Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️+
I have to admit something. I’ve waited to write this review. It isn’t because I didn’t love Riven Knight by Devney Perry. In fact, the opposite is very true. Riven Knight is everything I love about Perry’s storytelling. There is something I can always trust about it. For one, even when there has to be a suspension of disbelief, her ability to make her characters and plotline believable is standard to her books. Secondly, and this is where I struggle to explain and why I’ve waited to write this review, there is something distinct about Perry’s writing voice. There is a humanity behind it. It’s very hard to describe, but she uses her prose to craft characters that invest me in their lives. Every book. Every single book that Perry has put to paper has grabbed a little bit of my soul, so much so that when she announces a book, it finds its way onto my GoodReads TBR immediately. Once the pre-order is available, it is a definitive one-click. Perry humanizes places in the romance world. Her voice is that distinct, and it sets her apart.
When she announced her Tin Gypsies series, there was a part of me that became a little discouraged. I think it’s normal as a reader to determine genres and tropes of which we don’t particularly find an interest. Yes, I acknowledge that that particular mindset is reductive. It isn’t fair to the writers who toil over their book babies to think they can’t do more in a particular genre or trope. I digress. Anyways, after her announcement, I added the books with a little bit of trepidation because I am not a huge fan of MC books. I’ve read a handful, and they typically don’t engage me because I don’t see myself in them. And, for me, that is important. However, that being said, this is Devney Perry, and I trust her storytelling, so I fell into Gypsy King, the first book of the series. Dash and Bryce’s story captured me. It would be short-sighted to simply call it an MC series because Perry also created a romantic suspense with this series. This, coupled with Dash and Bryce’s hate-to-lovers story, was engrossing. However, it didn’t touch my soul in the way that her other books have, and I was a little nervous for Riven Knight. Again, as I’ve shown above, Devney Perry weaves gold into stories, and I greedily grab for that gold. I didn’t want to grow cold for her books, so I was a bit reticent for her newest book. However, I needn’t worry because she created an emotional masterpiece with this one.
For one, Perry is a genius a la Skye Warren and Meghan March who so adeptly craft universes for their romantic characters. I hit almost midway into this book and began jumping up and down because I finally recognized Isaiah. It is no secret that I am horrible with characters. I remember story better than I remember character names. I can tell how a book made me feel, but I probably won’t remember the heroine’s name after some time. When I realized that Perry connected this series to another of her past series (we know this series ties loosely with The Clover Chapel from The Jamison Valley series), I jumped around my house in excitement. Key to an incredible book: it brings out emotions in you. And Perry’s nod to her other series illustrates her prowess in seeing beyond a book to a world. Writers such as that imprint themselves on you. They leave a lasting impact. Perry is that such a writer.
Secondly, Perry’s pacing of the story both drives us forward and slows the reader down building the tension and anticipation of Isaiah and Genevieve’s story. As I was reading Riven Knight, I noted how Draven’s plot-line builds this anticipation towards some end. It has this way of intertwining with Isaiah and Genevieve’s story that this book feels rife with tension. You can’t help but find yourself engrossed in their coupling. And it’s this that causes a reader to binge-read a book such as Riven Knight. I know I couldn’t put it down, and Perry’s crafting of the push and pull between these characters kept me attended to the pages of her story. There are no stutters or stops in this book; it is one seamless read of expectation and anticipation.
Additionally, the message of redemption and forgiveness adds gravity to Riven Knight. This comes layered from various plot lines. This isn’t just about Isaiah accepting responsibility for his past and moving beyond it. This is also about Genevieve forging forward with Draven and finding her place in his heart. Then, there is the resolution of the suspense of this story in a way that causes ripples of forgiveness felt until the end of the story. Perry’s title for this book suggests the opposite. Riven means to “split or tear apart violently.” Instead, her book offers us healing along the seams of the splits of this story. While that seam can never be perfect, leaving a scar in its place, this story reminds us that we can move forward, we can find peace, and this is the power of Riven Knight: the profundity of its message.
Finally, Isaiah and Genevieve’s evolving relationship requires an act of patience. This is not a criticism. It illustrates Perry’s care in developing their love at their own pace. It would have been easy to rush them into a love relationship. However, these two carry personal demons that must be rectified and healed before they can fully love each other. Perry carefully builds their friendship first as a way to provide themselves support. In the midst of this evolution, there are times when their journey comes to a halt, requiring the reader to wait. When they move forward again, it is usually with longer strides than before. Again, this showcases Perry’s pacing superpower. Hidden in this skill is her talent for capturing her readers and keeping them fixed to her page. I’d like to imagine many of her readers are like me, and they find themselves binge-reading her book because her characters and their stories compel them to keep reading until the very end. In the case of Riven Knight, Isaiah and Genevieve’s story is a gripping exploration of love and its means of redeeming one’s sins. On their journey, their personal growth allows them to cultivate their growth together. This is the beauty of Perry’s story.
Riven Knight is classic Devney Perry in the context of her character development and storytelling. Her genius is set on display as she ties in this book to her expansive universe, and her story-telling here is impeccable in its emotional reach. I simply could not put Isaiah and Genevieve’s story down, and the emotions it unleashed in its wake are typical of any of her books. It doesn’t matter if she writes about nurses or bar owners or Native Americans or former MC members or cops. Within each of their stories, there is an imprint that is all Devney Perry.
In love and romance,