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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 a 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.


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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 a 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.

30 review for Ravencry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Sometimes you just have to give a book a second chance. I read Ravencry back in July and I just didn’t get on with it. And it surprised me because I loved the first book. Maybe I was just in a bad mood or maybe I was dealing with a book hangover. Either way, I read it again and I loved it. Blackwing was full of dynamic characters with so much potential, but above them all stood an extremely tall dark wizard (or fixer) that was one of the most intriguing things about the book: Saravor. What’s his Sometimes you just have to give a book a second chance. I read Ravencry back in July and I just didn’t get on with it. And it surprised me because I loved the first book. Maybe I was just in a bad mood or maybe I was dealing with a book hangover. Either way, I read it again and I loved it. Blackwing was full of dynamic characters with so much potential, but above them all stood an extremely tall dark wizard (or fixer) that was one of the most intriguing things about the book: Saravor. What’s his story? What exactly does he want? He clearly craved power, undying power, and here he reaches his hand and grasps for it. I was glad to see it happen because all through Blackwing I knew we would be seeing much more of him. For a returning reader it’s obvious he was attempting something, though for Galharrow it’s not quite so clear. Indeed, this world is full of traitors, dark powers, religious fanatics and rivalling gods that battle for control (or balance) over all life. So, it took him a while to figure it all out and, when he did, he realised just how far his terrible foe had spread his web of manipulation and control. It’s a very clever plot, and I found myself quite surprised on several occasions. It’s anything but linear. And that’s what I like about this series, I’m not quite sure where it’s going because the enemy attacks are unpredictable and ruthless. They will do anything to win. Saravor was a third party, a force that acted between the Nameless (the good gods) and the Deep Kings (the evil gods.) He wanted his own chance to join them, and part of me wanted him to succeed just so I could see what he would do with his new-found powers. And that says a lot, for a villain that is rarely present in the flesh he certainly has a lot of presence within the story. I’m quite excited for Crowfall, the third and final instalment of this series. I’m not quite sure how this will all end, and the plot is quite wrapped up here. And if I'm honest, I don't think this feels quite like a trilogy. I think that's what got me when I first read it. If anything, it feels like a much longer story. So it will be interesting to see how Crowfall handles all the elements. I don't think it will conclude everything, but leave itself open for more stories with perhaps different characters. And I'm excited by that prospect, I think there's much here that can be used again. Indeed, there were suggestions that the Drudge, the mindless minions of the Deep Kings, may have a sliver of humanity left in them. I found this quite intriguing, it would be great to see a little more of that. This idea, that a supposedly demonic enemy, is not entirely evil is something Peter Newman delivered to much surprise in The Seven and it really reversed the trilogy in on itself. It was a great idea. This could happen here, but, again, this is one of the few trilogies I've read that could go anywhere. So we shall see. Overall, this really is a solid piece of fantasy. The world is dark, gritty and brutal. The story is told with prose loaded with dark humour. And it goes to show, even in the most bleakest situations a sense of bitter irony can be found. Raven's Mark 1. Blackwing - 4.5 stars 2. Ravencry - 4 stars FBR | Twitter | Insta | Academia

  2. 5 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    There is a place in the Misery called 'Tiven's Dale' - what's not to love? I read this a while ago and really enjoyed it. I wasn't in the best frame of mind at the time so my review wouldn't have done it justice. I will go back and re-read it early next year to review it properly. That being said, it's not quite as brilliant as Blackwing but it's still got amazing characters, intense sequences, and a mysterious religious cult. The Misery is one of my favourite places that have been created in all There is a place in the Misery called 'Tiven's Dale' - what's not to love? I read this a while ago and really enjoyed it. I wasn't in the best frame of mind at the time so my review wouldn't have done it justice. I will go back and re-read it early next year to review it properly. That being said, it's not quite as brilliant as Blackwing but it's still got amazing characters, intense sequences, and a mysterious religious cult. The Misery is one of my favourite places that have been created in all fantasy. So dark and grotesque. Whatever happens, I'll read Crowfall as soon as I can.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Edward

    Ravencry is a dark and unique novel that continues from the fantastic Blackwing and thrusts the reader back into the horrific land of the Misery to face the horrors of the creatures and broken men. “Nothing makes you feel more powerless than failing a child.” It’s been four long and bleak years since the end of Blackwing and Ryhalt Galharrow is still his ferocious, cold self. There is still the looming threat of the Deep Kings returning, the Drudge and demonic creatures within the Misery returni Ravencry is a dark and unique novel that continues from the fantastic Blackwing and thrusts the reader back into the horrific land of the Misery to face the horrors of the creatures and broken men. “Nothing makes you feel more powerless than failing a child.” It’s been four long and bleak years since the end of Blackwing and Ryhalt Galharrow is still his ferocious, cold self. There is still the looming threat of the Deep Kings returning, the Drudge and demonic creatures within the Misery returning and destroying everything Ryhalt, Blackwing and the Nameless fought so hard for. There are relics of the Deep Kings that need protecting, spies of the Misery that need killing and the growing momentum of a cult that needs quelling. It’s all Ryhalt Galharrow’s job. If you’ve read Blackwing you’ll know Ed McDonald has a gripping and intense style to his writing, one that I find very enjoyable. It manages to hook you in and leave you always wanting more. If you haven’t read Blackwing then get to it quickly because you’re missing out. McDonald has a clear prose that is dark and honest as well as entertaining. I never once felt lost, there is description of appearances, senses, the landscape of the Misery and a well-rounded approach to writing the battle and duel sequences. “Somebody had to talk some sense into somebody, and the first somebody would be me, and the second had to be everybody.” The action within Ravencry is particularly strong with the realism and brutality of an Abercrombie book, and the experience of a HEMA practitioner. Cutlass fights, the thunder of matchlock arms firing, with the added fantastical element of magic called ‘phos’. The magic was written really well and I liked - as in Blackwing - how it was incorporated into the main storyline. Our POV cannot access phos which I feel suited Ryhalt, rather than the main character being a legendary fire-casting wizard. The world of Ravencry is an excellent one. It is crafted brilliantly, seeping with history and established characters. There is diversity in the settings and characters - I just wanted a map in the front! I loved how the world has changed in some details since the end of Blackwing, but also was surprised where some things really hadn’t changed - much like the story, it continually was able to surprise me. ‘“Who’s there?” “It’s me, darling.”’ The characters are written well, just in my opinion lacking the dynamics and intrigue as the first book. Ryhalt wasn’t able to bounce off of some characters as well as in Blackwing, and the regular passages dedicated to his inner-thoughts felt a little jarring, making the story feel a lot slower than Blackwing. Still, it was a great read and I look forward to finishing the trilogy with Crowfall. 4/5 - Not quite as superb as Blackwing, Ravencry builds from the foundations and allows us to dig even deeper into the original and fantastic world McDonald has created. Brutal action and a main character who has enough resilience and determination to defy the odds. I loved the growing tension of the cult and the creatures of the misery, though they didn’t play as major a role as I was hoping. Bring on Crowfall, looking forward to seeing where it takes Ryhalt!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hiu Gregg

    When I reviewed Blackwing last year, I noted that it was a novel that “did everything very well”. Blackwing was a great book, but I thought it stopped just short of excellent. It had solid characters, an engaging plot, an interesting setting… but I didn’t quite think it was top-drawer. Then came Ravencry. When I’d finished, the first words out of my mouth were “Now THAT’S a fucking sequel.” Too often I read the 2nd book in a trilogy and find myself a little disappointed. Maybe the magic of the first When I reviewed Blackwing last year, I noted that it was a novel that “did everything very well”. Blackwing was a great book, but I thought it stopped just short of excellent. It had solid characters, an engaging plot, an interesting setting… but I didn’t quite think it was top-drawer. Then came Ravencry. When I’d finished, the first words out of my mouth were “Now THAT’S a fucking sequel.” Too often I read the 2nd book in a trilogy and find myself a little disappointed. Maybe the magic of the first book isn’t there. Maybe it’s little more than a set-up for the third. Maybe it tries to be more introspective but the story falls a little flat. There are countless things that can go wrong with a sequel. I don’t think much went wrong here. Ravencry has everything you loved about Blackwing and more. It’s a grimdark book, but not typically so. The characters are violent and coarse, but decent. It’s a gritty, violent world, but this story has a heart to it. It has a soul. It has a voice. And it’s that voice that ties everything together. Both Blackwing and Ravencry are written in an incredibly distinct, engaging style. We experience the story from the perspective of Captain Ryhalt Galharrow, and it’s his thoughts and internal monologue that make the books what they are. Galharrow feels larger than the words on the page. He feels alive; angry and sorrowful and cynical. This is a character powerful enough to make you forget that you’re reading a book. Instead, you experience a story. But Galharrow isn’t the only character. A few familiar faces return, as well as a few that aren’t so familiar. The events of Blackwing have changed things, and McDonald isn’t afraid to explore that change. Ravencry doesn’t retread old ground, and it doesn’t try to be something completely different. Instead, it takes everything that was great about Blackwing and builds on it, making for an even better book. The plot is established from the first chapter, but with just enough mystery to grab at your curiosity. The pacing is on point. It begins with a jog, then builds up to an all-out sprint for the second half of the book. The setting is fascinating: a neon-lit city on the brink of dystopia, bordering a magical wasteland crawling with nightmares. Ravencry was everything that I wanted in a sequel. It continued the story of the previous book, was a fantastic story in its own right, and left me wondering how the hell the next book was going to top this. If Blackwing was great, then Ravencry is excellent.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Petros Triantafyllou

    A sequel to the critically acclaimed, award-winning Blackwing, Ravencry raises the bar even higher for modern fantasy. It's been three years since the Nameless unmade one of the Deep Kings and used his heart to re-activate Nall's Engine and obliterate every drudge in close proximity. Since then there's been an uneasy truce between the two sides, with the Deep Kings too afraid to send their Darlings close to Valengrad. But when a valuable artifact is stolen from Crowfoot's lair, Galharrow knows i A sequel to the critically acclaimed, award-winning Blackwing, Ravencry raises the bar even higher for modern fantasy. It's been three years since the Nameless unmade one of the Deep Kings and used his heart to re-activate Nall's Engine and obliterate every drudge in close proximity. Since then there's been an uneasy truce between the two sides, with the Deep Kings too afraid to send their Darlings close to Valengrad. But when a valuable artifact is stolen from Crowfoot's lair, Galharrow knows it's only a matter of time before the people of Valengrad are called to once again face impossible odds of survival. "'What do you make of all that?' 'It sounds very fucking bad', Maldon said. 'But then, you have to wonder just how much of this has been going on for the last thousand years, don't you? How often does one side or the other come up with something like the Heart of the Void?' 'Once was too often,' I said. 'The sky should never have been sundered.' I wondered how many of our people Crowfoot had destroyed when he unleashed his weapon and burned the Misery into being. Too many. Sometimes I wondered if he'd known how badly he would tear reality when he unleashed that power, but I always came to the same conclusion. It was better not to know." Every debut author has to pass quite a few tests before they become established, and the call to show that the success of their debut wasn't a one-time-thing might be the most important one. McDonald passed the test with flying colors, proving once and for all that's he's here to stay and become a household name sooner than later. In Ravencry, McDonald kept everything we loved from Blackwing, such as the gritty and grim setting, the morally grey yet highly likeable characters, the complex and in many places unpredictable events, and the general air of mystery surrounding all of the above, but he also introduced new elements, plot devices and machinations, keeping the story familiar yet fresh and alluring. When I first read Blackwing I was so impressed that I didn't even write a review. I simply called it perfect in every possible way, and the same applies for Ravencry. Everything begins and ends with McDonald's unique storytelling abilities, but it's what's in-between that makes the difference, such as the proficient and smooth prose, the perfectly balanced pace and the beautiful imagery, all of them coming together to create a perfect page-turner. All in all, Ravencry is the perfect sequel and a book every fantasy author would aspire to write.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    5 oh-I-seriously-loved-this stars Where to start with this one??? Well, I didn't know what to expect from Ravencry. Often in fantasy series, there's a clear overarching pattern, an obvious direction that allows the reader to guess, at least in part, where the author will be taking it. Things were so wrapped up in Blackwing, that it could almost have been a standalone, so other than the ongoing war between the Deep Kings and the Nameless and the tantalising suggestion of a 'ghost' within the light 5 oh-I-seriously-loved-this stars Where to start with this one??? Well, I didn't know what to expect from Ravencry. Often in fantasy series, there's a clear overarching pattern, an obvious direction that allows the reader to guess, at least in part, where the author will be taking it. Things were so wrapped up in Blackwing, that it could almost have been a standalone, so other than the ongoing war between the Deep Kings and the Nameless and the tantalising suggestion of a 'ghost' within the light, there wasn't any specific route I could identify. Now this might or might not work for you, but I found it thrilling to have the future wide open, knowing that I would be facing whatever comes with Galharrow and his strange crew was more than enough. Set four years after the Siege, things open with relative calm. I mean, Galharrow nearly gets killed within the first 5 minutes, but otherwise Valengrad seems to be pretty much back together and so does our main character. He even has his own office and manor house. Not quite cream, of course, but doing well for himself. This settled beginning threw me, but in a good way- I didn't expect the distance, nor the role of Galharrow as important part of the state apparatus. Looking back it was essential as a period of calm before the sh*tstorm, the steady start of a book which had some seriously violent threat escalation page by page. There's a whole hell of a lot more bloody action in this offering. And, of course, the Bright Lady in the light was a clue for this second book after all, allowing zealous religion to join political machinations and the intensifying peril from the Deep Kings to underscore the plot. The overarching narrative was one of metamorphosis and of journey, and I don't mean that as a simple movement from place to place, though there was a bit of that too- believe me, if you liked the flashes of the Misery in the last book, you're going to LOVE this one. Galharrow is changed, both physically and mentally, by his experiences throughout the novel and you are with him every instant. At first glance, he appears to be a simple man, and he seems to imagine himself this way too, with his sorrows drowned in alcohol and his ever-present inked debt to Crowfoot, yet as as he is challenged and his essential character explored, his apparent unlikeable nature conflicts with a deeper personal morality and obligation he feels to those around him. McDonald does this exceptionally well, there's a real sense of rebirth during Galharrow's time in the Misery, it's spiritual and practically psychedelic, an incredible description of madness in a place, with its lethal creatures and ghost-ridden landscape, both supremely real and unreal at once. There's no resorting to easy morality or simple choices here. This is a dangerous world, where decisions have to be whatever ones that keep you alive. Necessity rules. And yet, like Blackwing, Ravencry avoids being straight grim by allowing hope and love to hold their place within the darkness. It's this that allows the tragedy to be more keenly felt, for the broken expectation of better days is a knife to the heart. This is top quality fantasy, assured and inventive in equal measure, with the kind of pacing that feels like a surging tsunami- an unstoppable maelstrom building to impossible heights before crashing down in a fury of destruction. I have no doubt this will be one of my best reads of the year.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Charlie - A Reading Machine

    Blackwing was one of the most exceptional debuts of 2017 and an amazing example of how grimdark can be a beautiful thing when done in a certain style. We met Galharrow and his band of brothers, watched birds claw their way our of his forearm to deliver instructions from an entity with far greater worries on his mind than these ridiculously messy humans and experienced a truly great finale in his war against the OP invaders. Ravencry continues the part of the story that really begins with Ezabeths Blackwing was one of the most exceptional debuts of 2017 and an amazing example of how grimdark can be a beautiful thing when done in a certain style. We met Galharrow and his band of brothers, watched birds claw their way our of his forearm to deliver instructions from an entity with far greater worries on his mind than these ridiculously messy humans and experienced a truly great finale in his war against the OP invaders. Ravencry continues the part of the story that really begins with Ezabeths sacrifice at the end of Blackwing. Having given herself to the light she once commanded she has become something of a legend and as if to confirm her exalted status she has a growing number of faithful acolytes and has started being witnessed in sightings and divine visions. Obviously this is a struggle for our protagonist and he must deal with this conflict within himself and his city whilst also containing the force that is the big bad whose own servants have nicked something from Crowfoot. It’s not quite end of the world stuff and for me this was very much a book of two halves. I didn’t get that sense of ‘it’s great to be back’ in the opening chapters. The side characters that I liked from Blackwing popped up but no longer seemed to have any impact on Ryhalt and the whole thing was lacking a sense of threat. It just sort of plodded along and in all honesty I almost stopped reading it. Then the second half began and I could not put it down. The threads came together, the urgency and pace increased, the characters woke up and actually started doing things and the world building began to sparkle as it did in its predecessor. I’m frustrated the first 200 or so pages were so slow because I’m sure there will be readers who don’t stick it out to see the finale which would be a huge shame. I enjoyed Ravencry but it was Blackwing’s brilliance that kept me reading during the slow parts. Thankfully it has a compelling and engaging final act that will definitely have me coming back for more but perhaps not with quite the same breathless anticipation I approached this one with. Shoutout to Dan Smith (@bionicgraphics). who is doing the UK cover in particular. They are beautiful and striking and leap off the shelf the same way the bird should claw it's way out of Galharrow's arm. 7/10 Thank you to AceRoc Books for the early copy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Faith is a powerful motivator. When the chips are down, belief in an uncertainty can serve as sufficient inspiration to rise to a task of near-impossibility. Faith might stem from a fervent adherence to religious beliefs, or devotion to a sovereign figure, or even from love itself. Ed Donald’s Ravencry explores these themes of faith and religion, as well as the dangers of interpreting and channeling the power they can provide. Four years have passed since the events of Blackwing: Captain Ryhalt G Faith is a powerful motivator. When the chips are down, belief in an uncertainty can serve as sufficient inspiration to rise to a task of near-impossibility. Faith might stem from a fervent adherence to religious beliefs, or devotion to a sovereign figure, or even from love itself. Ed Donald’s Ravencry explores these themes of faith and religion, as well as the dangers of interpreting and channeling the power they can provide. Four years have passed since the events of Blackwing: Captain Ryhalt Galharrow has grown his business, increased his staff, and was gifted a large home by the city as thanks for the previous book’s events. The Deep Kings have been quiet, and the Range has not had to defend itself from any threat of drudge shambling out of the Misery. On the surface, life has improved, but Galharrow is still devastated and haunted by the loss of a loved one. He won’t return affections to a colleague, even though the mutual attraction is there. He hardly ever goes home, and prefers to drown himself in work and alcohol to avoid being along with his thoughts. Visions of his lost companion are getting stronger. And through it all, some strange occurrences begin to happen around the city: other citizens are beginning to have familiar visions inside the phos light. A man that Galharrow has killed shows up alive several weeks later. And worst of all, an item of terrible power has been stolen, and clues of the culprit lead back to a malignant figure in Galharrow’s past who is on the cusp of ascension into unspeakable evil. As more visions and prophecies begin to cloud the minds of the city, a cult of yellow-hooded believers begins to threaten the hierarchy of the ruling class. As the city begins to descend into chaos and destruction, Ryhalt is forced to investigate how these events are connected, as well as how far his faith will carry him. One of the more interesting threads that’s woven throughout the story is how far Ryhalt is physically and mentally tested during his investigations. Each test Ryhalt faces leans on a different aspect of Ryhalt’s abilities: he’s pushed to his absolute limit in terms of physical abuse, exhaustion, sanity, and self-sacrifice. He has always believed that the people around him are more important than his own life, so he pushes himself as far as possible with barely a moment’s thought for self-preservation. One might think that his disregard for his own life might be due to his crippling depression, but over time, Ryhalt’s reasoning morphs into something that resembles faith in something better, a belief in something more powerful than anything else the city has shown him. The audience is once again privy to Ryhalt’s inner monologue, so his journey can be difficult to endure at times. But the ultimate payoff is extraordinary. Although this review has focused mostly on the ideas of faith and beliefs, let me be clear: there’s also a dizzying amount of violence, excitement, tragedy, and dark humor liberally spread across the back half of the story. Once the halfway point is reached, the pace quickens and the stakes heighten to a point where it was difficult to find a good place to stop, so I powered through it all in one long and nerve-wracking reading session. My only real complaint is that it took half a book to get to this point. There were a lot of pieces necessary to set the table for this story, but there was also a lack of tension or drive to move forward in the beginning chapters. At times, the story felt like it was meandering a bit, and it took a while for events to feel like they carried real narrative weight. All of that was quickly dealt with as the halfway mark neared, but it’s due to a slow opening that I didn’t give this book a higher mark. Still, Ravencry is an exceptional middle book of a trilogy: it tells an engaging story that stands on its own two legs. It does an excellent job of incorporating major events that happened in the previous book without leaning too hard on them. It could even serve as an entry point to the series, though I wouldn’t recommend it. In Ravencry, McDonald has crafted a desolate world brimming with creativity and dark fantasy that tests the boundaries of faith and belief. Picking up the mantle of Captain Ryhalt Galhorrow was once again a thrilling and emotional ride, and while the wait for the conclusion of the trilogy will be an arduous one, I have full confidence in McDonald’s writing that he’s saving the best for last. Thanks to Orion Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 8.5 / 10

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    "Ravencry" is the second book in a grim dark fantasy series featuring Ryhalt Galharrow, a Blackwing captain, and picks up about four years after the end of "Blackwing". Although "Blackwing" is recapped at the beginning of this book, I recommend reading the books in order. My favorite part of these books is the world building. The war between the Nameless and the Deep Kings continues. Each side is assisted by its own brand of sorcerer. The factions are separated (most of the time) by a desolate t "Ravencry" is the second book in a grim dark fantasy series featuring Ryhalt Galharrow, a Blackwing captain, and picks up about four years after the end of "Blackwing". Although "Blackwing" is recapped at the beginning of this book, I recommend reading the books in order. My favorite part of these books is the world building. The war between the Nameless and the Deep Kings continues. Each side is assisted by its own brand of sorcerer. The factions are separated (most of the time) by a desolate territory called the Misery that is full of dangerous creatures, magical objects and death. Galharrow is bound to one of the Nameless, who summons him in a unique and painful way. He spends most of his time in the city of Valengrad, which in this book is under bombardment by the Deep Kings, overrun by fanatics and being manipulated by an ambitious and power-hungry being. I also like the characters in these books, they are resourceful and colorful, but not invincible. The books have a very high body count, so the survival of favorite characters is not guaranteed. What I don't like about the books is that they start well and then get slow and a little boring before picking up the action again at the end. Each book ends with an exciting battle and there isn't a cliffhanger. I will definitely continue with the series. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Eames

    Another excellent entry in this series. As good or better than the first (though the first has a very, very shocking ending that's hard to rival!). Very much looking forward to the final instalment when I finally find time to tackle it. Another excellent entry in this series. As good or better than the first (though the first has a very, very shocking ending that's hard to rival!). Very much looking forward to the final instalment when I finally find time to tackle it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nick Borrelli

    Click here for full review: http://outofthisworldrev.blogspot.com... When I first read Ed McDonald's debut novel Blackwing back in the Fall of 2017, I remember distinctly thinking to myself that it was going to absolutely detonate onto the Fantasy landscape with a thunderous explosion. As a reviewer, It's always neat to read a book by a new author and just know instinctively that it will leave a huge mark with the rest of the book-buying public before too long. The book had so many elements that m Click here for full review: http://outofthisworldrev.blogspot.com... When I first read Ed McDonald's debut novel Blackwing back in the Fall of 2017, I remember distinctly thinking to myself that it was going to absolutely detonate onto the Fantasy landscape with a thunderous explosion. As a reviewer, It's always neat to read a book by a new author and just know instinctively that it will leave a huge mark with the rest of the book-buying public before too long. The book had so many elements that made it a blockbuster waiting to happen. The setting was intensely dark, the history was rich and complex, and the characters had personalities that jumped off the page and made you feel the widest range of emotions imaginable. Add to that the fact that Ed's writing is so vivid and moving, and you had the makings of one of the best Fantasy books and series to come along in quite some time. The most accurate quote regarding Blackwing that I've ever read comes from one of my favorite Fantasy authors Anthony Ryan. Ryan said about Blackwing, "Upon starting Blackwing, it quickly gained the rare distinction of being one of those books that felt as if it had been written especially for me." Not only is that incredibly high praise from a very accomplished author in the industry, it is also exactly the way that I felt when I read it last year. So when I discovered that book two of the Raven's Mark series RAVENCRY was being offered as an advance reading copy by the publisher Ace, I immediately put in a request. I just had to know how the story continued after that phenomenal first book. After a long month and what seemed like an eternity, I opened my email to find out that I had been approved to receive a copy and I practically jumped out of my shoes I was so elated. I wondered if Ed could match the brilliance of Blackwing or even somehow surpass it. It just so happens that my receiving a review copy also coincided with our family vacation to South Carolina, so I was more than a little excited that RAVENCRY would be accompanying me on the beach for a solid week of reading and relaxation. Just a quick warning to those who haven't read the first book, there may be some spoilers ahead in my review, so please keep that in mind should you choose to continue reading. And now without further delay, on to RAVENCRY... RAVENCRY begins about three years following the aftermath of the catastrophic events of book one. The Blackwing are in a state of flux, their master and one of the Nameless, Crowfoot now fighting the Deep Kings on another plane of existence and Captain Ryhalt Galharrow left beaten both physically and mentally by the brutal encounters with the Darlings and Drudge in the previous book. Ryhalt is admittedly grayer and more battle-scarred in this installment. He is also absolutely haunted by the loss of his beloved Ezabeth, who fell during the chaos that erupted along the Misery years earlier. To say that he is still struggling mightily with that loss is an understatement and it definitely comes through in his demeanor and actions throughout the story. Valengrad is a shambles and is being torn apart at the seems by continuing instability and political infighting. Making things worse is a cult calling itself The Order of the Bright Lady has also taken root in the city, only serving to further destabilize the area. The Bright Lady being a mysterious figure who her followers say has come to save those who remain following the previous carnage. The identity of The Bright Lady and the reasons why she has garnered such a following in such a short amount of time are very much a mystery. With this as a backdrop, Ryhalt Galharrow is sent a message from Crowfoot through his raven telling him that Crowfoot's lair has somehow been breached and something of vital importance may have been taken from it. Ryhalt's worse fears are confirmed when upon arriving at the lair he discovers that Crowfoot's powerful wards have all been destroyed and dozens of guards slaughtered in an apparent theft. Ryhalt knows instantly that whoever did this had to be a sorcerer or being of immense and incalculable power and the thought that someone or something could even do this is unthinkable. It is discovered that the artifact that was taken was something that if in the wrong hands, could make the holder of it almost immortal and impervious to any harm. Ryhalt has his suspicions of who the culprit may be and knows that he must find them soon and reclaim the artifact before it can be put to the worst of uses. In addition to this he must also find a way to deal with the constant bombing of Valengrad originating from the Misery that is killing people by the hundreds every night. There is a feeling deep in the pit of the Blackwing Captain's stomach that the Deep Kings and the Empire are amassing at the border for one final assault that could spell the end for Valengrad, and every soul living within it. Can the Blackwing avert this disaster and will Ryhalt be able to find whoever stole Crowfoot's artifact before disaster strike? What part does the Bright Lady play in all of this? The answers to these questions await you in this pivotal second book of The Raven's Mark. My first thought when I finished the last page of RAVENCRY was how in the world was I going to write a review that would even come close to doing it justice? No matter what I come up with, this book needs to be experienced not simply described. But since I am a book reviewer, I will do my best with the words that I have available. To say that RAVENCRY is a triumph would be to do it an injustice. As fantastic as Blackwing was, this book only serves to double down on the emotion, the misery, and the tortured characters who you live and die with at every turn of the page. Ed McDonald has done something that very few writers can do in that he has crafted a second book that is even better than the first. No small feat when you consider the high standard that was set with his debut offering. Where Blackwing was a masterful piano concerto, RAVENCRY is a blistering symphony replete with violent eruptions of woodwind, string, and timpani. McDonald makes you feel the impact of every bomb hitting the city of Valengrad, sympathize with the plight of every character, root for the heroes as they do everything in their power to thwart the evil that awaits them beyond the Misery. This book has zero wasted words, every scene is important to what happens next and quite often it is something that jars you to tears and assaults your senses. RAVENCRY will leave you physically and emotionally exhausted when done but at the same time glad that you decided to take the entire journey from beginning to end. And just like George RR Martin, Ed McDonald can't help but have you fall in love with the characters and get emotionally invested, only to see them tested in the most violent and torturous of ways. It truly is an art that few authors can pull off in such an economy of page count. If you enjoy deep Fantasy writing that matters, please pick up RAVENCRY. The book will be officially available for purchase in the U.S. on August 21st. I would recommend reading book one Blackwing before starting this book however. The background gained from the first is essential in experiencing the full impact of the events that occur in book two. Thank you Ed McDonald for giving us such an incredible world to live in for a while. Can't wait to see what comes next!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mike Everest Evans

    The Good: Compelling characters (and creatures!), plot twists aplenty, and a return to one of the most nightmarish landscapes in fantasy, this time cranked up on the creep-out factor. The Bad: After a strong start, I personally felt that the foot came off the gas pedal while some of the investigative meandering got underway, but once that was done and dusted, it certainly picked up again. The Ugly Truth: No sane person would ever go into the Misery without good reason, let alone go back again, but The Good: Compelling characters (and creatures!), plot twists aplenty, and a return to one of the most nightmarish landscapes in fantasy, this time cranked up on the creep-out factor. The Bad: After a strong start, I personally felt that the foot came off the gas pedal while some of the investigative meandering got underway, but once that was done and dusted, it certainly picked up again. The Ugly Truth: No sane person would ever go into the Misery without good reason, let alone go back again, but Ravencry is a warm welcome back to the nightmarish dystopia from Ed McDonald. Ryhalt Galharrow – fantasy’s answer to Luther – returns with a bang and a crash, and it is his strengths but more importantly his weaknesses that make this story of human perseverance against inhuman forces all the more enthralling. The Full Review: Ravencry is the second book in Ed McDonald’s Raven’s Mark series, published by Gollancz in the UK, and Ace in the US (with a number of rights sales in other countries). Ravencry picks up a few years after the events of Blackwing. The city of Valengrad has moved on, recovered the best it can, assured of their safety thanks to the power of Nall’s engine. Ryhalt Galharrow, Blackwing Captain, knows the truth, but he is haunted by more than just secrets. Having lost someone near and dear, gone but certainly not forgotten, he continues to fight the good fight against defectors, the Drudge, and all others loyal to the dreaded Deep Kings, as well as the monstrosities of the Misery. But when a new threat strikes at the heart of Valengrad, and a ‘saviour’ strikes at Galharrow’s heart, its down to Blackwing to confront both of them. I was a big fan of Blackwing, and I am a big fan of Ravencry, though I will say it was a little different than I expected. That’s not a bad thing, but it did leave me thinking ‘is the entire book going to be like this?’ The main reason I felt like this was because some of the investigation work at the start felt a bit meandering to me, but like any good detective-type set-up, the little leads are the clues to the conspiracy, and the pay-off was well worth the pursuit. And at the end, all the loose ends were tied up, though there was enough rope left dangling within reach ready to climb into book 3. Which leads me nicely to the detective himself: Ryhalt Galharrow. Galharrow is your more-than-meets-the-eye gruff ruffian. He’s a brute with a heart of gold beneath the grime. The DCI Luther of fantasyland’s grimdark fairytale. In this outing, Galharrow does wallow in his own self-pity a touch, which combined with the meandering I mentioned earlier wasn’t as enjoyable for me, but once things got underway, and Galharrow kicked into fight-or-flight mode, he came out swinging. Galharrow is one of those rare characters that runs the full gambit of human emotion, growth, strengths and weaknesses (shout out to another favourite of mine in this field: Girton Clubfoot from RJ Barker’s Wounded Kingdom books aka Assassin books). Which is why, on the note of getting underway, this is a 5-star read for me. It was hovering at 4-stars for the first two-thirds, but once it got to act 3 (I’ve just checked: page 257 of 414, so yeah, near-as-damn-it thirds it is!) out came the big guns blasting their way to 5-star. From then on it was Galharrow at his best – and WORST – doing anything and everything to survive. And I mean everything. Other characters are equally as strong in their presence. Maldon is a big favourite for me, as is Nenn. I won’t go into detail for fear of spoilers, but the cast is a fully-fleshed out who’s-who ready to get stripped back to their bones by the baddies. The worldbuilding remains strong with this one, and after the brief outings into the Misery in Blackwing, I was thrilled to be back in the dystopian lithium-fuelled nuclear wastes of nightmare. Valengrad too is a welcome return, and the developments to society following the events of Blackwing are a nice touch that add to the world as well as the plot. McDonald too has grown as a writer in Ravencry. He is able to cram huge amounts of information into a few lines, an enviable skill, and his ideas continue to come thick and fast on the page. Not to labour the point, but the ending scenes in the third act were a rollercoaster ride of ‘this is a bad idea, but it might work!’ Another thing to note was the big nod to the Blitz during the Second World War. I won’t go into this for fear of spoilers, but I haven’t read a fantasy book with anything like this in it before. The Raven’s Mark series is grim. It is dark. But I wouldn’t necessarily tag it with the gloom and doom of ‘Grimdark’. There’s a lot of hope and heart in the books, and this is where Ravencry really shines. Ravencry is a story of human perseverance, and when you take out the dystopian elements and the overall ‘bad’ world (in which the main character has to clean up the mess that’s been made) it’s a love story at its core. In closing, if you like characters who are damned if they do and damned if they don’t, with a hefty dose of dystopian worldbuilding and devilish creatures, this is a cracker of a series, and Ravencry is one of those rare books that beats the ‘difficult second book’ syndrome. For me, Ravencry was a different beast to Blackwing, and I am excited to see whether Crowfall goes back to its roots or heads off in a new direction entirely.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mili

    Enjoyed Ravencry which is the sequel to Blackwing. There were parts that were neat and gritty with a western ish feel to it all. I love the Misery and its dark twisted magic that fouls the air. It continues with one POV as in book one. Galharrow is the MC and I like him as a character, flawed in many ways. Doing his duty in this grim world with fading hope. The atmosphere comes over quite well through his thoughts, views and interactions. This sequel didn't spark as much interest as Blackwing di Enjoyed Ravencry which is the sequel to Blackwing. There were parts that were neat and gritty with a western ish feel to it all. I love the Misery and its dark twisted magic that fouls the air. It continues with one POV as in book one. Galharrow is the MC and I like him as a character, flawed in many ways. Doing his duty in this grim world with fading hope. The atmosphere comes over quite well through his thoughts, views and interactions. This sequel didn't spark as much interest as Blackwing did and also fell more flat. Some dialogues were too simplistic/ static and repetitive. I am still curious for the last installment! This wasn't a bad book at all. But there were too many parts that I didn't click with on a personal level.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)

    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I have such a good time with this book! After reading and enjoying Blackwing, I wanted to continue with the series before letting too much time elapse. After listening to a sample of the audiobook, I decided to go that route. I was enjoying myself but somewhere around the midpoint of the book, I admitted to myself that some of the details of the story were getting past me. I continued with the book but decided that I was going to hav This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books. I have such a good time with this book! After reading and enjoying Blackwing, I wanted to continue with the series before letting too much time elapse. After listening to a sample of the audiobook, I decided to go that route. I was enjoying myself but somewhere around the midpoint of the book, I admitted to myself that some of the details of the story were getting past me. I continued with the book but decided that I was going to have to listen to it a second time because I didn't want to miss anything. So I did. Yes, I started this audiobook over again at the beginning just as soon as I finished it. I did pick up on quite a few things that I missed the first time around on my second listen and found that I really enjoyed the story a whole lot more so it was a good decision. I guess you could say that I liked this book since I liked it enough to listen to it twice! This book is set about 4 years after the events of the first book. Ryhalt is still the leader of Blackwing and is working with his group. He knows things that would be dangerous if others found out but he knows how to keep things to himself when necessary. This book jumps right into the action with Ryhalt leaving a meeting in a rather unconventional manner just to stay alive. When he sees a man that he is sure he recently killed, he knows that something is going on. Plus there is the small matter of an important and powerful item that goes missing. I knew that Ryhalt had his work cut out for him. This book was just as dark and bloody as I expected it to be after reading the previous installment. The story is set in a cruel world where things can and often do go wrong. Things are rather desperate at times and I was more than a little worried about the safety of all of the key characters. I loved the way that the reader has a chance to really get to know these characters better in this installment. A lot of the book is centered solely on Ryhalt and I felt that his actions showed exactly what kind of man he is. I thought that a couple of other characters important in his life were wonderfully developed so that they had a bigger impact on the overall story. Colin Mace was the perfect narrator for this book. If you had asked me what Ryhalt Garharrow sounded like after reading the first book, I couldn't have come up with anything that fits better than this narrator. I think that he really was able to bring this story to life. His reading added excitement, desperation, hope, and uncertainty of the story when appropriate. I believe that his narration added to my overall enjoyment of the story and I plan to listen to more of his work. I would highly recommend this story to others. It is a gritty fantasy that is well crafted and entertaining. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series! I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley and I purchased a copy of the audiobook. Initial Thoughts This is probably a 4.5 read but I am rounding up for now. I decided to listen to the audiobook for this one and thought that the narration really made the story even more impressive. This was very well done. I actually listened to the book twice back to back just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. This was a dark story and at times it felt hopeless but I was always impressed by the quality of the storytelling. I can't wait to get started on the next book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    I have absolutely no idea of what will happen in this book. I hope my favs don’t die. I loved that the covers combine! 🤩🤩

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mogsy (MMOGC)

    3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/10/06/... Don’t know why, but lately it feels like I’ve been striking out a lot with hyped books. My latest disappointment: Ravencry by Ed McDonald. The praise I’ve been seeing for it has been damn near universal. Most reviews I saw also lauded it for being even better than the first book. However, this is probably the area where my opinion differs. While Ravencry was a good read, I don’t really believe it lived up to the standards s 3 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/10/06/... Don’t know why, but lately it feels like I’ve been striking out a lot with hyped books. My latest disappointment: Ravencry by Ed McDonald. The praise I’ve been seeing for it has been damn near universal. Most reviews I saw also lauded it for being even better than the first book. However, this is probably the area where my opinion differs. While Ravencry was a good read, I don’t really believe it lived up to the standards set by its predecessor. In fact, the strength of the first book—and to some degree, my feelings that I owed it to my enjoyment of Blackwing to see this one through—was one of the few things that kept me reading even when the drive to continue was low. As a sequel, I think Ravencry sought to do all the right things, including an attempt to build upon everything that made the previous novel so great. A few years have passed since we last saw Captain Ryhalt Galharrow at the end of Blackwing, but peace continues to elude our unhappy protagonist. The events that took place in the conclusion of the first book have left him damaged and grieving, though he makes a valiant effort to push on through the dark times and get over his loss. But in the heart of the city, a cult known as The Order of the Bright Lady has emerged and taken root. Their goddess is supposedly a savior come to offer salvation to those who survived the horrible carnage. More and more, she is appearing in what her acolytes are calling divine visions, growing the order’s influence. The situation worsens as Galharrow is unexpectedly called upon by his patron, Crowfoot, to investigate a powerful artifact stolen from the Nameless’ vault. Now the captain and his fellow mercenary Blackwings must get to the bottom of this theft, a mission that will require them to venture deep into the Misery, the expansive wasteland of corrupted magic where all your worst memories and nightmares come to life. I hate to say it, because to its credit, Ravencry features many of the same elements and follows many of the same patterns as Blackwing. The problem was that it was much too slow. That said, I did enjoy the introduction. We had a fantastic opening, which refamiliarized us with Galharrow, who hasn’t really changed much since we last saw him, though now carries the extra burden of mourning for someone close he lost. I thoroughly enjoyed the book through the scene at the opera, the awkward moment where our protagonist witnesses a weak and sickly bird burst through the tattoo on his arm to bring him a dire message while trying to hide in a public restroom (which I actually found darkly funny), and then the subsequent rush to inspect the breached vault. But then we run smack into a brick wall in terms of pacing. One problem was that there was so much exposition and dialogue, a lot of centered on established character and world-building points I already knew. Pages would go by where I felt little to no progress would be made on the overarching plot. Fresh elements were on the whole few and far between, while old ideas were retreaded. I just didn’t feel as galvanized or enthusiastic about the premise this time around. In some ways, I think McDonald tried to catch lightning in a bottle twice by sticking close to the playbook and with what has worked before, but I can’t help but think it might have backfired. The good news though, is that if you enjoyed Blackwing, there is little reason why you shouldn’t enjoy Ravencry as well, since the two books are so similar in vein. I also don’t want to sound too negative, because this was certainly not a bad book, and I do wish to stress that. However, as someone who reads a huge volume of books each year, with sequels making up a large bulk of that, I know what works and what doesn’t for me. I prefer sequels that not only retain the strengths of the original, but perhaps strive to go above and beyond them as well, and here is where I think a lot of second-books-in-a-series struggle. All in all, I’m going with a middling rating for this one. There were moments of brilliance in Ravencry, most notably in the beginning and at the end, but broadly speaking, it was slow-going. I will continue watching this series, but I’ll probably be more on guard with the next novel.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lukasz

    I loved Blackwing. I couldn't wait to put my hands on Ravencry. And when I finally did a strange thing happened. I couldn't get into it. I struggled. I tried hard. All in vain. I DNF-ed it at 46% of the ebook. I've read three other books and then decided to try once again. A wise decision - this time the story managed to suck me in momentarily. Life is merciless. She doesn't care if you're old, young, man or woman, loved or reviled. The only thing you can count on is that you're going to be tre I loved Blackwing. I couldn't wait to put my hands on Ravencry. And when I finally did a strange thing happened. I couldn't get into it. I struggled. I tried hard. All in vain. I DNF-ed it at 46% of the ebook. I've read three other books and then decided to try once again. A wise decision - this time the story managed to suck me in momentarily. Life is merciless. She doesn't care if you're old, young, man or woman, loved or reviled. The only thing you can count on is that you're going to be treated with as little fairness as everyone else Blackwing wasn't the most joyous book of 2017. It was dark and bleak. Ravencry makes Blackwing sound like a gentle fairy tale. It's one of the darkest books I've ever read. Four years have passed since Nall’s Engine drove the Deep Kings back across the Misery, but it doesn't mean the Reach became a safer place. Nope. Things get worse when Crowfoot's arcane vault is breached and an object of terrible power is stolen. Galharrow and his Blackwing team will have to save Valengrad. To do so, they must return to the Misery. If you've read Blackwing, you probably trembled upon reading this name. Cool Kids of Doom (Darling) appear to wreak havoc and turn lives into misery. And they're not even the scariest creatures in the book. On many levels, it's a devastating, violent and cruel book. Characters you love, die. Ryhalt's emotional state is unbearable at times. Physically, he's not much better. He had way too many cigars, way too many brandies. The guy's worldview is heavy. Not surprising given Ed McDonald's enjoyment in tormenting his characters and driving them insane. Ryhalt's wry sense of humor brings a bit of relief to all the drama. But just a bit. Here's a cool sample: I was terrified. Really, deeply terrified. XXX wasn't here in person, but there were few living creatures that inspired as much fear in me as he did. The Deep Kings, the Nameless, the jellyfish thing under the northern Misery sands, and maybe my mother. The pacing becomes breakneck in the second half of the book, but I had the impression that at times, especially in the beginning, the author tries to pack too much lore and world-building into certain parts of the narrative. As I've mentioned in the beginning, there were whole chapters where I lost focus and grew bored. To be fair, though, the second half of the book was terrific. Heart-breaking, violent and just stunning. The finale was crazy. It'll be fascinating to see what'll happen next and I'll definitely read next book in the series. I've received the copy of the book through NetGalley.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    This book was ‘I’m crying as I read the last page‘ kind of good. Damn it to all hells, but McDonald truly topped Blackwing with the sequel. I could spin the usual yarn about how I was gripped from the first page- sucked right back into this world McDonald had created. I could tell you how I LOVED riding in the coat tails of Ryhalt Galharrow again. Because I did… I could tell you how magnificent it was to yet again experience the smooth ride of McDonald’s writing… but, if you’re familiar with this This book was ‘I’m crying as I read the last page‘ kind of good. Damn it to all hells, but McDonald truly topped Blackwing with the sequel. I could spin the usual yarn about how I was gripped from the first page- sucked right back into this world McDonald had created. I could tell you how I LOVED riding in the coat tails of Ryhalt Galharrow again. Because I did… I could tell you how magnificent it was to yet again experience the smooth ride of McDonald’s writing… but, if you’re familiar with this series already, then all of this is no news to you. I could tell you about certain events in the book- but what use would that be? I can hardly take their glory and dull it all by recycling it to you. You either read fantasy, or you don’t. You are either familiar with Ed McDonald’s books or you aren’t… fact remains, if you are familiar and you do read fantasy, you’ll also know that what I would have to say about the plot wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference. You’re going to read it anyway! And you’re going to love it! To the Misery and back, boi! “I know you, Captain Galharrow. You’re the footsteps of death to men like me” After finishing the first page of the book, I put it down, sighed and thought to myself- Ryhalt! How I’ve missed you, you stubborn, unrelenting man! I was looking forward to the battles and smooth-flowing relationship dynamics I was going to have the chance to witness through him. What I was not prepared for, was the intensity of emotions to varying degrees McDonald has kicked the door in with for this book. It was an onslaught of a man’s soul in torment, and the state of thinking himself unworthy of redemption and love. Love’s not an easy thing to bear. Makes us doubt ourselves in ways that don’t make sense. Redemption, sacrifice, love and fighting for what’s good and right takes a whole new meaning in Ravencry. It’s truly, utterly intense and it doesn’t come without feeling pain or loss. A whole new light is shone on Ryhalt’s character- something we only saw a glimpse of in Blackwing. It must be the first person POV that enabled me to BE Ryhalt. To truly understand his choices, his reasoning, his pain and his hopelessness, but also his stubbornness and his unwavering loyalty and love he has for his companions. If there is ever a true show of selflessness, then Captain Galharrow is your man! OK, I know I said it was pointless of me to sing praises where we all very well know praise is a given, but I have to say it anyway. I continued to enjoy McDonald’s writing… there is a certain quality to it that made me see and experience this book as a whole in its unique way. In a way that I think it was intended. A grim, unforgiving setting with all the good and light trying to pierce the dark; and that certain ‘spark’, that ‘pep in the step’ kind of feeling that only the characters in this book can convey. Ravencry is not just a story. It’s a matured, 7-star cask of whiskey that you display on a shelf and stare with loving eyes like your most prized possession. Both sweet and bitter, with delightful effects and not so delightful after effects. Blackwing (book #1) was a tremendous discovery for us all fantasy lovers- we had discovered something that fed our ever-thirsty want for that specific, unique world, the magic and the characters that only fantasy can deliver. Ravencry settled solidly on the foundation of Blackwing and opened up in all dimensions by pushing each of the characters to the very limits. Tnota and Nenn (among others) showed a whole different layer to who they are. You can see inside them and taste their worries. Everyone had their own conflict- mostly due the the impact of Misery, in other parts due to the impact of a different evil trying to take away their homes and futures from them. But it’s not just showing that conflict and struggle… it’s also about displaying the courage, bravery and loyalty. The fearlessness of the characters we have come to love. There is also a strong theme of blind, unquestioning faith in Ravencry… and lads, you all know how I love a bit of ‘religious’ controversy! I love this theme so much, that indeed I could see where all the shebang about the Order of the Bright Lady was going. I just knew it and it was marvellous- how everything unravelled a scene at a time. And even though I was sceptical like Ryhalt, I too wavered at times… could it really be? And this? This is a sign of being sucked into storytelling in a way that makes you question your own preset opinions and moral and beliefs. Life is merciless. She doesn’t care if you’re old, young, man or woman, loved or reviled. The only thing you can count on is that you’re going to be treated with as little fairness as everyone else. Ravencry is simply phenomenal! And because I haven’t spoken about Galharrow enough yet- no! I haven’t!– I will offer further thoughts about him… because he is the centrepiece of the book… because I can’t stop… because he is everything- a soldier, a role model, a friend and a father figure. The last of which took my by complete surprise but it fit him perfectly and it grounded him to certain extent. I admired the addition of this relationship. It humanized the Captain. It turned him from a fictional character in a fictional book to someone that could easily step off the page and you’d know you’d always be safe! You should consider reading the Raven’s Mark series for his character alone, if for nothing else- although, everything about this series is sensational. He is not your typical hero… he is old, and tired. He makes no excuses for being physically less than in his prime and he is willing to sacrifice his body and heart. Over and over and over again. It passed between us, the final bell-toll in a service that had served nobody well. All that is now left… as I shed my tears with the goodbyes I witnessed… is to wait for the next book. The many different endings left me heartbroken and emotionally sucked me dry. I shit you not, I cried. The fuckers (who I love) in this book got to me… Which leads me to- Nenn! You crazy woman! I love you! You make a deep bond with a man when you ride together in the Misery. You trust each other, understand how little chance you got on your own. We’re none of us an island.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Petros Triantafyllou

    A sequel to the critically acclaimed, award-winning Blackwing, Ravencry raises the bar even higher for modern fantasy. It's been three years since the Nameless unmade one of the Deep Kings and used his heart to re-activate Nall's Engine and obliterate every drudge in close proximity. Since then there's been an uneasy truce between the two sides, with the Deep Kings too afraid to send their Darlings close to Valengrad. But when a valuable artifact is stolen from Crowfoot's lair, Galharrow knows i A sequel to the critically acclaimed, award-winning Blackwing, Ravencry raises the bar even higher for modern fantasy. It's been three years since the Nameless unmade one of the Deep Kings and used his heart to re-activate Nall's Engine and obliterate every drudge in close proximity. Since then there's been an uneasy truce between the two sides, with the Deep Kings too afraid to send their Darlings close to Valengrad. But when a valuable artifact is stolen from Crowfoot's lair, Galharrow knows it's only a matter of time before the people of Valengrad are called to once again face impossible odds of survival. "'What do you make of all that?' 'It sounds very fucking bad', Maldon said. 'But then, you have to wonder just how much of this has been going on for the last thousand years, don't you? How often does one side or the other come up with something like the Heart of the Void?' 'Once was too often,' I said. 'The sky should never have been sundered.' I wondered how many of our people Crowfoot had destroyed when he unleashed his weapon and burned the Misery into being. Too many. Sometimes I wondered if he'd known how badly he would tear reality when he unleashed that power, but I always came to the same conclusion. It was better not to know." Every debut author has to pass quite a few tests before they become established, and the call to show that the success of their debut wasn't a one-time-thing might be the most important one. McDonald passed the test with flying colors, proving once and for all that's he's here to stay and become a household name sooner than later. In Ravencry, McDonald kept everything we loved from Blackwing, such as the gritty and grim setting, the morally grey yet highly likeable characters, the complex and in many places unpredictable events, and the general air of mystery surrounding all of the above, but he also introduced new elements, plot devices and machinations, keeping the story familiar yet fresh and alluring. When I first read Blackwing I was so impressed that I didn't even write a review. I simply called it perfect in every possible way, and the same applies for Ravencry. Everything begins and ends with McDonald's unique storytelling abilities, but it's what's in-between that makes the difference, such as the proficient and smooth prose, the perfectly balanced pace and the beautiful imagery, all of them coming together to create a perfect page-turner. All in all, Ravencry is the perfect sequel and a book every fantasy author would aspire to write

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shae

    We run when we can run, and we fight when we have to, and sometimes the dawn comes and there's no choice but to grit your teeth, draw steel and scream against the night. - Blackwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow McDonald's excellent world building continues in this second installment in the Ravens' Mark trilogy - I would never wish to visit the Misery with it's grim, harrowing landscape and disturbing creatures, but I sure enjoyed reading about it! We run when we can run, and we fight when we have to, and sometimes the dawn comes and there's no choice but to grit your teeth, draw steel and scream against the night. - Blackwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow McDonald's excellent world building continues in this second installment in the Ravens' Mark trilogy - I would never wish to visit the Misery with it's grim, harrowing landscape and disturbing creatures, but I sure enjoyed reading about it!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marielle

    Love it! Will write a review when I'm back home from Italy... Love it! Will write a review when I'm back home from Italy...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Luke Scull

    Ravencry is very much a book of two parts. I felt the first half was slow, lacked urgency and, though Ed's fine writing still made it easy to read, failed to establish the kind of forward momentum that made Blackwing such a strong debut. Fortunately, things pick up quickly in the second half as the Misery takes centre stage and the various threads converge. In truth, the plotting is never as effortless as in the preceding novel and Galharrow doesn't so much ride his luck as storm relentlessly for Ravencry is very much a book of two parts. I felt the first half was slow, lacked urgency and, though Ed's fine writing still made it easy to read, failed to establish the kind of forward momentum that made Blackwing such a strong debut. Fortunately, things pick up quickly in the second half as the Misery takes centre stage and the various threads converge. In truth, the plotting is never as effortless as in the preceding novel and Galharrow doesn't so much ride his luck as storm relentlessly forward in invincible plot armour - quite literally in fact, near the end of the book. Even so, a number of memorable scenes and great character moments glitter amidst the muddiness of the plotting and make this is a worthy, if not perfect sequel. As an aside, I got the impression Ravencry was tough to write and - speaking from experience here - I suspect the general quality of epic fantasy would be higher across the board if authors weren't obliged by publishers to serve up a 400-500 page novel so soon after a strong debut. 3.5 stars, rounded up because I read it in 2 days.

  23. 4 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    Ravencry is a great sequel to Blackwing. tl;dr: If you liked Blackwing for its gritty noirish feel with its great world building and broken characters who fight against all odds, you will like Ravencry too. People who are new to this series can consider this to be similar to Joe Abercrombie's or David Gemmel's heroic fantasies. The world building is far more intricate albeit a dystopian one. The characters are brilliantly sketched out with each of them staying in your mind long after the book is Ravencry is a great sequel to Blackwing. tl;dr: If you liked Blackwing for its gritty noirish feel with its great world building and broken characters who fight against all odds, you will like Ravencry too. People who are new to this series can consider this to be similar to Joe Abercrombie's or David Gemmel's heroic fantasies. The world building is far more intricate albeit a dystopian one. The characters are brilliantly sketched out with each of them staying in your mind long after the book is over. The writing is excellent with a lot of pithy dialogues and prose that sears the soul. There is plenty of action too with a lot of gore. That's basically it. If you have not read these books, drop everything and go read them.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Firmage

    Brilliant sequal.

  25. 4 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    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 on 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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. If you thought you’ve seen it all then Ed McDonald has a message for you and he’s put it in the form of what’s sure to be a breathtaking trilogy. With Ravencry marking the second installment in the Raven’s Mark series, but also the halfway point of Ryhalt Galharrow’s misery-filled adventures, it’s safe to say that Ed McDonald is a master story-teller whose understanding of dark fantasy is beyond this world. His very ability to build a grim and s You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. If you thought you’ve seen it all then Ed McDonald has a message for you and he’s put it in the form of what’s sure to be a breathtaking trilogy. With Ravencry marking the second installment in the Raven’s Mark series, but also the halfway point of Ryhalt Galharrow’s misery-filled adventures, it’s safe to say that Ed McDonald is a master story-teller whose understanding of dark fantasy is beyond this world. His very ability to build a grim and suffocating universe while developing a complex protagonist struggling with his own issues amidst all the ravage around him brings readers to quickly realize that there’s little that can be criticized but plenty that can be praised in Ravencry. Whether it is the deadly creatures that roam Valengrad and the Misery, or the political and religious figures who come complicate his duties as a blackwing, Ryhalt Galharrow’s personality, experience and decision-making absorbs readers into a trance from which they cannot find any escape except the ending of Ravencry itself. Taking place four years after the tragic events in Blackwing, Ravencry continues to follow Ryhalt Galharrow as he lives day to day as a bounty hunter who seeks out any individual who has been turned by the Deep Kings. While his situation has greatly improved in terms of housing and business, his mental state continues to suffer with only sleep deprivation, booze and action-seeking as his go-to methods for coping with his depressive life. It doesn’t help when the little sleep he does try to get, he is haunted by a figure that he has not yet completely dealt with on an emotional level. But when he finds himself confronting an individual that he thought he had already finished off in the past, things slowly unravel for Ryhalt Galharrow to the point where he’s dragged into another battlefield against mysterious forces that are only looking for trouble. Ravencry bleeds with passion. Once again told in first-person, it’s near-impossible to not get sucked into this dark world built by Ed McDonald and find yourself having compassion and understanding towards Ryhalt Galharrow. The weight of his past is easily felt and continues to eat away at his sanity without ever showing any sign of wanting to leave him alone. His character easily goes down as one of the most complex being I’ve ever had the opportunity to follow. The challenges he faces truly puts him to the test and his desire to always put himself in harm’s way for the things he believes in is unbelievable. With the addition of new characters who add not only innocence, but strength to this squad, I found myself far too often in awe at how brilliantly the dynamic between the characters was conveyed by Ed McDonald. And to put the cherry on top of the cake, the return of certain comrades allowed Ed McDonald to further explore their own issues and give readers an idea of how much the world impacts not only the protagonist, but also his friends. Character- and world-building might have been impeccable, but the story in Ravencry merits a standing ovation. Blackwing showed us the multi-layered complexity of the war between powerful beings while focusing on the pawns in that giant game of chess. Ravencry didn’t exactly follow this idea since fans were likely to pay particular attention to the clues that could hint at the bigger scheme of things. Instead, Ravencry went for a plot that almost felt like it was meant to be a mystery built within a dark fantasy lore. Ed McDonald’s ability to develop his world and characters while maintaining the intrigue is simply phenomenal. He doesn’t use the first book of this trilogy as a reason to focus solely on his characters and the plot in Ravencry; he takes the time to set up more pieces to his world and deliver a stellar story no matter how much time that would take. Among those pieces, religion and faith are some of them and they were brilliantly brought to life. Throughout the story, from the very first pages, readers will slowly notice the birth of a religion which all starts with what we know as religious experiences. This underlying component to the plot is thoroughly explored and Ed McDonald always finds a way to explore how mankind interprets what they don’t understand. Starting off as a dream to then turn into a vision until it finally becomes a calling, I thoroughly impressed by how well Ed McDonald made it a intricate and essential plot device. Funny enough, within the context of a dark fantasy, this whole angle also had a mysterious facet that led readers to wonder if rationality should be prioritized over skepticism. Ravencry is simply a marvelous sequel that continues to deliver in every department. It not only plays on your feelings through the connections you form with the characters, but also through the poetic writing style that Ed McDonald is blessed with. Thank you to Ace Books for sending me a copy for review! Yours truly, Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer Official blog: https://bookidote.com/

  27. 4 out of 5

    Peter McLean

    When I reviewed Blackwing last year, I called it magnificent ( https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ), and I stand by that. It was a magnificent debut novel. Ravencry is simply a magnificent novel. Returning to the howling sky of the Misery, to Valengrad with its citadel and neon lights and wonderful blend of magic, matchlocks, and dieselpunk technology, feels like coming home. Galharrow is just as I remember him – mourning for Ezabeth, drinking too much, unable to see when a woman loves him When I reviewed Blackwing last year, I called it magnificent ( https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ), and I stand by that. It was a magnificent debut novel. Ravencry is simply a magnificent novel. Returning to the howling sky of the Misery, to Valengrad with its citadel and neon lights and wonderful blend of magic, matchlocks, and dieselpunk technology, feels like coming home. Galharrow is just as I remember him – mourning for Ezabeth, drinking too much, unable to see when a woman loves him. Four years have passed since the end of Blackwing, Nenn has been demoted (because of course she has!), and the Blackwing agency finally has the funding it needs. What could go wrong? Well, everything, obviously, and in spectacular fashion. Someone has been arrogant enough to dare to steal from Crowfoot, and that one action sets in motion a chain of events that could destroy not only Valengrad but quite possibly the whole world. We get to see more of the Misery and its ghastly inhabitants in this book, and more of the marvellous technology of Valengrad. I won’t spoil the story any more, but make sure you have a box of tissues to hand for the last few chapters. Grimheart indeed.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ian Hall

    Bloody good book this. Full review to come

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rob Hayes

    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 determi 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. 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!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Szal

    Now, THIS is how you write a sequel. I like my books, regardless of genre, to be fast and dark as tar, character-driven to a tee, the action as brutal and raw as the emotional pay-offs. Blackwing, Ed's debut, had all those things, but Ravencry is even better. Ryhalt is back, and he's darker and snarkier than ever before, and so is the world. Ferociously paced, the first third of Ravencry packs in more world-turning events than some chihuahua-killer epic fantasy tomes do. With moments dark and ble Now, THIS is how you write a sequel. I like my books, regardless of genre, to be fast and dark as tar, character-driven to a tee, the action as brutal and raw as the emotional pay-offs. Blackwing, Ed's debut, had all those things, but Ravencry is even better. Ryhalt is back, and he's darker and snarkier than ever before, and so is the world. Ferociously paced, the first third of Ravencry packs in more world-turning events than some chihuahua-killer epic fantasy tomes do. With moments dark and bleak enough to border on cosmic horror (I got a strong Dark Souls/Bloodborne feel from this one), the world is dripping with danger and dread. Even the quieter moments are laced with a strong sense of menace. If anything, Ravencry is infinitely more creepier than Blackwing, and has a talking demon raven to boot. But the characters are at the heart of every good book, and this one's no exception. As broken and miserable as these people are, their attempts to interact and piece themselves back together in a broken world on the verge of collapse are raw and genuine. It's Ryhalt's determination to save the world not out of a sense of moral duty, but because of the people he loves and cares about, that makes his adventure so engrossing and worthwhile. I didn't expect to find people here that I cared about so much. There's some truly heart-stopping events, including one that involves armor and assault weapons, and a handful of quiet, somber moments that are some of the most heart-breaking I've experienced in a book for a long, long time. Ravencry is a phenomenal sequel that expands and improves on its original and I would highly recommend that anyone who likes dark fiction and good characters to pick this one up. Well done, Ed. Well bloody done.

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