BOOK REVIEW: Ravencry by Ed McDonald

RAVENCRY (Raven’s Mark #2)
By Ed McDonald
Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: 18th June 2018
Format: Hardback (432 pages)

Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but as they hurl fire from the sky, darker forces plots against the republic.

A new power is rising: a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady manifests in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power even as the city burns around them.

When Crowfoot’s arcane vault is breached, an object of terrible power is stolen, and Galharrow and his Blackwings must once find out which of Valengrad’s enemies is responsible before they have a chance to use it.

To save Valengrad, Galharrow, Nenn and Tnota must venture to a darker, more twisted and more dangerous place than any they’ve walked before: the very heart of the Misery. (Goodreads)

First of all, I have a confession to make. I received a copy of Blackwing; read it and loved it, yet due to a number of things, I was unable to write my review. So, when I was given the chance to read and review this book, I was more than honoured to do so.

First off, I have to say that more authors should put a “previousle on…” section in their books because it certainly refreshed my memory of what happened in book one. Even for those who haven’t read the first book, this little recap helps (though really, I recommend reading the first book because its chuffin’ awesome).

Ravencry opens up four years after the conclusion of Blackwing. Galharrow has found himself as part of those who protect the city. The threat from the Misery is still present, but it appears a new ally has come to the cities aid, by giving hope of The Bright Lady appearing to defeat the Deep Kings with her blessed light. (I am paraphrasing here).

Since I am rather familiar with religious or fanatical groups in fantasy novels or other forms of media, I instantly began to distrust their motives. Their devotion to this order has all the familiar markings of someone who wants power over a people who are looking for hope. When they somehow protect the city, when the ruling class fails to, just seemed to convenient and I began to suspect a Deep King was behind this plot to turn the people from within.

Galharrow is put in this very difficult position because he was once a part of the upper class that the people are beginning to rebel against, he is sworn to protect the city and can see the mistakes that the current ruler is making, which will hand the city to these religious zealots on a plate and yet he hopes that their prophecy of the Bright Lad returning as he is convinced that this is the woman he lost at the end of the previous book.

When the person behind the plot to take the city and the reasons behind this are revealed, the repercussions are brutal. Though it looks to lead to all out civil war, there are personal losses dealt to Galharrow which will have an impact in the next book. Where McDonald goes from here doesn’t bare thinking about because he has certainly put his leading man through the ringer so far.

Ravencry once again shows that every victory comes at a price and you can’t help wondering whether the price is worth it. Though Galharrow has lost a lot in the last two books, by the end of this one you come to see those who have become family to him. Though Galharrow has tried his best to keep his distance from those group of misfits he had collected during the last book, it become clear he will do anything to protect them and time and time again, he is as good as his word.

The words “bittersweet” perfectly sum up the conclusion to this book and where the story leaves these characters facing an unknown. The status quo has been shook to its core and those that have come out of it at the other side are changed.

Reading this book was a real roller-coaster ride. There are highs and lows throughout the book. While other books always have this glimmer of hope, this series ignores this and instead puts its faith in that bond between those who you count as family. It is this that spurns Galharrow on and not this hope that he will succeed in winning the war. It is so different and refreshing to read this and it is what makes this book and series such a great read. I defy anyone not to get a lump in their throat when they finish this book.

These type of fantasy books are vert hit and miss for me. I’ve tried Game of Thrones and found the pacing to be slow, so going into anything new I am always apprehensive. I can safely say that Ravencry and the Black Mark series should hold its head because it more than stands valiantly beside this book. My only gripe is that I have to wait so long for book 3, but I can’t wait to see what is in store for Galharrow.





1 BlackWing
2 Ravencry

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