Review: Ravencry (Raven’s Mark #2) by Ed McDonald

Rating: ★★★★☆-

Synopsis

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.

RAVENCRY is the second book in the Raven’s Mark series, continuing the story that began with the award winning epic fantasy BLACKWING.

Review

Thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of Ravencry (Raven’s Mark #2) in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this reading copy did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

So, just going to go ahead and put this out there. Since Ravencry has been out for over a year, and I have already read through it in its entirety once, I decided to go the audiobook route this time around, and Colin Mace did not disappoint. Having said that, Ravencry did not quite live up to the hype I had associated with it after such an amazing romp through Blackwing.

The reason I could not bring myself to review it the first go around is because stress was at an all-time high and I was in a pretty bad reading/reviewing slump. Not to make excuses, but it is hard to express your true opinions on something when your heart just isn’t in it. I did not want to put out a fake review, glorifying or damning the work, so I instead chose to give it a 3-star rating and leave it be. Still probably a pretty sh*tty thing to do, and I apologize to Ed and ACE for leaving it out to dry for so long.

Alright. Whiny rant/excuse blah blah blah over.

Ravencry is the sequel to one of my favorite novels of 2017, Blackwing, and was one of the books I most looked forward to as mid-2018 approached. McDonald’s prose alone is reason enough to dive into this series, much like that of Anna Smith Spark and her Empires of Dust trilogy. It is rich and gritty, full of bone meal and like razorwire in a glass of red wine. His ability to paint a beautifully harrowing world, fraught with dangers at every turn and some of the most original terrors I’ve ever seen, is what keeps me coming back for more.

Having said that, Ravencry did feel very much like a 2nd book in a series. While some of the things that made Blackwing hella good were still at the forefront of Ravencry, it did leave me looking toward the finale rather than relishing this as a triumph. I don’t believe it did enough to top its predecessor, though by no means does that mean it is a bad book. The beginning sank into me like a hook, but I was able to pull the hook out by around 30% and sorta coasted until the last 1/4 or so of the novel. Galharrow is still a magnificent character and has a fantastic supporting cast around him, so I expect Crowfall will bring us back the glory started in Book 1.

All in all, if you read and enjoyed Blackwing, there is no reason you shouldn’t pick up Ravencry. If you haven’t had a chance to start Book 1, I highly suggest you do. It is a definite triump in the world of grimdark.

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