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Ravencry

The Raven's Mark, Book 2
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Series: Raven's Mark, Book 2
Length: 14 hrs and 9 mins
5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For Ryhalt Galharrow, working for Crowfoot as a Blackwing captain is about as bad as it gets - especially when his orders are garbled, or incoherent, or impossible to carry out.

The Deep Kings are hurling fire from the sky, a ghost in the light known only as the Bright Lady had begun to manifest in visions across the city, and the cult that worship her grasp for power while the city burns around them.

Galharrow may not be able to do much about the cult - or about strange orders from the Nameless - but when Crowfoot's arcane vault is breached and an object of terrible power is stolen, he's propelled into a race against time to recover it. Only to do that, he needs answers, and finding them means travelling into nightmare: to the very heart of the Misery.

Ravencry is the second book in the Raven's Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy Blackwing.

Read by Colin Mace.

©2018 Ed McDonald (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A worthy sequel to one of the best books of 2017

Well, I absolutely loved Blackwing. So much so I actually cheated my own rating system to give it the 5 stars it deserved. It still remains the only book I have done that for. So when Ravencry released I jumped straight on it, expecting another wild and wonderful ride full of despair, misery, nihilism, and hope.

I was not disappointed.

Ravencry picks up a few years after the events of Blackwing and the world has moved on a bit. Ryhalt has, if anything, become more of a belligerent arsehole determined to falsely prove to everyone that he doesn’t care. The nameless and the deep kings are still locked in their eternal battle, but there is a new threat rising, seditious and nebulous… religion.

The book is quite different to the first one. Gone is the mystery, that wonder at what the Misery is and the things it contains. The oppressive power of the deep kings and the nameless are vague concepts rather than at the forefront of the tale. Instead we have Ryhalt trying to uncover a new plot against his city and his people, one that in many ways feels a little disconnected from the larger narrative. Honestly, after finishing the book and letting it sit, it feels like a 2nd book in a trilogy. The plot happened and some changes were felt across the world, but it does feel more like the major changes are all character based. The world at large stays the same, but by the gods does Ryhalt go through some changes.

It deals with some interesting issues, including the march toward fatherhood, and the rise of religious power within a military state. It does them both incredibly well and hangs such emotional weight on each and every one of Ryhalt’s choices and actions, that we truly feel the weight of the world dragging his shoulders down every step of the way.

As with Blackwing, the narration was excellent. Colin Mace does an amazing job and really brings Ryhalt to life. Rarely has it felt to me that a narrator has such a hang of the character.

I have little else to say. I loved this one almost as much as book 1, but not quite. The Misery felt less mysterious and a touch less dangerous. And even though I think there is a good reason for that, the world lost something because of it.

Overall, 4 stars. I loved Ravencry and I am eagerly chomping at the bit for book 3!

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Profile Image for peastri
  • peastri
  • 07-13-18

Real, Dark and Gritty

Real in the way that makes you forget you're reading.

Dark in the way that keeps you from escaping.

Gritty in the way that sticks to your teeth*


*please don't eat the book.


I'll admit this isn't normally the type of story I'm overly keen on, this type of world, this type of grimness, but McDonald has somehow managed to find beauty in his filthy world and that has me hooked. Somewhere between its bleak harshness and the curious characters that do what they can just to carry on, I find myself lost in the words and am now stuck with the irksome duty of impatiently waiting for book 3.


For the audio fans: Colin Mace continues his fine form as Galharrow. He captures all the characters well enough to make you feel like they're right there with you. A great combination of narrator and story.


The cover (UK/AU): I do like these covers from a design perspective. I don't think they evoke much from an imagination standpoint but their design is super cool. This one isn't quite as good as Blackwing I feel. It seems more like a grab at stock images to find the right bird to continue the theme. Still, it's pretty.


In short: One of the rare grimdarks that define the genre.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful