Series: Raven’s Mark #3.
Writer(s): Ed McDonald.
Publisher: Ace Books.
Format: Advance Review Copy.
Release Date: July 2nd 2019.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.
Previously in the Raven’s Mark series:
Blackwing by Ed McDonald.
Ravencry by Ed McDonald.
To make a long story short, there are only a few authors who manage to successfully deliver a perfect trilogy in my books. They come once in a blue moon and leave an everlasting impression on you with their characters, their worlds, their ideas, and their prose. When I first came across Blackwing, my heart was stolen and sealed in a lockbox for Ed McDonald to do whatever he wishes with it. With Ravencry, he manipulated my emotions and broke me down to my knees. What was in store for me in his grand finale was sure to kill me as you can’t expect Ed McDonald to not flex his creativity muscles once he goes up the stage. The third and final chapter to his dark fantasy trilogy thus delivers the epic and gritty conclusion to the adventures of Blackwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow.
What is Crowfall about? Set six years after the events that transpired in Ravencry, the story continues to unravel the world-ending war between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings while Ryhalt Galharrow ventures in the Misery accompanied by the ghosts of his past and the creatures of the land. With only the weakened Nameless—the gods who protect the Republic—serving as the last line of defense, the future looks bleak and danger roams just around the corner. It’s when the Blackwing captains who serve the Nameless are taken out of the equation one by one that Ryhalt Galharrow has to further sharpen his senses to embark on his final mission into the Misery before the Deep Kings deliver the killing blow as their strength grows exponentially by the second.
To beautifully wrap-up the adventures in the Misery, Ed McDonald’s approach to this story focused greatly on the gritty and damaged protagonist, Ryhalt Galharrow. Where he starts off as a pawn in a giant game of chess between entities that were out of his reach, he now finds himself in the middle of the cruel and complex schemes at play. Psychologically-damaged by the decisions that were made and the actions of others that he kept close to his heart, he now lives a life of solitude, roaming in the deadly plains looking for solace. What Ed McDonald accomplishes with this protagonist is a stellar example of a perfectly-flawed hero whose experience in the world is brilliantly translated through his way of life and his perception of the world. The first-person narration allowed the reader to deeply connect with his dilemmas and the weight of the burden that he has to carry around as he looks out for the well-being of others before his own sanity.
It would be a mistake to consider this finale—and trilogy—anything but a classic with its masterfully-paced, beautifully-written and cleverly-developed story. From the characters that are introduced to the creatures who rise from the dark recesses of the world, Ed McDonald achieves the impossible as every little detail lives and breathes within this world. While the Misery was a threat to every mortal’s life in Blackwing, Ryhalt Galharrow now becomes one with his environment as he embraces the treacherous and sinister lands to survive the events that unfold in Crowfall. While the world in itself might seem bleak to the unwary, Ed McDonald creates the perfect blend as he gives his story so much heart and hope that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always as small as you would imagine. With plenty of action, the story still delivers an engrossing and emotional tale for fans to experience as the Raven’s Mark trilogy comes to an end.
Crowfall is the long-awaited epic finale where creativity meets passion as Ed McDonald creates the perfect grim playground in which he showcases his exquisite prose filled with darkness, hope, love, and betrayal.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Ace Books for sending me a copy for review!
While reading my copy, I also accidentally fell upon this tear-inducing surprise—check out that last sentence where I’m ACTUALLY quoted! I think the whole neighbourhood heard me squeal!
While on my trip to London, I fell upon this absolutely beautiful and precious gem! You couldn’t imagine my excitement at that very moment!