Ravencry: The Raven’s Mark book 2 by Ed McDonald (book review).

‘Ravencry’ is the sequel to ‘Blackwing’ and therefore Part 2 of the trilogy ‘The Raven’s Mark’. ‘Blackwing’ was and is a stunning and highly readable. It sucks you right into the adventure. ‘Ravencry’ follows on from ‘Blackwing’, so don’t read this is you haven’t read it. Why haven’t you read it?

Ed McDonald has a degree in ancient history from Birmingham University and is a keen proponent of martial arts specialising in the Italian longs words so unsurprisingly this will be a positive review!

‘Ravencry’ deals with the aftermath of the failure of Nall’s Engine and the loss of Ezabeth. It also launches headfirst into another gripping story picking up some of the threads and creating new dilemmas.

Ryhalt Galharrow still leads the Blackwing, still drinks hard, doesn’t sleep, denies love and pretends not to care. He does, though, evident through his various friendships and the little details we learn through the narrative. He is carried through by the powerful belief that Ezabeth is trapped in another dimension. The lady of the lights spawns a religion after visions of the Bright Lady are seen in the phos light. He doesn’t want to belief but he can’t help it.

There’s no peace for the wicked as somethings…er..wicked is coming. The raven that tries to break from his arm tattoo is very much weakened. Its master, Crowfoot, is in a desperate battle and can send little help which is often limited to snarky comments.

There’s a certain grim reality about this book. It’s setting of medieval Wild West with only a certain amount of magic and certainly no dragons offers a fresh, gritty and very engaging hero. Supporting characters who form an ensemble are essential and bring it to life. The idea of a quest is very strong and, alongside the disturbing desert known as the Misery, creates an intense backdrop. It’s a visual and visceral mix which sticks with you long after you have finished. It is one of those books where you don’t want to wait for the next instalment. After you put it down the world feels quite washed out and dull. That’s the power of reading for me.

Sue Davies

July 2018

(pub: Gollancz. 414 page hardback. Price: £14.99 (UK only). ISBN: 978-1-473-22208-3)

check out websites: www.gollancz.co.uk and www.orionbooks.co.uk

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