I’m really excited for today’s book review of Crowfall by Ed McDonald. Why I hear you ask? Well, only because this is my favourite read of the year!!! So far, at least.
Having read the earlier books in the series, I requested and gratefully received a copy of Crowfall from Gollancz for the purpose of reviewing this epic conclusion to the Raven’s Mark series. I can’t wait to get started, but first, you can check out my review of the previous book in the series, Ravencry using the link here. Once you are all up to date, here are the details, and my thoughts, on Crowfall: –
Crowfall – Ed McDonald
Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.
‘Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart’ Mark Lawrence
A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings.
Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.
Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.
He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him – changed him – but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.
They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.
You know that bittersweet feeling of wanting to finish a series to find out what happens, but then not wanting to finish it because then it’s all over? Crowfall is definitely one of those for me. The world, the magic and fantasy setting are truly unique. And the characters have to be some of my favourites. It turns out I’m a sucker for a reluctant, non-altruistic hero.
Grimdark is a genre I want to read more of as a result of this series. I have read a few other grimdark fantasy novels, namely Mark Lawrence’s The Broken Empire series and I have plenty more on my TBR. I enjoy the blurred lines around “heroes” and the amorality of the characters. As a genre, I feel it has a sense of gritty realism – uncertainty as to how events are going to pan out. Classic fantasy has a lot of overused tropes, in my opinion. I want to be worried about my favourite main characters. In dark and life-threatening situations, I don’t want to trust that a character will make it through because they are pivotal to a story. As a reader, I thrive off the danger of knowing anything could happen at any moment… that no one is safe from harm.
Ryhalt is one of my favourite fantasy characters of all time. Before the events of Blackwing and Ravencry twisted him into the man he has become in the opening pages of Crowfall, he already had a sarcastic sense of humour that I loved. He has always had a cynical, pessimistic view of life which fits in so well with the tone of the novels. Corrupted my magic born of death and devastation wrought years earlier, he is far from the ideal candidate to prevent such devastation again.
Crowfall truly is the epic conclusion to this series, and I was hooked on it. I read it from cover to cover in a matter of days and I was absorbed from start to finish! I don’t want to spoil even a single thing so I am trying to comment as little on the plot as possible. All I will say is that I don’t think you will be disappointed. I wasn’t!
Will I be re-reading this series again? Absolutely! The world captured in the pages of these books is truly unique, and one I could re-visit again and again without getting bored.