Book Review: The Raven’s Gift by Don Rearden

In The Raven’s Gift, John and Anna, both teachers, take jobs in a small Eskimo village in the Alaskan Tundra. They’re both seeking adventure and John is hoping to learn more of the Yup’ik culture he may have come from.

Once they arrive to the small village, John and Ana seem content enough even though they come face-to-face with the harsh reality that affects these small native communities: lack of jobs, inadequate health care, loss of culture, and high suicide rate.

Then a flu epidemic hits the region causing massive deaths and a breakdown of societal rules. John, after waiting in vain for help to arrive, decides to escape. On his way, he comes across a young blind girl and an older woman who share his will to survive. Together they must face the inclement weather, the “outcasts”, and the mysterious white hunter.

The story is told from John’s point of view and from different points in time. I was confused at first but then I realized that I was asking myself the same questions going through John’s mind: How did the virus start? Was is a natural occurrence or was it released intentionally? Are they the only ones affected? Why was no help sent?

With The Raven’s Gift, Mr. Rearden provides us with a chilling and attention-grabbing story that deals with the best and worst of human nature. I highly recommend this book for its riveting story line and the value of the lessons that can be gleaned from it.

Received ARC from Penguin Canada

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