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  • Writer's pictureBrandie June

The Merciful Crow - Book Review

Crows seem to have a special place in the wonderful world of YA fantasy. Off the top of my head, you have Leigh Bardugo’s Six Of Crows and An Enchantment Of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. (Ravens are like crows, right?) Get into older work, and you can find crows prevalent in Tamora Pierce’s books. And I’m sure I’m forgetting plenty. I think they are on to something. Crows are often viewed as lowly, scavenger birds. Like crows, these characters are at severe disadvantages in society, but they can also be smart and cunning, taking advantage of preconceived notions about them. And that was a beautifully executed theme in my most recent read, The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen.

Here’s the GoodReads description:

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

I devoured this book. The constant action and developing relationships kept me wondering what would come next and how the main characters could possibly survive in such a brutal world. Margaret Owen did a beautiful job showing the problems with a huge divide between higher and lower class citizens with enough action that it didn’t feel preachy. Plus, the world-build was incredibly interesting, with each different class relating to a type of bird. I viscerally felt myself in the world, and have to admit that I miss it now that I’ve finished the book. Thankfully, the next book in the series, The Faithless Hawk, is scheduled to come out next year. Let’s just see if I can wait that long…

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