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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle Blog Tour {Review}

I'm thrilled to have the Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle Blog Tour stopping by today with my review of this exciting new middle-grade fantasy...

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle
by George Hagen
Random House

How can twelve-year-old Gabriel find his missing father, who seems to have vanished without a trace? With the help of Paladin—a young raven with whom he has a magical bond that enables them to become one creature—he flies to the foreboding land of Aviopolis, where he must face a series of difficult challenges and unanswerable riddles that could lead to his father... or to his death.

praise for Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle
“This is a great read for fantasy lovers who have worn out their copies of “Harry Potter.” The ending suggests that more is to come, and more will be welcome.”

« Publishers Weekly, August 15, 2014
“Adult author Hagen (The Laments) makes his children's debut with a fantasy adventure touched with whimsy, satire, and the quirky love of urban fauna that characterizes New Yorkers.”

“Adult novelist Hagen offers a first-rate fantasy for middle-grade readers that pulls elements from other great stories […]. Yet this story, told from several points of view, is fresh: full of ravens, riddles, and the ongoing urge to make things right in a world where much has gone wrong.”

Talking birds, an impossible underground city, a magical necklace, and an epic quest? George Hagen’s middle-grade fantasy, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle has all this and more!

Three years ago Gabriel’s father went missing. Riddle-loving Gabriel is sure his father is out there and that he must find him. With the help of a raven name Paladin, some unexpected friends, and unimaginable powers, Gabriel sets off on a wild adventure to an underground, bird filled city to rescue his father and stop the sinister half-man half-raven foe.

Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle is a wonderfully imaginative and refreshing addition to middle-grade fantasy! With sparkling storytelling and a pitch-perfect voice, Hagen weaves an unforgettable story full of mesmerizing magic, endearing characters, captivating settings, and an inventive premise. From talking, riddle-loving ravens to a mischievous writing desk, wish-granting necklace, mysterious mausoleum passages, and a spellbinding, dwarf-made underground city, Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle is brimming with all things wondrous and whimsical. Hagen’s talking ravens, and their bond with their amicus (the human they can communicate with telepathically and even join bodies with) are quite unlike anything I’ve ever come across in fantasy before! Young readers will be absolutely enthralled by the fantastical and magical elements in Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle and will want a raven BFF of their own.

From the historic streets of Brooklyn to a shop of oddities, a mysterious mausoleum, and the glittering underground city of Aviopolis, Gabriel’s journey takes him to some unforgettable places! Crafted with vivid, compelling details, the settings in this book are pretty awesome. I most loved the grand, dwarf-made city of Aviopolis in all its dark beauty! Full of birds of all kinds (even dodos), breathtaking drops, and passages that will make your heart race, Aviopolis has magic in its walls and magic in its making!

Our unexpected hero, Gabriel, and his new friends Abbi, Pamela, and Somes, are all super-likable and endearing young characters. I love Gabriel’s quick riddle-solving wit, Abbi’s creativity, Pamela’s compassion, and Some’s courage.  They make a quirky, lovable foursome for sure! I really enjoyed the bond between Gabriel and the raven, Paladin, too.

Gabriel’s search for his father takes him and his friends on an epic journey filled with twists, turns, fun riddles, and thrilling magic. Hagen concludes this book in a really satisfying, heartwarming way, but cleverly sets up a new adventure...and I, for one, am so ready for more!

My Final Thoughts: Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle has everything you want and need in a middle-grade fantasy! This is an exciting, enthralling, entertaining read that will easily captivate younger readers.


George Hagen was born in 1958 in Harare, Zimbabwe. His family was from South Africa. He lives in New York City and has worked as a magazine writer, screenwriter, cartoonist and novelist.

He likes riddles, but admits that making them up is easier than solving them!

His hobbies include learning the banjo, painting, pinhole photography, learning obscure languages (and promptly forgetting them). He likes history and fiction, poems, riddles, palindromes and puns and is fascinated by how things work and where odd words come from.

He has a dog named Finley.

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