Title: The Merciful Crow
Author: Margaret Owen
Series: The Merciful Crow #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication date: July 30th, 2019
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?
“The thought rolled round her head like a tooth in her hand. It wasn’t that she wanted to burn the world down, no. She just wanted to world to know that she could.”
Oh my God, this book was freaking amazing. The Merciful Crow was one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I desperately wanted to read it as soon as I could, because the premise sounded absolutely fantastic and like something that would blow my mind completely, and after finishing it I have to say that I was so right. Of course, there were some minor issues that I had throughout the story, but overall it was such a great first book in a series.
One of the problems that I had with The Merciful Crow was that it took me so long to get into the story. I don’t know if my reading slump was to blame or not, but I had to put it down once because I wasn’t focused and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it if I kept reading it. So after a few days I picked it up, and again it took me a couple of chapters to understand everything that was going on with the castes and the society, but once I kept reading and had a fair view of the world I started to enjoy it more and more.
The world building was freaking fantastic. For a first book in a series we got such a great picture of the society and the culture, and how everything worked, along getting to know different places that I was so blown away. I really enjoyed the magic system and the part it took in the novel, and I hope in the sequel we’ll know more about it, because though it wasn’t unique, I loved how the author portrayed witchcraft and the magic in the story. I also appreciated a lot the little glossary at the very beginning of the book that told us the different birthrights and their abilities.
“She glanced to Pa. He was beating down a smile once more. He’d made his point loud and plain: the prince had his teeth and his pet Hawk, but the Crows still had his teeth.”
The characters were amazing. Fie was such a strong minded protagonist, and had an incredible development throughout the story. I really enjoyed her personality and the different interactions she had with the rest of the characters. There were some tropes regarding the romance and the alliances that I’m a sucker for, so I was so happy to see them appear in the novel, but overall I think Fie was a very interesting and flawed main character that contributed a lot to make that story unique.
Like I mentioned before, the romance was right up my alley. I love me a good enemies to lovers trope, and though I feel that this particular relationship was a bit fast paced, I still really enjoyed the dynamics between those two characters. I also adored the hate-to-friends relationship between Fie and Jasimir, and how the two of them overcame everything to help the other, and I’m very interested to see how those two things will play in the sequel.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with this book. Though I found it quite a slow paced kind of story and it took me longer than I anticipated to get into it, there were a lot of action packed scenes and twists and turns that kept me at the edge of my seat throughout the entire novel, and a cast of characters that were incredibly complex and real and were so easy to empathize with.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
“They didn’t understand that there were rules. That the plague cared naught for silks or jewels. That it left when the Crows said it could.”
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