September 2, 2022

BLOG TOUR Ravenfall (Ravenfall #1) by Kalyn Josephson

Hi friends! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the blog tour for Ravenfall by Kalyn Josephson, organized by TBR and Beyond Tours. Check out my review (as well as some favorite quotes) below, and make sure you show the other hosts some love as well! The link to the schedule is below. 

About the Book

RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2022

REP: Jewish

Genre: Middle-Grade Dark Fantasy

One magical inn, two kids with supernatural powers, and an ancient Celtic creature trying to destroy their world by Halloween night…

Halloweentown meets Supernatural in this spooky middle-grade series from the acclaimed author of the Storm Crow duology!

Thirteen-year-old Annabella Ballinkay has never been normal, even by her psychic family’s standards. Every generation uses their abilities to help run the Ravenfall Inn, a sprawling, magical B&B at the crossroads of the human world and the Otherworld. But it’s hard to contribute when your only power is foreseeing death.

So when fourteen-year-old Colin Pierce arrives at Ravenfall searching for his missing older brother and the supernatural creature who killed their parents, Anna jumps at the chance to help. But the mysteries tied to Colin go much deeper than either of them expects. . . .

As the two team up to find answers, they unearth Colin’s family’s secret past and discover that Colin has powers beyond his imagination. And now the supernatural creature, one with eerie origins in Celtic mythology, is coming after him. If Anna and Colin can’t stop the creature by Halloween night, the veil to the Otherworld could be ripped open—which would spell destruction for their world as they know it.

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REVIEW of Ravenfall (Ravenfall #1) by Kalyn Josephson
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Format: eARC (Courtesy of the Publisher through NetGalley and the team at TBR and Beyond Tours)
Publisher: Delacorte Press

It’s rare that a book fully delivers on the comparisons made in its blurb, but Kalyn Josephson’s middle-grade debut dark fantasy Ravenfall lives up to the expectations. I saw so many elements that were reminiscent of Halloweentown and Supernatural, among other movies and shows. 

Anna Balinkay is a small part of the larger family unit that runs the Ravenfall Inn, a hub and a meeting place for both normal folk and supernatural creatures. Her less-than-spectacular ability, being drawn into visions of death with a single touch, leaves her stuck with the boring chores as her other family members help keep the inn running smoothly. When she meets a new guest, Colin, a boy who has just lost his parents, they are drawn together in the hopes of solving the mystery of his parent's murders and ensuring all the visitors to the inn remain safe from a supernatural threat straight out of Celtic myth.  

The dual points of view helped give readers a complete picture of what was happening in the book. Both Anna and Colin feel left out by their families, but for very different reasons. Given how Anna’s powers don’t directly assist with the day-to-day operations of the hotel, she feels kind of useless. She summarizes her struggles very well with this quote; “All my life I’ve wanted what he practically tripped and fell into, and I’m starting to think, no matter what I do, I’ll never get it…What do they need my powers for?” Colin, on the other hand, feels left out because of his late introduction into his family’s history as Ravens. Given how he’s now racing against the clock and the deadline for Samhain to master his powers, I can certainly empathize with his frustration. Their friendship ultimately proves instrumental in helping them both work through their struggles, and that was so exciting to see as a reader. 

I’m a big fan of anything to do with mythology, so the opportunity to learn more about Celtic mythology was exciting. It’s not featured in books nearly enough, in my opinion. Ms. Josephson introduces readers to red caps, wraiths, triskelions, and the festival of Samhain (a Celtic tradition that’s been somewhat overlooked in recent years due to the commercialized Halloween). She also introduced readers to the idea of the Shield, as well as the ‘Ravens’ who help maintain the balance and protect the Shield (this concept in particular was reminiscent of NBC’s Grimm). 

Ravenfall Inn definitely has the multi-generational family home feel of the Addams Family or Encanto. Every member of the family has an ability, with some having a more obvious benefit than others. Anna’s hurt at being unable to help in the same way her family members do is obvious; it reminded me a lot of how no one took Mirabel in Encanto seriously due to her lack of a gift. With this in mind, I really appreciated how all of the family abilities played into the storyline in some manner or fashion (no one had an ability “just because”). The addition of the “sentient house” was cool. Out of all of the Balinkay family members, I think my favorite family member was Uncle Roy, but I was quite enamored by the Jabberwocky Max (who prefers to run around in cat form). 

Overall, this was a fantastic middle-grade debut from Kalyn Josephson. I’m excited to be able to go back and read her Storm Crow duology as soon as I have a chance. If you’re a kid (or a big kid at heart) who loves spooky, family-friendly mysteries then I think you’ll enjoy Ravenfall. I’m curious to see what the author will do with subsequent books in the series because there’s so much more to explore with the characters and the world that she built (at the time of writing this review, the next book is titled ‘Hollowthorn’). 

Thank you to the author, the publisher Delacorte Press, the team at TBR and Beyond Tours, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Ravenfall immensely! Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way.  

CW: Parental Deaths (Murder), Missing Person, Injuries, Animal Death, Grief, Violence, Possession


I belong at the inn as much as a vampire belongs in the sun. 

I love magic, but sometimes living with a family of psychics can be a real drag. 

Embrace the weird!

About the Author

Kalyn Josephson currently works as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though she grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with degrees in Biology and English (Creative Writing). Currently, she lives in the Bay Area with two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl). THE STORM CROW duology is out now.

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