Title: Curse Corvus
Author: Alex Ebenstein
Release date: April 25, 2023
This isn’t typically how I’d start a review, but please hold tight. While writing my upcoming release I did a significant amount of research into crows, ravens and their respective roles in different cultures and stories passed down. As you may have seen, there are two dark, feathered birds on that cover.
So, when Alex Ebenstein announced his debut novella and was looking for reviewers, I was all over it. Huge thanks, Alex for sending me a digital ARC. Alex has always been super kind and supportive, and I’m always excited to see what folks are coming up with.
The synopsis was intriguing, especially the ‘A flock of birds fallen from the sky’ line that opens the description. Just what is going on? And what takes place between these two friends, Val and Lyndsay?
What I liked: The novella starts out super eerie and never lets up. The two friends go for a hike, in a place they often go, when they start to discover hundreds of dead birds. Then they find a discarded wedding dress that appears to be wrapped around something.
Val reaches forward but stops. Lyndsay keeping her back. But soon, subtle changes begin to occur with Val. Alex does a great job of keeping it minimal at first, before ramping it up. We get key points involving work, relationships and most importantly, the relationship between these two best friends. It’s an interesting dynamic, especially as a power shift begins to occur.
Lyndsay’s character seemingly both grows and shrinks within the story arc, which made the ending that much more powerful and also almost an unexpected reaction from this character.
Alex deftly ties everything together from the beginning as well as what he weaved together leading up to the climatic moment.
What I didn’t like: The one piece I wish was expanded upon more, I think at least, would’ve been seeing more of Val and Lyndsay’s friendship prior to the discovery of the birds. Without that, it was tough at first to really see a difference in their relationship because that was simply how Val acted the entire time. So, having some sort of aspect to compare against would’ve been great.
Why you should buy this: Alex has crafted a really engaging, compulsive debut novella, one that was very hard to step away from, which is ultimately what you want when reading. The characters are all great, even the secondary ones that pop up here and there and he does a great job of pulling us along to get to the horrific ending. This was a home run from start to finish and I’m excited to see what else we’ll get from him in the future.