Publisher's Note:  

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.

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle

by George Hagen

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Overall Review:  

Gabriel Finley and the Raven's Riddle is a middle grade fantasy set in Brooklyn and the underground city of Aviopolis.  There is magic, talking birds, dancing desks, flying, and yes, there are riddles a-plenty.  Strewn throughout the book are riddles and a few puns are thrown in for good measure.  While this book does not have the frantic adrenaline-rushed action that is popular these days, it clips right along without a lull.  There is also some charming humor, particularly in the characterization of various individuals.  With a mix of eclectic and empathetic characters, both male and female, this novel will appeal to both girl and boy readers.  Although this novel is a self-contained story, the author leaves the smallest wisp of a crack in the door, allowing for the possibility of more adventures in the future for Gabriel, his friends, and his father.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  None


Violence/Gore:  Bully lifts another off feet, hits with a backpack, bruises arm, slams volleyball purposefully to give a bloody nose, punches, puts in headlock, verbally threatens (all instances are brief and non-detailed); animal has a broken leg; animals eat the flesh of dead humans; tale of animal eating flesh of prior owner; report of birds attacking other birds and fighting; report of an animal's death; report of a human eating a bird and transforming; 2-3 page scene of animals fighting resulting in injuries and death; instances of abduction; parent hits a child; animal slashes (minor) a human's wrist/throat, mention of blood;  vaporization of animals with magic; destruction of property; threats; scratching; report of a fall and minor injury to limb; magical transformation of a human.


Sex/Nudity:  None

Mature Subject Matter:  

Bullying, child abuse (physical/emotional), missing parent.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Character offers to throw in some wine and cigars when attempting to buy something from some children--the children point out their age and decline; incident is meant to be humorous.

Reviewed By Cindy
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