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Table of Contents
About The Book
A demi-god who refuses to cohabitate with humans accidentally falls in love with one in the first book of a pulse-pounding teen duology that’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Celtic mythology.
Neve has spent lifetimes defending the mortal world against the legions of hell with her two sisters.
Unfortunately for Neve, in this lifetime, she is the only one of the Morrigan—a triad of Irish war gods—still stuck in high school and still without her full power. She’s been counting down the days until her eighteenth birthday, when she finally gets to shed the pretenses of humanity and grow into her divine power.
But then she meets Alexandria. And Alexandria is as determined to force Neve into some semblance of teenage normalcy as she is haunted by her own demons—both figurative and literal.
As they grow closer, Neve decides that humanity—and, perhaps, love—isn’t so detestable after all. Which makes it all the more dangerous when she realizes that something in Hell wants Alexandria, and it’s be up to Neve and her sisters to save her before Alexandria’s past catches up to all of them.
The girl with her arm in a sling didn’t look like a god. She could have been any other teenager eagerly counting down the days until graduation. The busted arm might’ve been from a sports injury, or an unlucky fender bender. No one would suspect that she’d hurt herself fighting a demon.
Well. They might start to suspect something when they saw the silver sword held tight in her grip. Newgrange Harbor High School didn’t have a fencing team, and even if it did, a blunt fencing foil could never be confused with the weapon Neve Morgan held with practiced grace, like it was an extension of her arm.
The sword’s weight was familiar, the leather-wrapped pommel perfectly molded to her grip, and for the hundredth time this week, Neve felt a stab of annoyance that it had been relocated to the armory, instead of being under her bed where it belonged. Besides her bedroom, the armory was where she kept most of her weapons anyway, but it was the principle of the thing.
Despite her aggravation, Neve felt the muscles in her neck loosen the moment her sword was back in her hand. The armory smelled like burnished steel and the oil she and her sisters used to maintain their blades, but more than that, it felt safe. Their weapons were ancient—as old as they were or older—held together by magic and a strict maintenance regimen, but only about a third of the collection was still used in battle. The rest were mementos. Tokens from battles long past, both lost and won. Neve wasn’t allowed to know their stories, not yet, but sometimes she liked to imagine the glory of it. Why that longsword? Or those arrows? What had been strong enough to chip the blade of the double-bladed axe in the corner?
It was a game she’d played since she was little, one she used to play with her sisters, until they both grew up and left her behind.
Tonight, however, Neve wasn’t interested in telling herself war stories.
“Mab’s tits, Nee,” said a voice at her back. Neve jumped at Mercy’s sudden appearance, as if she’d been caught sneaking out past curfew, not handling a blade that had seen more than a thousand years of bloodshed. “If Daughter Aoife finds you in here, she’s going to lose her shit.”
“I’m bored,” Neve complained, her shoulders tensing slightly. Lying to her sisters was always hard, but at least it was Mercy and not Bay. Mercy—the second-oldest and a middle-child stereotype in more ways than one—could often be persuaded to look the other way when Neve broke house rules. Rules that forbade Neve from handling her weapons when she was injured because no one trusted her not to overdo it, even when she was supposed to be on bed rest.
Bay was different, though. Lying to Bay was impossible.
Neve heaved a sigh. “Mer-cy,” she whined. “It’s been a week.”
She wasn’t the only one hurt in the fight, but she was the only one who’d taken a nasty demon bite to the shoulder and, to add insult to extremely painful injury, the only one still healing. Oh, the joys of being under eighteen in the Morgan household.
“Next time, remember how this feels before you break formation,” Mercy said, rolling her eyes. Neve glowered. Right, like she’d wanted a demon to turn her shoulder into shredded beef.
“I had an opening,” Neve insisted, falling into the argument they’d already had a half-dozen times since last week. “I saw a chance to kill the stupid thing and I took it.”
Mercy pinched the bridge of her nose. “Yeah, and how’d that go, genius? You’re still seventeen.”
You’re still seventeen. You’re still mostly human. You haven’t manifested yet. Neve had heard those excuses hundreds of times, whenever her family needed a reason to leave her behind or keep her in the dark or baby her like she wasn’t just as much a part of the triad as Mercy or Bay. Like she wasn’t just as much a god.
Except she wasn’t part of the triad or a fully-fledged god yet, not really. She was still underage, and until her birthday in eight months she was stuck in the bullshit liminal space between humanity and divinity, separated from the memories of her past lives, her powers, and her sisters, who insisted that she needed to be protected.
Neve ground her teeth. She didn’t need to be protected. She was Morrigan. She did the protecting.
“I can still fight,” Neve insisted. She knew she should drop it. This wasn’t an argument she could win—history had proved that dozens of times over—but gods, she just wanted someone to listen to her for once.
“You absolutely can,” said a new voice from the doorway, and Neve stiffened as Daughter Maeve swept into the armory, her customary black cloak trailing behind her. Maeve was using her High Priestess voice, which was appropriate since she technically was the High Priestess of the Order of Danu, the sect of nuns who had devoted themselves to raising and protecting the Morrigan for lifetimes. Neve straightened her back in anticipation of a lecture.
“No one doubts your ability to fight,” Daughter Maeve went on, adjusting her veil. The Daughters never wore them over their faces inside the convent, but it was still part of the daily ensemble. “But we still worry about your safety. If you die before…”
Neve stiffened, a chill crawling up the back of her neck. She didn’t want to have this conversation anymore, but Daughter Maeve and Mercy were blocking the door. “I’m not going to die.”
“No, you’re not,” Maeve agreed, and for a brief, beautiful moment Neve thought that the conversation was about to turn in her favor. “Because we’re going to keep you safe until you turn eighteen. It’s only eight more months. Be patient.”
I don’t need to be kept safe! Neve wanted to scream at both of them. Her arm twinged, a cruel reminder that despite her protestations to the contrary, she was still breakable.
“You know what happens if you die before you manifest,” Maeve said, not unkindly.
Neve glared. She did know. Of course she knew—how could she possibly forget, when it was her family’s second-favorite reason to treat her with kid gloves.
If she died before turning eighteen, the cycle ended. The magic that brought them back lifetime after lifetime would vanish, and this would be their last life. They would leave the world unguarded, forever, and the monsters they kept at bay would be free to roam. No pressure or anything.
“I’m not going to break the cycle,” Neve grumbled after a long minute, looking at the floor. Neve might be a god and technically a thousand years old, but in this lifetime she was only seventeen, and, divine or not, there was no way she could win a staring contest with an immortal Irishwoman.
“Good,” Maeve said, nodding. She inclined her head, like that was the end of it, before sweeping out of the armory as silently as she’d arrived.
“Yeesh,” Mercy said when Maeve’s footsteps had faded. Then, when Neve shot her a dirty look: “Oh, come on, that could’ve been so much worse. It could’ve been Aoife.”
Fair enough. Neve didn’t have a mother, so she didn’t know for sure, but of all the Daughters of Danu—Maeve, Aoife, and Clara, the nuns who had given up their mortal lives to protect Neve and her sisters and ensure that the chain remained unbroken—Maeve felt the most like a mom. Aoife was more of an aunt who would hit you with a wooden spoon in one hand and hex you with the other. Quite literally, considering that she was the convent’s resident witch.
With her chance to pilfer her sword well and truly blown, Neve stalked out of the armory, shoving past Mercy harder than necessary to get through.
It was bad enough always being babied by the Daughters and Bay, but Mercy was usually on her side in these fights. They all knew the rules—take your shoes off in the house, always make sure to clean the blood from your weapons, and no talking about their past lives with Neve—but Mercy usually at least pretended that Neve was an equal member of the family.
Mercy, who had carried Neve into the convent after the demon attack, screaming for Daughter Clara. Neve had been a little out of it—massive blood loss will do that to you—but she could still hear the panic in her sister’s voice.
One of them got her, Mercy said over and over, like she couldn’t believe it. I think she’s dying.
Neve swallowed hard, shoving the memory to the back of her mind and leaving room for irritation to flood forward. She hadn’t been dying. Mercy was just being dramatic.
Except, she thought, her hands curling into fists by her sides, it had felt a whole lot like dying at the time.
No. Neve’s knuckles were white. She was fine. She was alive and she was fine. The cycle wasn’t going to end with her, not anytime soon. This wasn’t going to be their last lifetime, not on her account.
Her footsteps felt too loud as Neve wandered the halls of the convent. The dark stone walls loomed so high that the light rarely reached all the way to the top, where the ravens roosted. It made Neve feel small, like it had been built for giants. Despite the Gothic architecture, there was no nave or sanctuary. Neve’s home had never been for humans holding mass.
The main hallway stretched the length of the convent like a spine, running from the towering double-door entryway to the massive wall of windows in the very back of the building. The view from the windows was uninterrupted, following the cliffs and providing an eyeline to the ocean. And more important, the spit of shoreline below.
Every other room in the convent pulled away from the spine. Most of the lower floor had been split into the kitchen, armory, and massive library. The Daughters’ rooms were there as well, nestled in an offshoot that was the closest thing the convent had to a dorter. Twisted spiral steps led to Bay’s and Mercy’s rooms, each on opposite sides of the spine. The second floor wasn’t a floor so much as a series of rooms disconnected from each other. Some had stairs leading to them. Others didn’t. Even after seventeen years, Neve was still finding strange chambers and crawl spaces on the second level. Most were impossible to enter except by way of the thin ironwork catwalks that created a crisscross pattern in the empty air above the first floor. None of them crossed the spine, but Neve and her sisters had figured out the fastest ways to get in and out of one another’s rooms without ever touching the ground years ago, back when they still had bedtimes.
There was even less space in the attic. Technically, Neve’s room was the only one on the third floor, and there was a staircase that led all the way up to it, though Neve preferred her maze of catwalks and ladders. Sleeping so high off the ground made her feel safe. The extra height gave her a better vantage point on anything trying to sneak up on them from the beach, and she knew that if she fell, her sisters would be waiting below to catch her.
Between the ancient stone walls and creaking ironwork, the convent was never quiet. When she was little, Neve liked to imagine that the echoes were ghosts, or memories, whispering the adventures of their past lives just out of earshot. Now the noise was too much like the dull sound of blessed steel through flesh.
There had been an opening, no matter what Mercy said. They’d practiced that formation a thousand times—Neve could’ve done it in her sleep, blindfolded. Mercy’s broadsword and Bay’s scythe had moved so fast through the air that they were reduced to silvery streaks in her vision, but through the carnage, Neve saw an opportunity. Bay’s last blow had lodged deep in a wolflike demon’s shoulder, leaving it hobbling but not dead. It should’ve been easy to slip out of the protection of her sisters’ spinning blades and make short work of the wounded demon. One clean strike and it would’ve been over.
Except she’d miscalculated, underestimating its speed. It was down a limb; it shouldn’t have been able to move so fast, but one second Neve was standing above the wounded monster and the next she was flat on her back. There hadn’t been time to raise her blade or even cry out before the demon’s full weight pressed against her chest, smothering her.
The bite hurt like fire, serrated teeth tearing into the meat between her shoulder and neck, ripping at muscle and sinew. Blue-gold blood, her blood, sprayed like a geyser before running down her back in a grisly torrent. Somewhere, Mercy had screamed her name before Bay broke formation too.
Blinking back into the present, Neve expected her sister’s face to still be covered in blood and ash from the fight, her pupils blown and massive, eating away at the blue of her irises. But Bay had long since cleaned off the reminders of battle, returning to her usual uniform of soft sweaters despite the clinging warmth of summer.
“You okay?” Bay asked. Neve shook herself, pushing the memory as far down as it would go.
Bay’s mouth pulled into a gentle frown, as if she knew where Neve’s mind had been. The scars she’d earned trying to free Neve from the demon’s jaws were faded now, mostly obscured by her freckles, but Neve couldn’t help the way her eyes traced the perpendicular lines where claws had slashed through her sister’s cheek.
“I’m fine,” Neve insisted, harsher than necessary. She wasn’t the one who’d nearly gotten her face clawed off. Bay had the worse injury by a mile, but no one was cooing over her.
Neve very specifically did not think about the fact that Bay’s face had been messed up for two whole days, the longest time it had taken her to heal from a fight since she turned eighteen. In fact, Neve had put so much effort into not thinking about it that she wasn’t really sleeping, all her mental energy devoted to the whole “not thinking about it” thing. Why would she bother thinking about it? Bay had healed; everything was okay.
“I’m fine,” Neve said again. Because she was, even if Bay didn’t look like she believed it.
“Good,” Bay said after a moment, her voice ticking up. “Because I need help during my shift tomorrow. Mercy’s got class and I need an extra hand around the shop.”
Neve almost smiled, feeling a rush of gratitude toward Bay. It wasn’t training, but at least working at the Three Crows—the little store run by her family and Neve’s only extracurricular activity besides demon killing—would get her out of the damn house. After a week of being stuck inside, she was almost looking forward to going back to school.
“Yeah, okay,” Neve agreed.
“Perfect.” Bay nodded, ruffling Neve’s hair before walking away.
“Wait,” Neve called after a moment, remembering something. “Don’t we open at eight tomorrow?”
“I’ll wake you up at six!” Bay replied over her shoulder without turning. “Good night, Neve!”
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (March 14, 2023)
- Length: 368 pages
- ISBN13: 9781665905299
- Grades: 7 and up
- Ages: 12 - 99
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Raves and Reviews
"Heartfelt, thrilling, and refreshingly steeped in lore, RAVENSONG is a book I could read again and again. Neve is a magnetic heroine - determined, stubborn, and full of raw anger. The moment I flipped the last page, I was desperate for more." —Courtney Gould, bestselling author of The Dead and the Dark
"Fay’s debut, the first in a planned duology, hits all the right notes: urban fantasy twisted up with queer romance and high-school drama with a side of Celtic myth. Grab this and eagerly await the sequel."
– Booklist, starred review
"Twining Irish mythology into solid worldbuilding and plenty of action scenes, Fay’s appealing, Buffy-tinged debut, a duology starter, offers up rich emotional interplay as perpetually snarky Neve slowly reveals her vulnerable side."
– Publishers Weekly
"Neve is a refreshingly prickly character. She softens somewhat as she forms human connections and experiences gooey love feelings, but she always maintains a fiery demeanor. She and Alexandria, both [w]hite, are a delightful romantic pair with charming chemistry. Their diverse group of friends is a fun bunch who will hopefully be more developed in the second installment of this duology. Irish lore is naturally incorporated as the straightforward story becomes increasingly action-packed.
A fast-paced, enticing blend of urban fantasy and queer romance."
– Kirkus Reviews
“Full of magic, humor, heart, and the feral rage of a teenage girl, Ravensong is a primal scream of a book in the best possible way!” —Alice Scott, Barnes & Noble, McLean
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Author Photo (jpg): Cayla Fay
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