the death of a child. Jenna is grief-stricken, lost and confused and looking for closure. Stein does an excellent job of communicating that feeling of loss to me. Plus, I liked her a lot. She is easily someone who I could be friends with. When she arrives in Wrangell, Alaska she is sort of like flotsam in the sea. She just sort of drifts between point A and point B. When she lands into the arms of Eddie, their attraction is obvious.As we learn more about the circumstances of her son’s death, we are introduced to the Kushtakas. The legends of the Tlingit center around shapeshifters that are part man, part otter. These Kushtakas are soul-stealers. They change shape to lure you in. Once captured, you spend the rest of eternity as one of them. So in essence, your soul is never at rest.The introduction to this legend intrigued me, but by the end of the book, much of it seemed far-fetched. I felt as if the novel was pulling in two different directions. Part of it wanted to stick to the relationship aspect between Jenna, her husband, and Eddie. The other part wanted to focus on the ancient legends but the two never really came together for me. I think it would have been a more powerful read, had a bit more time been spent on the ending to blend the two together.I will say this, this novel is quite different from anything I’ve ever read. If you enjoy reading about Native American legends and can appreciate the spiritual aspect of the novel, you will enjoy this book. Also, Stein has a way with characters. Their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes, the way they use language, all come together to form real flesh and blood.Source: This ARC was provided by Terra Communications.
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Jenna and Robert Rosen were a happy couple. Two years ago though, their 5 year old son Bobby drowned on a fishing trip to Alaska. There have always been questions, no body was ever found. This all happened at The Thunder Bay Resort near Wrangell Alaska. When the resort was first built, David Livingstone, a Tlingit Shaman had been hired to feel the property so to speak. His report was that there were spirits on the land called Kushtaka, and they wouldn’t leave, so the investors would be better off finding other property. John Ferguson, the man in charge of securing the property though, goes ahead with the project. Jenna is now on a search to discover what exactly happened with her son, and try to put the past behind her.I liked this book. The author peppered in Tlingit theologies and stories while relating the story of Jenna Rosen. Jenna is a pretty tragic character. Due to her son’s death, she’s abused Valium and Alcohol. Her husband, is a mixed bag of a character. There are times I truly felt for him, and others where I didn’t like him at all. Sometimes he just seemed rather controlling and acted more like he had ownership over Jenna, than a marriage. Her parents are a bit on the domineering side as well.David Livingstone was a character I liked. You could feel his respect for his people’s beliefs, cultures, and for the shamanic rituals. John Ferguson on the other hand, seems like your typical corporate type. He seems greedy, manipulative, and at times seems as if he wants to exploit the Tlingit culture as a way to sell condo spaces.Throughout the book, you can see people change, and evolve. Some of the characters I didn’t like at first, I learned to understand and sympathize with. That made the book pretty true to life for me. I think anyone would enjoy this book. There was some use of profanity. I think women in particular would be able to relate to Jenna. I felt for her for the relationship she felt she was stuck in. From the opening chapters: She’s getting ready for a party, when her husband looks at her and ask “Is that what you’re wearing?”. When Jenna takes off and leaves Robert behind and heads to Alaska, I couldn’t blame her at all.This isn’t however just a work of fiction. It has Tlingit theological information, some fantasy aspects, some fairly intense moments. Overall, I’m very glad I got the chance to read it. It was originally released in 1999, but is being re-released with a new cover and new ISBN number.*Disclaimer* A review copy of this book was provided by Sarah at Terra Communications. Thanks go to her for this book. It didn’t affect my review in any way.
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From My Blog....Raven Stole the Moon is a hauntingly beautiful, heart-wrenching page-turner, which immediately captures the reader's attention and does not let go. Garth Stein's novel weaves in the beliefs and the culture of the Tlingit of Alaska, in this well-written novel filled with a deep sadness, Native American legends, and the longing to become whole. The novel begins with the 2-year anniversary of the death of Jenna Rosen's son, whose body was never recovered in the wilderness of Alaska. Jenna heads to Wrangell, Alaska, in a desperate attempt to find answers to the strange and mysterious circumstances surrounding her son's death. Robert, left behind in Seattle, desperate to find Jenna, hires a private investigator to find his wife. Stein does an exceedingly brilliant job with this novel. Raven Stole the Moon is a vividly written novel, which came at times to be rather disturbing, however, not without reason, which is one of the reasons Raven Stole the Moon is such a brilliant and haunting novel of love, loss, and the question of what being whole truly means. Stein's novel would make for an excellent weekend of reading, be certain to have tissues handy.
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Raven Stole the Moon is author Garth Stein's debut novel, which has since been followed by The Art of Racing in the Rain. Given the latter novel's recent impressive success, Raven Stole the Moon has been nicely repackaged and released anew by Harper. I haven't read The Art of Racing in the Rain, unfortunately, so I can't very well compare the two, but Raven Stole the Moon stands perfectly well on its own two feet (or its own 400 some pages, I should say).The central character in Stein's new (old?) novel, is Jenna Rosen. The opening chapter of the book finds Jenna leaving a cocktail party on the second anniversary of her son's accidental death. Without planning to, Jenna finds herself driving away from her husband and their marriage and embarking on a journey to find out the truth about what really happened the couple's son, Bobby, at a would-have-been Alaskan resort. Taking refuge in her grandmother's hometown of Wrangell, Alaska, Jenna begins search for answers that proves to be none too simple as she encounters temptation in the form of an injured fisherman and as she plumbs the depths of Tlingit mythology only to find that nothing is as it seems. I hate to say too much more lest I spoil a single thing about Raven Stole the Moon, a novel with the plot of a good thiller or even horror novel that doesn't sacrifice characters or themes to suspense. The book is very well-paced, and the mystery keeps the pages turning. Where Stein really succeeds, though, is in elevating Raven Stole the Moon over some of its horror genre counterparts by giving us a set of really well-developed multi-dimensional characters as well as exploring the deeper issues that face those characters. It would be easy to make Jenna and her husband Robert unequivocally bad. Jenna is obviously selfish in her quest to find answers, using whoever she needs to get what she wants, plowing over the lives and needs of those around her as she pursues her goal. It's easy to hate Robert who hires a private investigator to find out what Jenna's up to and considers drugs and hookers as revenge against his wandering wife. Then, however, Stein brings out the death of the couple's son and the decimation it has wreaked upon both of them as individuals and as a couple, explores the road the two have taken to get where they are, the struggles and the misunderstandings, and ultimately the love they had, and might still have even in the aftermath of a tragedy that threatens their marriage. Suddenly, instead of seeing two rotten people made more rotten by the death of their son, we see two struggling characters who ultimately deserve our sympathy. Like the Tlingit patron saint Raven, these characters are neither good nor bad, they just are. Raven Stole the Moon is a richly atmospheric and completely absorbing story that takes Tlingit myth and legend, mixes in a heartbreaking tragedy, and ends up with a satisfying blend of thriller and love story that will keep you turning pages until the very last question is answered.
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Read this after enjoying Racing in the Rain so much. Although not as original as RITR, I thought this was also a great read. (The author wrote this over 10 years prior to RITR, but then took the unusual step of revising it after RITR's success. I appreciated his postscript describing what he changed, and why.)
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Two years ago, Jenna Rosen’s son, Bobby, drowned while on vacation in Alaska. To her dismay, his body was never found and she had to return home with her loss and grief. While Robert, Jenna's husband has gotten over his grief, Jenna has found nothing that can help her get over or forget the loss of her son, putting strain on their marriage and making them act more like strangers than a husband and wife.One night Jenna just can't take it anymore and decides she needs to leave, while in the middle of one of Robert's business parties, she just gets in the car and drives off. She eventually finds herself in Wrangell, Alaska, where her Native American grandmother lived - and just a few miles away from where Bobby drowned. There Jenna meets a shaman who tells her of the legends of the Tlingits and their beliefs as to a person's soul.As a big fan of Garth Stein and, of course, Enzo's, when I was contacted to review Raven Stole the Moon, I was like.... "ooh, ooh, me!" And although it seems this is one of Mr. Stein's previous works (maybe even his first), I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this story. It is definitely nothing like The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is more of a thriller, and at more than one point, it even felt creepy along the lines of a horror story. As a mother, you can't help but to feel Jenna's pain. The overwhelming loss of a child - trying anything and everything to overcome that grief and to eventually find a path to healing... it really is heartbreaking. This is her journey to not only save herself but also to save her son's soul.I really found it interesting to read of the Kushtakas (a/k/a shape-shifting soul stealers). I liked the mystery and even the fright that came with their myths and legends. Mr. Stein really has a way with words. I love the voice that he uses to narrate his stories. It was the same way with The Art of Racing in the Rain. I don't know if I can explain it right, but it's soft and soothing... even though there was a time or two where my hairs were standing on end... I found his writing calming.This is a heartwrenching story about grief, loss and healing that it is expertly intertwined with Native American folklore making it a fascinating read. I truly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.This book was provided for review Terra Communications.
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This is a slightly updated re-release of Stein's first novel originally published in 1996 and out of print for some time. Don't expect any Enzo-like characters here--this book is TERRIFYING, a flat out, brilliantly crafted horror story. Stein is a "blood quantum verified" registered member of the Tlingit Indian Tribe of Alaska (his great-grandmother was full blooded Tlingit), and he has taken one of their more terrifying legends and brought it to the modern world. This is a story about Kushtakas, otter spirit shapeshifters who steal souls from people found alone in the woods and waters near Klawock and Wrangell Alaska. Two years ago when Jenna's young son drowned in Thunder Bay, she had not heard the legends. But with her world falling apart around her in Seattle, Jenna decides to go back to Alaska and try to find peace. What she finds is a nightmare that leaves her fighting for her own life and soul. The writing in this book is masterful--I spent no small amount of time curled up in a ball keeping a wary eye on the windows and door locks while reading it. And the last 40 pages--I pretty much forgot to breathe. Yes, it's THAT good.
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When I was growing up my mother was a storyteller. She told Southern folk tales and some Celtic tales, but most of all she loved to tell trickster stories, so I grew up with Raven and Jack and Anansi, and I was definitely curious to read this book because of its title and loose association with the story of how Raven stole the moon. I spent summers in Seattle from the time I was in the third grade and lived there for ten years (before the rain forced me to flee), so I like to keep my eye on Seattle writers. I haven't read Garth Stein's other book (The Art of Racing in the Rain), which I think of as the dog book because of the amazingly cute cover, but now I will.This book draws on the folklore of the Tlingit people to frame its utterly modern tale of Jenna and her search for her son who she can't quite believe is dead. Escaping her safe Seattle life for Wrangell, Alaska, Jenna is forced to face her fears, her beliefs, her history, her choices, and her life as she struggles to put together the pieces of the ancient puzzle that may bring her son back to her.Stein tells a great story here - it's a real page-turner with plenty of creepy, scary moments that will make you wonder what else may be out there. In a way this is a story that has been told over and over again and yet Stein tells it through fresh eyes that are never sentimental, never cliched, never simple. The characters are utterly believable as are their choices. I loved that Stein never took the easy way out. He held my attention and made me want to keep reading long past my bedtime.Thanks to the nice people at Terra Communications for giving me an advance copy of this book to review.
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Story OverviewOn the surface, Jenna Rosen has it all: a husband who loves her, a comfortable life in Seattle, and good looks. But Jenna is troubled; it shows in her excessive drinking, Valium addiction, depression and the increasing discord in her marriage. But her problems can all be traced back to the loss of her son Bobby, who drowned during a family vacation in Alaska two years ago. Jenna blames herself for Bobby's death and cannot get past it. Yet her husband Robert seems to have been able to put the past to rest. One night at a party, Jenna gets in Robert's car and keeps on driving. Her trip leads her to Bellingham, WA, where she impulsively boards the ferry that will take her to Wrangell, Alaska—a small town where her Native American grandmother lived and close to the Thunder Bay Resort where Bobby died.Once in Wrangell, things happen that lead her to believe that something is calling her to discover the truth about Bobby's death. Her grandmother's Tlingit ancestry begins to manifest itself in strange and frightening ways. As Jenna begins to explore the Tlingit legends of the kushtaka, she begins to believe that Bobby's death was no accident. Determined to find the truth, Jenna embarks on a quest to discover what really happened at Thunder Bay. The result is a terrifying but liberating journey into the heart of the Alaska wilderness and the ancient legends of the Tlingits.My ThoughtsContrary to what you might think, this isn't a new book by Garth Stein, author of the best-selling Art of Racing in the Rain (which is on my TBR list for later this year). Rather, this is a rerelease of his first novel, which was published in 1998. (Note to authors: If your first book is not very successful, keep on trying. You may score later on and then get a rerelease for your earlier books!) Raven Stole the Moon has been out of print for several years, but is being rereleased on March 9. Remember how I told you I was reading a mystery book that I couldn't talk about? This was it!Anyway, on to my thoughts about the book. I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I enjoy stories of ancient legends coming to life in our modern world, and I thought the sections dealing with the kushtaka were disturbing and frightening at times. (Let me tell you, after reading this book, I won't look at otters quite the same way again!) On the other hand, I had some issues with the tone and writing in the book. In many ways, the book is told in a very plain, straightforward way: She did this. Then she did that. He reacted this way. Then the author mixes in some stream-of-consciousness stuff that I found a bit jarring. Here is a small example: She got off the freeway in Bellingham feeling tired and hungry. She pulled into a gas station to get some fuel for the Machine, and she picked up some Corn Nuts and a Coke—fuel for herself. The trip suddenly had the feeling of an all-night drive. Standing under a canopy of fluorescent bulbs. Artificial sunlight. Electrified reality. Everyone would be asleep if they weren't plugged in.My other quibble was that I thought the emotional lives of characters could have been better developed. We know Jenna is devastated by the loss of her son because the author tells us, but I never really felt it from Jenna herself. For me, this kept the book from being more than a competently told story with some supernatural elements. I think with a little more work and polishing, this book could have been something special. However, in the end, I think it falls shy of the mark.My Final RecommendationIf you enjoy books with supernatural elements related to Native American culture, this would be a good read for you. The Tlingit legends and story line were the most compelling part of the story for me, and the descriptions of the kushtaka were interesting and a bit frightening. Although the writing is competent and the story moves along quickly, I didn't think it was unforgettable or out of the ordinary. For this reason, I'm giving it 3 stars.
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Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein is a book which is hard to categorize. It is one part spiritual journey, one part horror, one part chick lit (dealing with grief & death & love & marriage), and one part Indian folklore. The story revolves around Jenna, a woman who cannot come to terms with her son's death by drowning. One the second anniversary of his death, she leaves her husband at a dinner party and travels back to the remote Alaskan Indian settlement where her son drowned. Once she is back in Alaska, strange things happen to her. She gets caught up in a spiritual world and is unsure of whether it is real or imagined. Mr Stein does a beautiful job of showing the world from Jenna's eyes, where the line between reality and fantasy is blurred and unclear. Interesting and thought-provoking.
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I was actually pretty nervous about this book - not too far in, it took a decided turn toward magical realism. You may or may not know this, but magical realism and I do NOT get along. I consistently struggle with being able to become fully immersed in these types of stories, and often find them a chore to get through.I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find myself becoming quickly engrossed in this tale of magic and tragedy in a small Alaskan town. I found the sections with David, the shaman, to be particularly powerful, and found his tales of Tlingit mythology to be fascinating. Stein does a masterful job of bringing the spirits and lore of the kushtaka to life in the pages of his story, and it completely worked for me, in ways that I would have never suspected.It did take me a little while to really connect with the characters - especially Jenna, although I suspect this was more a result of the narrative style (short, choppy sentences which seemed somewhat abrupt in the initial sections about Jenna) - and once Jenna got to Alaska and the story picked up, I became so involved that this was no longer an issue.And it is a great story - not only the fascinating pieces of native Tlingit lore, but the themes of love and loss and forgiveness were perfectly woven together to make for a completely compelling read. I definitely enjoyed it - if you were a fan of Stein's recent mega-hit, The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is a must-read!
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After an argument with her husband at a party, Jenna Rosen impulsively takes off on an unplanned trip to Alaska. Jenna and Robert have been struggling with their marriage since their young son Bobby drowned at a posh resort near the Alaskan coast. The fight is the last straw for Jenna, who drives away from the party in her husband's car and boards a ferry taking her to what will be a very confusing, yet cathartic destination. Upon arriving, Jenna begins to check out the small town of Wrangell, where she is immediately drawn into stories and legends of the Tlingit Indians and the Tlingit kushtaka spirits, who are the thieves of souls. Meeting a local man named Eddie who offers her a room in his home in which to stay, Jenna is quickly drawn into strange circumstances and she soon comes to believe that the kushtaka spirits are not just a legend. Jenna has reason to believe that these spirits have stolen away her son's soul and that they are after hers as well. With her relationship with Eddie becoming more than just platonic and her growing belief that the malevolent kushtaka spirits are vying for her soul, Jenna escapes once again to find an Alaskan shaman to help her outrun the kushtaka and to restore her son's soul to rest. Blending elements of magical realism with the interpersonal story of Jenna's life, Raven Stole the Moon is a very complex and dark work of fiction.I have read numerous good reviews of Garth Stein's book The Art of Racing in the Rain, and though I have not yet read it, I have been looking forward to sampling something by this author. I was very pleased to have been contacted to review this book, a re-release of Stein's first work of fiction that forays deeply into the magical realism genre. I have to say that the book was a little different than what I had been expecting, but nonetheless it was a great reading experience.First of all, I felt that the relationship that was portrayed between Jenna and her husband Robert was very convincing and realistic. The arguments that they got caught up in were intensely dramatic and real and at times I would wince at the abuse that the two of them were hurling at each other. At no time did I feel that the couple didn't love each other anymore. Rather I felt that the heartache that was their son's death had compromised their emotions and minds and they couldn't seem to get any kind of emotional equilibrium achieved. It was very sad to see them so distraught, and by alienating each other, they were really alienating themselves. There are some sections of the book that deal with Jenna's total inability to cope with her child's death and her foray into prescription drug addiction and alcoholism. I felt that those sections were also realistic and they made me feel doubly sad for Jenna because it was clear that she had no handle on her feelings at all. When she basically runs away from her husband to travel to Alaska, I had been hoping that she would be able to use her time away as a means of healing herself and putting the past behind her.But Jenna doesn't seem able to outrun her past, because from the moment she sets foot in Alaska, forces beyond her control seem to be gathering towards her, pushing their way into her mind and forcing her to believe in things that she finds at first outlandish. When she meets Eddie and begins to camp out at his house, he stresses to her the bizarreness and unbelievability of the ideas that Jenna is beginning to have, which drives a wedge between them. Though they are both attracted to one another, the tension of their differing beliefs keeps them apart, and it is in this section that we first begin to see the subtle magical realism in the tale creeping out of the story.Though Robert is frantic to find his wife, Jenna seems to have no time to devote to thoughts of Robert, or Eddie for that matter, because she is starting to feel oddly compelled to discover whether the legendary kushtaka spirits have stolen her son's soul. Though it seems to be an off-the-wall assumption, the nuances of the story make it almost credible that Jenna would be looking towards these spirits for her son's salvation. The magical elements in the story were crisply delineated but didn't come off as awkward of clumsy. They also had a very artistic feel to them, which went far in my eyes to build towards a compelling and interesting conclusion. I think part of the reason for the feeling of cohesion in this story were the mythological qualities of the stories peppered throughout the first half of the book. Through the use of these stories, Stein captures a lot of the local feel of Alaska and its Native American inhabitants, greatly detailing stories of the Tlingit Indian spirit Raven.In the last two sections of the book, the story turns sharply from interpersonal narrative to a detailed and frightening magical realism novel. Jenna is pursued and captured by the kushtaka spirits and it is not clear what will happen to her or, for that matter, her soul. Jenna also finds interesting information about the whereabouts of her son's soul and the story builds towards a heart-racing confrontation between the humans and the spirits who want to absorb them. I found this battle between the kushtaka and the humans to be woven really tightly into the story and because of the slightly otherworldly aspect of the earlier plot, it didn't seem like the story was overwhelmed with awkward and outrageous elements. In fact, I felt that the story's conclusion had really been built solidly on its magical realism foundation and it all came together in a rather scary and mind-bending way.One thing that I thought I would mention in this review is the kushtaka spirits themselves. They come into the story as a sort of shape-shifter whose natural shapes seem to be of very human looking otters. These shape-shifters find ways to isolate human souls in peril and then take them down to their underground warren where they are transformed into kushtaka themselves. It is said in the story that once they have abducted you, you are never able to leave and that theirs is a hellish existence that no one would chose for themselves. They are remarkably frightening when they show up in the story as well, looking almost human but for the black glossy eyes and craggy teeth. They are also very forceful about abducting the humans, changing their shapes into those of people that the characters know and trust, stealing them away into the night with nary a sound. Stien mentions in the afterword of his novel that almost all of the otherworldly aspects of his story, including the kushtaka, have come directly from the real legends of the Tlingit Indians who inhabited this part of the world. I was really interested in that bit by the author and felt that he did an exemplary job of incorporating these legends into his tale.I thought that this was a very interesting and diverting story and I think that those who have read other books by Garth Stein might be interested in this singularly unique tale that he has told. I think it's very different from the other books that he has out there and I really ended up liking it a lot. I also think that those readers who enjoy stories imbued with a good dose of magical realism would get a lot of enjoyment out of this tale. It's just spooky enough to make you want to read it in a well lit area but it also has the organic and personal feel of a novel about relationships. A very uncommon story by a well loved author. Recommended.
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Mostly I loved this. I found the scenes in the first half from Jenna's point of view to be super intriguing - it was the kind of thing I could happily read a few hundred pages of without even thinking of setting it down, and that doesn't happen very often.

The second half was slightly less interesting (though still very good), perhaps because the foreshadowing in the first bit was so well done that it would have been hard to live up to my expectations. And the last 50 pages in particular could have been improved, I think - it's based on Native American/First Nations folklore, so you'd have to work within that, but I think even a few slight tweaks could have made me like it more.
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You may be familiar with Garth Stein from his writing of the New York Times best seller The Art of Racing in the Rain, but did you know that Mr. Stein wrote a couple of books well before that one, one of which we'll be discussing today. Due to the overwhelming success of Racing in the Rain, the publisher thought it a good idea to release a new addition of Raven Stole The Moon. Lucky for us that they did. If you missed the book the first time around as I did, you certainly don't want to pass up your chance to read it again. Let's start with the blurb on the book.When Jenna Rosen abandons her comfortable Seattle life to visit Wrangell, Alaska, it's a wrenching return to her past. The hometown of her Native American grandmother, Wrangell is located near the Thunder Bay resort, where Jenna's young son, Bobby disappeared two years before. His body was never recovered, and Jenna is determined to lay to rest the aching mystery of his death. But whispers of ancient legends begin to suggest a frightening new possibility about Bobby's fate, and Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit, who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness.Armed with nothing but a mother's ferocious protective instincts, Jenna's quest for the truth about her son--and the strength of her beliefs--is about to pull her into a terrifying and life-changing abyss.This story consisted of so many delicious little layers for the reader to discover. On the surface, it's a mystery that seeks to gain answers to the questions surrounding the death of the young child Bobby. Interspersed throughout that mystery is the tale of a woman and two men trying to find connection with another and at the same time, trying to understand and discover themselves.After the death of their son, the marriage of Jenna and Robert Rosen takes a distinct turn for the worse. She needs time alone to sort things through. When Jenna leaves town unexpectedly, and finds herself in her hometown, the stakes are raised for everyone. She meets a sensitive and lonely fisherman named Eddie by happenstance. Her husband sends out a private investigator to track her down and finds himself on the way to Alaska hoping it's not too late to save his marriage. Jenna is not going to let anyone stop her from finding out what really happened to their son. She encounters mystical incidents that leave her wondering if they're real or the product of an imagination run wild from grief, weariness or too many old folk tales.This book is a literary jewel. The story was fresh, different and totally unexpected. Not only was it an intriguing, poignant read, but the reader learns about another culture, one I'm sure is not familiar to the American public at large. Garth Stein has Tlingit ties in his maternal bloodline.What I found especially well done, was the weaving of supernatural elements into a story that was solidly based in the real world. It was so seamless, it made the impossible sound plausible. The mark of an well-skilled storyteller.There were several laugh out loud moments as well as a part to make you cry. I was deeply impressed with this book. It was much more than I expected and was quite the page turner. More than once, I had to force myself not to peak to find out how it ends, or get my questions answered of which there were many.You've got to read this book. You're going to love it!
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Ever since the drowning her heir son, Bobby two years ago, Jenna Rosen and her husband, Robert are more like strangers then husband and wife. Jenna decides to get away from her life and Robert for a while. She takes off for Alaska. This is where it all began. Where Bobby drowned. Jenna experiences some strange things like…a wolf or wolf type dog chases her through the woods. Jenna meets a man named David. He is a shaman. He tells Jenna of a legend hat the Tlingits believe. It has to do with the belief that not all people die peacefully, so people’s souls are trapped to wither wander aimlessly or take form in another being. What does this have to do with Bobby? Could this mean that he might be alive after all?Raven Stole the Moon is the first book I have read by Garth Stein. I have wanted to try his work out when I first heard about The Art of Racing in the Rain but just haven’t gotten around to it. After reading this book, I definitely plan to check the book out. I have to admit that I did get a little lost at first trying to figure out in my mind about how the shaman and the Tlingit beliefs really played a part in this story and Jenna’s son’s death. Once I out it all straight, I was able to fully sit back and immerse myself in this book. I found that I absolutely was delighted with this book as well as Mr. Stein’s writing style. He really brought the characters to alive on an emotional level that made you connect with them in the moment. I only have one last comment to make and that is… you have got to check Raven Stole the Moon for yourself.
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I knew this book was a hit for me, when I fought with myself over whether to go to sleep or read one more chapter. In the end, I finished this story in 2 days.From the moment I started reading, I was pulled in. Gradually the book built up, and in a way that half the book was done before I noticed.I really loved how the author formed the characters in the story. Each one highlighted in a way, that wasn't too descriptive yet gave you everything you needed.Beautifully written, and truly an amazing story.I am recommending this book to everyone. Please note there is some foul language in it, but so worth reading it to get the tale.
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Garth Stein's third novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, was a huge success. It was so successful, that I do believe a movie is being made as a result. In order to capitalize on Stein's success, his publishers have decided to re-release his first novel. Originally published in 1998, Raven Stole the Moon, tells the story of Jenna Rosen. Two years ago at the Thunder Bay Resort, near Wrangell, Alaska (the hometown of her Native American grandmother), Jenna's young son, Bobby, disappeared. She has no idea what happened to him, let alone what happened to his soul. Unable to let go of her grief, Jenna suddenly decides that she must go back to Wrangell. And she must go now. Leaving her husband at a party they were attending together, Jenna hops into their car and soon finds herself heading towards her past. Once in Wrangell, Jenna becomes involved with a local fisherman, gets threatened by the Kushtakas (spirits that steals souls) and schooled about the Kushtakas by a shaman. She soon realizes that Bobby's soul has been captured by the Kushtakas and she must now find a way to aid Bobby's soul to the Land of the Dead Souls, where he will finally be able to rest. Stein has created a novel that is both interesting and engaging. We have the undying love of a mother, Native American legends, a marriage riddled with grief and unhappiness and the Alaskan wilderness. Jenna Rosen is a character that you can't help but befriend. You feel her sadness and want her to pull through this journey of rescue, because not only is she saving her son's soul, but she is also saving herself in the process. The rest of the characters in the book are written so vividly and accurately, that you can easily visualize them. In fact, it is through these textured characters that we are introduced to the various Tlingit legends, which I believe helped make the spiritual aspect of the novel accessible. As for the Alaskan backdrop, Stein has clearly captured the wilderness and small town feel of Wrangell. The tone and strength of Stein's writing and voice are well defined in this debut novel. In fact, I believe that from the first page of the novel, Stein easily draws you into Jenna Rosen's world. You want to find out why this woman is thinking about drowning herself in the tub and why the notion of survival instinct is inherent in her thoughts. How did Jenna Rosen get to this mindset? Raven Stole the Moon is definitely a book that I would highly recommend. It is not my usual book fare, but I am truly glad that I decided to give it a go. Based on this book, I will be picking up Stein's other works and adding them to my TBR list.
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Jenna Rosen used to have a wonderful life – married to a man she loved, raising a little boy who meant the world to her. But a fateful trip to Thunder Bay, a lavish resort in Alaska, steals away everything. Bobby, Jenna’s five year old son dies in a drowning accident and Jenna feels responsible for his death. Her way of dealing with the guilt is to turn to alcohol and prescription drugs. Her husband, Robert, turns his grief to anger and directs it mostly at Jenna. Two years after Bobby’s death, Jenna impulsively leaves Robert and boards a ferry from Seattle to a tiny town in Alaska where her grandmother once lived…looking for answers in the cold and remote wilderness of Alaska.Jenna’s journey for closure quickly becomes a terrifying ordeal where Jenna must not only sift through the legends and beliefs of her ancestors, but must face the devastation of her marriage.On its surface, Raven Stole the Moon is a supernatural thriller which brings to life the Tlingit (pronounced Klink-it) legend of the Kushtaka – otter people who steal the souls of the dead. The Kushtaka are shape-shifters who can appear in whatever guise they desire to trick people into going with them. Jenna almost immediately encounters the Kushtaka upon her arrival in Alaska … and Stein amps up the tension and fear, successfully driving the story forward.But to classify Raven Stole the Moon as just a thriller would be wrong. There are deeper issues embedded in the novel: how does a parent survive the loss of a child? And how does a marriage evolve or devolve in the aftermath of such an event? What role does religious faith play in recovery? How does someone forgive themselves for a tragedy for which they feel responsible? These questions resonate through the story. Jenna appears to have no religious faith until she discovers the religion of the Tlingit which puts her on a pathway to self-discovery and provides closure for the loss of her son. Her journey is not just a physical journey, it is a spiritual one.I read this novel in just under three days. The story pulled me in and made me want to continue reading to find the answers. I loved the German Shepherd who makes an appearance as Jenna’s spirit guide. I admit to being terrified at some of the scenes when Jenna was being pursued by the Kushtaka. That said, the writing is not perfect. At times the dialogue felt stilted and I longed for more development of some of the supporting characters. I did not always understand Jenna or her motivations.Raven Stole the Moon is Garth Stein’s debut novel – released initially 13 years ago, it is now being re-released by Harper Collins after the success of his bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain. I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain which I read last year (read my review). There are many differences between the two novels – perhaps most obvious the level of the writing. Stein has certainly grown as a writer in the 13 years between books. Despite some of the flaws in the prose, Raven Stole the Moon is still a worthwhile read, especially for those interested in Native American legend. The strengths of the book are its engaging storyline and the theme of recovery through spiritual awareness.
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Robert and Jenna - the couple with everything. That is until they lose their only son, Bobby in a tragic drowning while on vacation in Alaska. Robert desperately wants to move on with their lives while Jenna is trapped in a constant state of despair as the accident happened while she was with Bobby. The stress proves too much for Jenna and she flees her marriage and life in Seattle to visit her grandmother's hometown in Alaska which just happens to be located near the Thunder Bay Resort, the location of her son's death.Raven Stole the Moon follows Jenna's journey in Alaska and Robert's journey to find her. Jenna is mysteriously drawn to Alaska. She has a sense that there is something unfinished concerning her son's death. Is it because his body was never found or is it guilt eating at her that she didn't do everything she could to save him? While touring the town of Wrangell, she has what seems like supernatural encounters and the feeling that things are not what they appear. Jenna learns of the beliefs and legends of the Tlingits, the North American Indian tribe that was her grandmother's, concerning the kushtaka, shape-shifting otter-like creatures that have been known to lure people to their deaths and transform them into a fellow kushtaka. Could this be what happened to her son? Is this why Jenna seems to be seeking out answers?I really did enjoy my time spent with Raven Stole the Moon. There were elements of magic and mystery, shape-shifters and shamans, romance and a violence (nothing shocking). The characters are interesting and the dialogue between them really lends to the overall "feeling" of the book. The edition I read was actually a release of a new edition of the book which was originally published in 1998. In the afterword, author Garth Stein explains his relief that he felt he did not need to rewrite large parts of his original version including the lack of technology (pretty amazing a time without cell phones and the internet) and I am glad that he left things pretty much as is. I believe a story should be kept true to it's original form.I was very excited to have this opportunity to review this release (offered by Sarah from Terra Communications Book Marketing). As I am an Enzo fan - Enzo being the star of Mr. Stein's extremely popular and wonderful The Art of Racing in the Rain - I was very curious to see how Mr. Stein's first work compared. Both books featured very believable and realistic characters but I do believe the author's writing has gained a better voice and has evolved. Raven Stole the Moon is an engaging book with a great appeal.
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A great story combining the ties of family life, love and loss with native mystical lore to create a story you won't soon forget.Jenna and Robert seem to have it all. A great life, great friends, and their little boy, Bobby. While trying to expand their earthly wealth, they travel to the newly built Thunder Bay Resort for a little business and a little pleasure. But things are not always what they seem, for the land this place inhabits was owned long before the business officers arrived...and they mean to keep what they feel entitled to.
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Jenna lost her son, Bobby, in a tragic drowning while on a business-related vacation with her family at a soon-to-be-opened wilderness lodge. Two years later at home with her husband Robert in Seattle, Jenna has yet to recover. She's seen numerous psychiatrists, but has yet to come to terms with Bobby's death and the changes their loss made to their marriage. After a fight at yet another business related event, Jenna takes off in Robert's car. At first she just wants to get home. In the end, she just keeps driving, running away from Robert by default. Eventually, she ends up headed on the ferry to Alaska, the home of her Tlingit grandmother and the place where Bobby died. Can returning to the source of so much pain in her life help her move forward, or will it send her further into depression and despair?The first half of this novel had all the makings of a great episode of "The X Files." After Jenna lands in Alaska after leaving Robert, she has the most creepy experiences. Because she doesn't completely trust her sanity, she's not sure if she believes what she sees. What she may have experienced is creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the potential of kushtaka, the otter people gifted with the ability to shift their shape and "convert" souls. When Jenna wonders if the kushtaka are real and if they may have some connection to the death of her son, I could just imagine Mulder and Scully investigating and having a field day with all the possibilities. During that first half, I was in heaven. I felt that I could relate to Jenna and I wanted her to find her way to where ever it was that she needed to go.The second half of the novel didn't work as well for me. I grew impatient with Jenna and her attitude about anyone other than herself. The story became much less suspenseful because it featured Robert and his attempts to find Jenna more prominently. This weighted the novel down and was distracting. I wanted the novel to be about Jenna and her discoveries. I wasn't so much concerned about Robert. It's not that he didn't matter, but I wish there could have been more a more concise way to bring him back into the story without the play by play. Robert also put enough normalcy and reality back into the story that when the kushtaka arc built back up, I missed it. I was no longer prepared for it. Had I recognized it immediately, the end of this novel really would have packed a punch.I didn't like this novel as much as The Art of Racing in the Rain. However, Raven Stole the Moon was more challenging and in some ways more interesting. I enjoyed the Alaskan setting, history, and spirituality that were infused throughout. I liked that Jenna and Robert were a mess and were prone to making rotten decisions when under stress. It made them human. The highlight for me was the section where Jenna relives her last moments with Bobby. They were incredibly heartbreaking and powerful. Had Stein maintained the same pacing and level of suspense consistently throughout, this novel would have been absolutely incredible.
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