Review & Giveaway: Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein

When Jenna Rosen abandons her comfortable Seattle life to visit Wrangell, Alaska, it’s a wrenching return to her past. Long ago the home 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 the spectacular town provides little comfort beyond the steady and tender affections of Eddie, a local fisherman. And then whispers of ancient legends begin to suggest a frightening new possibility about Bobby’s fate. Soon, Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit–who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness. The beliefs are shared by Dr. David Livingstone, a Tlingit shaman, who warns Jenna about the danger of disturbing the legendary kushtaka–soul stealing predators that stalk a netherworld between land and sea, the living and the dead. But Jenna is desperate for answers, and she appeals to both Livingstone and Eddie to help her sort fact from myth, and face the unthinkable possibilities head-on.
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….”

Review of Raven Stole the Moon

When I was given the opportunity to review Garth Stein’s Raven Stole the Moon, I jumped at the chance. This book is actually not new release but a re-release of Stein’s first novel. The premise grabbed me immediately because it seemed so unique and I wondered how it could possibly work. Stein weaves together modern day tragedy with Alaskan Tlingit folklore in a way that somehow falls into place, it melts together to take the reader on a unique and somewhat unpredictable journey. While at times the novel seemed to be slow I was pushed on by the fact that I never knew what would happen next. Told by multiple characters in differing time frames, the book can be challenging to follow but worth it in the end.  I was intrigued by Jenna’s struggle over her son’s death but more intrigued by the folklore that slowly introduced itself as the novel progressed. The legend of the kushtaka was extremely interesting and kept me reading until the very end. The book is such a mix of contemporary fiction, traditional folklore and almost fantasy in some places….it’s hard to place it in just one genre. Sometimes things moved slowly and I must say some areas of the novel seemed dated but in spite of it all, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone intrigued by the premise or summary above.

I personally love reading about traditional folklore from multiple cultures but non-fiction can often become dry in that subject area. I loved that Stein was able to bring in folklore while still maintaining a contemporary novel and wonderfully staged plot. The legend of the kushtaka was fascinating to me and I really enjoyed it’s placement in the story. I would love to know from Stein in his writing…which came first the story of Jenna or the legend of the kushtaka? Raven Stole the Moon will be available March 9, 2010.

Thanks to Terra Communications I am able to offer a copy of Raven Stole the Moon to one lucky reader of Stiletto Storytime! To enter simply leave a comment below telling about one of your favorite pieces of folklore that you would like to see put in a contemporary novel…it can be from any culture. For instance right now we are seeing a surge of vampire novels and even shapeshifter inspired works which all find their way back to native folklore. Also make sure to leave your e-mail address for contact purposes. Become a follower and receive extra entries….one for following Stiletto Storytime on Twitter and another for subscribing to Stiletto Storytime! Giveaway ends March 22, 2010 and winner will be chosen randomly. Good luck to all!



Filed under Adult Books, Contests

10 responses to “Review & Giveaway: Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein

  1. If I’m qualified (I don’t live in the US), please put my name in the hat for this giveaway? 🙂 But, still, my answer for the folklore question, just to share — there’s a figure in my country’s folklore that’s about this woman whose torso, at night, severs itself from her body: torso grows wings and woman (the manananggal roams the night looking for pregnant women to feed on. Fascinating how her body from the hips down remain on earth, and mustn’t be disturbed–it’s her Achilles heel.

    It’s horrific, haha. A lot of writers here have tried to capture that, but they end up too cutesy or too self-conscious, for some reason.

  2. stilettostorytime

    You are absolutely eligible! I love the story as well, that kind of original folklore is what I was looking for when I posed the question for the giveaway! I think it scared people away though b/c hundreds have looked at the post but only you have signed on so far! Come on I know others have great stories…even vampires and the yeti would qualify! =)

  3. In Jewish folklore there is Dybbuk, an evil spirit that enters the human soul and controls their body. Also when a dead body is not laid to rest properly, it becomes a dybbuk.

    I LOVED The Art of Racing in the Rain and would love to have this book.

    teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

  4. BTW, I now subscribe to Stiletto Storytime.

  5. stilettostorytime

    Thanks Teddy! I hadn’t heard of that one either…this is why I wanted to ask this question in the givewaway. Thanks for following!

  6. I’ve already reviewed this book for Terra Comm. and agree with your review. In answer to your question, about 45 minutes from where I grew up in WV is Point Pleasant. They’ve become quite famous for The Mothman, see the film The Mothman Prophecies with Richard Gere. There’s also a legend of Chief Cornstalk’s Ghost in the same town. See this page:

  7. sharon54220

    To be honest, I don’t know what I would like to see in folklore. I’m not a big vampire fan. Maybe more on the Native American Indian.

  8. sharon54220

    I am also a follower and would love to win this.


  9. stilettostorytime

    And the winner is…
    Teddy from “So Many Precious Books, So Little Time as picked by Thanks to everyone who entered and for the interesting folklore I have been reading up on. Keep a watch out I plan many more giveaways in the future! Congrats again Teddy!


  10. Thanks so much! I received the book today and am really looking forward to reading it!!

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