Review : The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters || Poe’s youth was underwhelming

The Raven’s Tale

Cat Winters

Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe counts down the days until he can escape his foster family—the wealthy Allans of Richmond, Virginia. He hungers for his upcoming life as a student at the prestigious new university, almost as much as he longs to marry his beloved Elmira Royster. However, on the brink of his departure, all his plans go awry when a macabre Muse named Lenore appears to him. Muses are frightful creatures that lead Artists down a path of ruin and disgrace, and no respectable person could possibly understand or accept them. But Lenore steps out of the shadows with one request: “Let them see me!”

Publisher: Holiday House

Publication Date: March 19th 2019



Trigger Warning



Depression, Mentions of Death, Parental Neglect

As a lover of all Edgar Allan Poe, this was a bit underwhelming? I went into this with a romanticized vision of what this was going to be and kind of came out surprised with what I got?

I mean, the prospect of learning of Poe in his younger years is the thing that got me the most— you don’t see that often. Add the magical realism aspect with muses and an overall dark theme… here you go… a book made for me.

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But, if you’ve seen the rating… something fell flat. The magical realism aspect to the story really caught me off guard—you’d expect Lenore, Poe’s muse, to be an apparition created from his declining mental health, yet instead muses were a thing… that people had. Granted, muses as a whole aren’t exactly accepted in this time: religion is trying to demonize them what’s new, yet even that isn’t explored much.

I can say that I did preferred Lenore’s POV to Poe’s. I spent the majority of the book wishing Poe treated her better; from a critical view, I understood his hesitations and such, with the uprising of hate for Muses and his fear of judgement and failure in society not only for Lenore herself but from his dark poetry. Yet from an enjoyment view it made him a bit unlikable.

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I should mention that I did have trouble getting into the book which has nothing to do with said characters. And even after finishing my read, I’m not sure if it was the writing which I’ll admit, I wasn’t really enjoying or the pacing or both, but I found myself trudging through it. There was a lot of mopey Poe and this weird romantic side thing that kind of went no where and not as much darkness as I was hoping for, you know?

Though the last 75% or so did get better… but I don’t know if the pay off was worth it? Again, it was two-thirds of slow pacing and a bit of an unlikable Poe. And if I’m honest, the author’s note is what solidified my rating. You can tell Winter’s put so much into this book and that she was dedicated in giving a faithful adaptation to Poe’s story. So I won’t say I didn’t like this book, but I guess my expectations led me astray. 


7 thoughts on “Review : The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters || Poe’s youth was underwhelming”

  1. I was super disappointed by this book. I’ve been a big fan of Cat Winters, but something was off with the tone on this one. I only got a quarter of the way through before putting it down. I expected the muse thing to be like you said as well, so it was weird to me when she just…showed up.

    Liked by 2 people

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