Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle Book Review


Riddles Key to Fighting Evil in New Tween Novel by Award-Winner George Hagen

Disclosure – SCM (SocialCafe Magazine) was provided FREE product(s) to complete this review.

From Homer to the Bible, Norse Mythology to the Mad Hatter, the allure of riddles — as games, signs of intelligence, humorous word play, and a trickster’s tool for challenging an opponent, has been part of our culture. Data shows riddles going back nearly 4,000 years to the culture of Sumaria.

[*Can you solve this Sumarian riddle: “There is a house. One enters it blind and comes out seeing. What is it?” – answer at the bottom of the post!]

Gabriel Finley & the Raven's Riddle

But for award-winning author, George Hagen, it was the Mad Hatter’s so called unsolvable riddle about why a raven is like a writing desk that inspired the first of what will be a series of books about a new avian world set under the streets of Brooklyn. Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle has been called “a vivid, compelling fantasy,” by Norton Juster, author of the classic The Phantom Tollbooth, and “a first-rate fantasy,” by Booklist in their starred review. Like the riddles that populate the book, Hagen’s captivating fantasy has the power to intrigue as readers endeavor to quickly solve the plot-based puzzles.

The story begins with Gabriel’s wish to find his father who has mysteriously vanished. His determination to succeed and innate curiosity lead Gabriel to link up with a colorful cast of characters – some he knows he can trust, and others who he is forced to ally with despite suspicions about their motives. His brave efforts to vanquish challengers and unlock the riddle mysteries that fill the book, lead him to the underworld prison where his father is captive.

Throughout this fast-paced adventure, Hagen explores universal themes of honor and betrayal; greed and compassion; and the complicated bonds of family and friends all the while weaving the familiar sites of Brooklyn into a fantastical avian world where ravens (good and evil) duel, and winged predators and friends shift sides to survive. Gabriel Finely is a story about the nature of trust and how it often requires large leaps of faith to move forward in a complex world.

We recently got a chance to review this book and both my 9-year-old daughter and I found it quiet interesting and a bit scary at times (for young readers at least). We loved the riddles and the story was interesting for both of us, making it a fast paced read we enjoyed together. If you have a middle grader that enjoys mystery, fairy tales, riddles and myths than this book is perfect for them. Keep in mind that not all kids like scary books and this one has some parts that could be too much for some youngsters. We do recommend reading it and can’t wait to read book two when it becomes available.

About the Author: George Hagen is the award-winning author of two novels for adults. The Laments—a Washington Post bestseller and recipient of the William Saroyan International Prize for writing–has been compared to the work of John Irving and Ann Tyler and described by Publishers Weekly as “a funny, touching novel about the meaning of family.” Tom Bedlam was called “a Victorian three-decker novel [that]shines with contemporary clarity and moves at the speed of ‘The Sopranos'” by the Los Angeles Times. Hagen had lived on three continents by the time he was twelve. The father of three children, he now lives in Brooklyn. This is his first book for tweens.

Gabriel Finley & the Raven’s Riddle is perfect for ages 9 to 12, with 384 pages, costs $16.99 and is available September 2014.

For more info and to order this book visit George Hagen’s website!

[Riddle Answer: a school]

Disclosure – SCM (SocialCafe Magazine) was provided FREE product(s) by the above mentioned company or their PR Representative to complete this review. All of the opinions are strictly of the SCM (SocialCafe Magazine) and SCM (SocialCafe Magazine) staff and no one else. The opinions are honest and not influenced by the monetary compensation in any way.


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