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Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky. 'Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart' Mark Lawrence A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings. Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky. 'Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart' Mark Lawrence A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings. Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war. Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all. He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him - changed him - but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere. They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.


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Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky. 'Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart' Mark Lawrence A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings. Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky. 'Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart' Mark Lawrence A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings. Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war. Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all. He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him - changed him - but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere. They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.

30 review for Crowfall

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Crowfall provides a spectacularly epic conclusion to a trilogy that has the potential haunt your nightmares in its creepiness; it’s so dark, so bleak and so wonderfully written. Everything is brought together here perfectly, a very clever ending indeed! And I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised. Going into this I felt that there was a little too much to conclude in just one book, but it all slots together. Ed McDonald demonstrates his ability for planning as he delivers the final strokes of the Crowfall provides a spectacularly epic conclusion to a trilogy that has the potential haunt your nightmares in its creepiness; it’s so dark, so bleak and so wonderfully written. Everything is brought together here perfectly, a very clever ending indeed! And I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised. Going into this I felt that there was a little too much to conclude in just one book, but it all slots together. Ed McDonald demonstrates his ability for planning as he delivers the final strokes of the story with a bloody flourish. Those final few pages left me in a gut-wrenching state of suspense because I felt like this could have gone anywhere. It could have had a happy ending or a brutal one (or something in between the two.) I really couldn’t call it, and that’s important because nobody wants to read a predictable book. It would be remiss not to talk about character growth here. As soon as Blackwing opens, it is clear Galharrow is not a typical protagonist. His best is clearly past him as he approaches his middling years in a cloud of alcohol induced depression. His enthusiasm for life wanes with each fight he is forced to partake in. He is a man that is plodding through life, acting the motions when he is totally drained and inflicted by the memories of his failures. Here though it is clear from the very first chapter that he has changed. He has found a purpose and is willing to do anything to achieve it; he is willing to infuse himself with dark and dangerous magic in order to become so strong that he can face his enemies alone. And that’s kind of a big deal because he is sworn to carry out the bidding of his master, the nameless god Crowfoot. He is playing a risky game and a dangerous one because his enemies could crush him with a thought. Everyone is power hungry. Hungry for wealth or prestige. Hungry for immortality or potent magic. And Galharrow has truly had enough. He is tired of serving and he is tired of being stuck in the middle of this never-ending power struggle. So, he has decided to invest in himself and to trust solely in himself to make the right choice when the time comes. I was so glad to see it. He has always had an independent mind and now he is brave enough to assert it and do exactly what he thinks is right. His plan is insane, but it is also the only road he could take because he is in this to win. All or nothing. This made the book much more direct. Galharrow didn’t spend any time trying to untangle someone else’s mess like he has in the past. This is the end game, and it is tremendous. Never doubt a man who willing to sacrifice everything he is for those he loves. Ed McDonald’s work is up there with the best of the genre. As such this series is required reading for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Peter Newman and Anna Smith Spark. I will certainly be reading anything else he writes in the future. I’d be a fool not to. Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing me with an ARC to review for Fantasy Book Review. Raven's Mark 1. Blackwing - 4.5 stars 2. Ravencry - 4 stars 3. Crowfall - 4.5 stars _________________________________ You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. __________________________________

  2. 4 out of 5

    James Tivendale

    "Another Heart of the Void? The sky is shattered, the rain sends men mad. Even the geese are trying to eat us. What the fuck do we have to gain by unleashing that kind of power again?" I received an advanced reading copy of Crowfall in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Ed McDonald and Ace Books for the opportunity. May contain spoilers for Ravencry. Crowfall is an engaging and thrilling final chapter to an excellent dark fantasy trilogy. I have seen the Raven's Mark series ref "Another Heart of the Void? The sky is shattered, the rain sends men mad. Even the geese are trying to eat us. What the fuck do we have to gain by unleashing that kind of power again?" I received an advanced reading copy of Crowfall in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Ed McDonald and Ace Books for the opportunity. May contain spoilers for Ravencry. Crowfall is an engaging and thrilling final chapter to an excellent dark fantasy trilogy. I have seen the Raven's Mark series referred to as Grimheart. I thought that tag was a joke initially but the more I have thought about it the more fitting the label actually seems. However chaotic, gruesome, or terrible things may seem in this world there are always underlining currents of hope and love. This narrative is set six years after the conclusion of Ravencry when Shavada was blasted from the grandspire's roof and the city was saved. We see a very different Ryhalt Galharrow. Since that event, the Blackwing Captain has been residing in isolation in the Misery. Eating the monstrosities that lurk within the land, conversing with the ghosts that haunt it, and every night returning to the Always House, a comfortable country cottage, seemingly unaffected by the magic of the Misery except that it resets once a day. The reason for Galharrow's need to be alone and in the Misery of all places is unclear but the Misery has changed him and become a part of him. He's become an expert navigator and converses with the Misery frequently. He is even referred to as the 'son of the Misery.' Although he's been living as a hermit it seems everybody wants Galharrow eradicated, from the Nameless to the men of the Citadel. If that wasn't bad enough, the Deep Kings now have an Emperor and are looking to march on the living with their Drudge army. Galharrow knows he has an important part to play in the upcoming war. I've always enjoyed following Galharrow's first-person perspective. He's such a likable character throughout the series although he really shouldn't be. In Ravencry he was traipsing around the fringes of madness however for parts of Crowfall he is as good as insane. It's written and presented in expert fashion and as a reader, I tried to analyse reality and exactly what was going on in Galharrow's mind. The characters that have been crafted by McDonald are brilliant and jump off the page here. Series mainstays such as the aging navigator Tnota and no-nosed violence adoring Major Nenn (even though she's dead) are as important as ever in Crowfall. Joining these and other players such as Dantry, Maldon, and Valiya are new and influential characters such as sharp-eyed shooter North and marble guardian, First. I'm not sure what the technical phrasing is but the way McDonald wrote led me to create amazing visuals of all the places frequented and portraits of all the characters in my mind. I was so engaged that I almost felt that I was there alongside Galharrow throughout his adventures and struggles. I was fully invested in him and the narrative as a whole. I won't divulge too much information about what takes place in Crowfall other than that there are so many standout moments and stunning set-pieces. As the conclusion to one of my favourite recent fantasy series, I was not disappointed by any aspect. In a few years time when fans of dark fantasy think of standout characters in the genre, Galharrow is a name that will be uttered alongside Jorg, Geralt, and Locke Lamora. The finale was epic, lasted for about twenty percent of the novel and often left me breathless with the battles, showdowns, twists, awesome reveals, and betrayals. Essentially it had everything I required on my epic fantasy bingo card. Blackwing remains one of my favourite ever books. The following two books in the series never quite reached the lofty heights but are still pretty damn awesome. This is a series that needs to be read by all dark fantasy and grimdark fans.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    Galharrow has been monstrously changed by his time in the Misery; underneath the transformation, a desperate plan to make himself powerful enough to alter the future. And he’s not the only one. Time has passed and people are not who he remembers them to be. Everyone has their own hopes, their own schemes, their own… betrayals? The Deep Kings are coming. And now a new weapon has been found, strong enough to crack open the skies once again. But who in this world can be trusted to use it? ‘[I] still Galharrow has been monstrously changed by his time in the Misery; underneath the transformation, a desperate plan to make himself powerful enough to alter the future. And he’s not the only one. Time has passed and people are not who he remembers them to be. Everyone has their own hopes, their own schemes, their own… betrayals? The Deep Kings are coming. And now a new weapon has been found, strong enough to crack open the skies once again. But who in this world can be trusted to use it? ‘[I] still had a pistol left, and so long as you have a whisky and a gun, how bad can your luck be?’ Answer: pretty bad. This is a book of last chances and Galharrow has had more than his fair share. Meeting him again is a blow, for the Misery is nestled bone deep and his outlook turned bleak enough to chill the heart. In every sense, this feels like the end of the road. He’s a scavenger, a loner, lost to himself in ways that make him almost lost to the reader. The madness of the last book is here tenfold, his life a surreal dreamscape that comes close to making him too alien to feel. I struggled with his choices in ways I have never done before, asking questions of him as his friends do. We cross our fingers and hope that he will hold on, that we can trust him as we always have. Because there is a plan, of a sort. Or at least, there is his plan. As characters converge, old faces and new enemies, the labyrinthine plots of the Nameless become ever clearer, each manoeuvre pushing their human pieces into whatever endgame they have planned. There is one last chance to save the world, to prevent the Deep Kings from turning everyone into drudge, but it seems like the side most people are on is their own. To say it provides an unproductive working environment is the understatement of the century, but of course it’s all fun and games and sly words and tension until someone gets stabbed in the back. Actually, if you make that multiple someones and a whole bucket load of inventive ways to die, then you have some idea of how this all goes… Especially because so much of the action is set in the Misery. Which, for me, is the absolute best part of the whole series. Talk about a character arc with some serious surprises. I’ve loved every second spent in her twisted landscape and this book was no exception. It’s a place of ghosts and monsters, an ever changing terrain where you can both lose and find yourself. As Galharrow has done, in so many different ways. Yet it’s so much more than that, it’s a massacre, a memory, a trial, an ending… The Misery is Ed McDonald’s masterwork and what he does with it here is so far beyond perfection I don’t even have the words to describe it, even if it wasn’t way too spoilery for this kind of review in any case. I have never wanted to see a place so much while at the same time never, ever wanting to go there. But I have to be honest, there were some issues with the ending. One classic move had been signalled pretty heavily right from the outset and I was getting a bit annoyed at Galharrow not getting it. He clearly hasn’t been reading the same fantasy books I have or he’d known what he was supposed to do, it’s been done before. A lot. It was all a little too pat, a little too offscreen. Of course, the way things end is always the most divisive part of any series and this is something you have to decide for yourself. Either way, this series is a MUST-READ. It’s clever, creative, and such an intense mix of real/unreal that it burns fire bright in your mind. I hope this is not the last time I get to visit. ARC via Netgalley

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lukasz

    There is no mistaking the distinctive voice of Ed McDonald and his protagonist - Ryhalt Galharrow, a captain of shadowy Blackwings. His story ends here*. If you thought that Ryhalt went through hell, and nothing worse would happen to him, you were wrong.  Crowfall concludes Raven’s Mark trilogy, and it’s epic. Not only does it reveal schemes and treasons of various parts and characters, but it also riffs on the themes of belonging, love, honor, identity and the ability to find a home in hostile n There is no mistaking the distinctive voice of Ed McDonald and his protagonist - Ryhalt Galharrow, a captain of shadowy Blackwings. His story ends here*. If you thought that Ryhalt went through hell, and nothing worse would happen to him, you were wrong.  Crowfall concludes Raven’s Mark trilogy, and it’s epic. Not only does it reveal schemes and treasons of various parts and characters, but it also riffs on the themes of belonging, love, honor, identity and the ability to find a home in hostile new landscapes. McDonald’s view of the world is bleak. Decaying landscapes, fallen heroes, and superior beings playing humans are terrifying but they don’t come close to Galharrow’s inner hell. He hates himself. He slowly loses his humanity and transforms into a feral beast thriving in Misery. McDonald portrays his descent into madness with imagination, skill, and excellent timing. The narrative’s progress towards the final battle has the ineluctable pull of tragic myth. We expect what must come, but this knowledge never detracts from the memorable intelligence of the novel. Plus, McDonald proves us wrong repeatedly, so prepare to rethink your theories at least few times.  I usually prefer low-key endings to high-tension trilogies and I’m not partial to end of the world narratives. Despite my preference, Crowfall’s ending impressed me with its vivid imagery, readiness to break characters and reshape the world and its mythology. Some readers won’t be happy with the ending and the way McDonald resolved it. But it makes sense so personally, I have no complaints about it. While Raven’s Mark trilogy is bleak and brutal, it never uses violence to shock the reader. Everything it does has purpose and meaning. I consider it one of the best fantasy trilogies published in recent years.  * or does it?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Peter McLean

    They say that misery loves company, and in the Misery you're never alone. Especially If you're Backwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow, haunted by the bitter ghosts of the past. This book is raw and emotional in a way I didn't expect. It's a very different book to its predecessors, yet is still an almost inevitable conclusion to Galharrow's character arc. Watching him fall apart through his own narrative brings a fresh edge of pain to the storytelling. This series is ultimately a story of love and remo They say that misery loves company, and in the Misery you're never alone. Especially If you're Backwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow, haunted by the bitter ghosts of the past. This book is raw and emotional in a way I didn't expect. It's a very different book to its predecessors, yet is still an almost inevitable conclusion to Galharrow's character arc. Watching him fall apart through his own narrative brings a fresh edge of pain to the storytelling. This series is ultimately a story of love and remorse, but love may take many twisted forms and remorse can be a blight on the soul. For Galharrow, it's all he has left until those very ghosts rise up for one last moment of desperate defiance. And then, at last, there is hope. If there's one overriding message here, it's that you're never alone. After loss comes acceptance, and then maybe a second chance for the future. For a series often called Grimdark, this book has a lot of heart. You might almost call it GrimHeart. This series has been truly magnificent from start to finish, and I am grateful for it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    When facing duress for long periods of time, sanity can be fleeting. It’s no stretch of the imagination to see how prisoners, hostages, or fugitives can be driven toward poor decision-making when lives are at stake. If the stakes are raised to apocalyptic levels, then any form of predictive behavior becomes unreliable. Enter: Ryhalt Galharrow. Savior of Valengrad. Captain on the Blackwings. Desolate madman. Ed McDonald’s previous novel Ravencry concluded with Ryhalt leaving Valengrad to go live When facing duress for long periods of time, sanity can be fleeting. It’s no stretch of the imagination to see how prisoners, hostages, or fugitives can be driven toward poor decision-making when lives are at stake. If the stakes are raised to apocalyptic levels, then any form of predictive behavior becomes unreliable. Enter: Ryhalt Galharrow. Savior of Valengrad. Captain on the Blackwings. Desolate madman. Ed McDonald’s previous novel Ravencry concluded with Ryhalt leaving Valengrad to go live in the Misery for reasons unknown. Crowfall picks up six years later. Six long years living in madness, constantly poisoning your body and mind. But what is it all for? And is it worth it in the end? Galharrow is still reeling from losing his love Ezabeth to the phos light. He has shunned himself from civilization, only visiting the Range to re-up his meager supplies. He subsists on consuming the raw flesh of Misery creatures, which also gives him the ability to navigate without needing the moons to point his way. Ryhalt begins to become one with the Misery, tapping into its vast, horrific powers but losing his sanity each day. Ghosts of his past visit him daily, and the line between reality and madness starts to blur into non-existence. Why has Ryhalt chosen this path? This is one of the great mysteries of the story, and we begin to piece together parts of his ultimate plan as some of his co-conspirators come under threat. This mystery works both for and against the story. Not knowing why Ryhalt is doing what he’s doing is enticing, but it also becomes frustrating at times because we don’t understand his motivations for most of his decisions. I enjoyed how McDonald kept forcing the reader to question Ryhalt’s actions, as he is clearly being driven insane. Are there enough shreds of Ryhalt’s morality left to achieve his goals, or will he lose himself entirely to the Misery? New characters and new locations help separate Crowfall from its predecessors, and McDonald takes full advantage of his new cast and environments. Themes of treachery, regret, and sacrifice are leaned on heavily, and it culminates into an emotional final act. However. The end of the story did not sit well with me. Some of the decisions made by the main cast seemed incredibly shortsighted and out of character. Some big revelations left me scratching my head, and there was an explicit Deus Ex Machina that attempted to wrap up the story but didn’t quite land with me. It was difficult not to let the ending affect how I felt about the rest of the book, which was largely entertaining, fast-paced, and original. But I’m still hung up on why certain plans were made, as it felt like a wild deviation from everything up to this point. Ryhalt is a stubborn fool, but he tries to do the right thing… usually. Getting a first-person perspective of him slowly descending into madness is an appealing hook that I quite enjoyed. Although I didn’t agree with some of the content decisions made at the end of the story, Ryhalt’s journey is still well worth taking. McDonald’s world of elder gods, torn reality, and light magic is dark fantasy at its finest. I hope to return to the Misery again someday, and I’ll be sure to pack my own lunch. 7.5 / 10

  7. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    Never alone. All things must end, and the saga of Ryhalt Galharrow comes to a close with one magnificently striking and emotional conclusion. All the events of McDonald's Raven's Mark series have brought us to this moment, as the threat of the Deep Kings hovers like a black cloud about to release a cascade of poison rain upon the Misery and beyond. Galharrow stands alone against the storm, persevering in the face of failure and forging ahead when the world is set on relentlessly beating him down. Never alone. All things must end, and the saga of Ryhalt Galharrow comes to a close with one magnificently striking and emotional conclusion. All the events of McDonald's Raven's Mark series have brought us to this moment, as the threat of the Deep Kings hovers like a black cloud about to release a cascade of poison rain upon the Misery and beyond. Galharrow stands alone against the storm, persevering in the face of failure and forging ahead when the world is set on relentlessly beating him down. Crowfall is a story underlining the willingness to do whatever must be done, including the sacrifice of every last bit of yourself, for those you love, of finding purpose, even when surrounded by the bleak oppression of guilt, and most importantly, choosing your own side. What begins as a much-appreciated "Previously on Raven's Mark...", quickly becomes a harrowing adventure of life and death as we journey towards the final stand, but the Deep Kings don't realize we bring along with us the pain and wrath of the Son of the Misery. This story is dominated by hunger and betrayal, yet ultimately retribution and redemption reign supreme. In the six years following the events of Ravencry, time and circumstance have taken a great toll on the characters we've become acquainted with, most of whom are but a faint echo of the person they once were. After years of subjecting himself to the lands under the fractured sky, Galharrow is beginning to resemble many of the things he has sworn to protect the Range against. I've been vocal about my love of Galharrow since I first dug into Blackwing, and all I can say is that my admiration for him has only grown, regardless of how monstrous he has become. His strength has him barreling towards a seemingly hopeless end, but his iron will to fix his mistakes continues to propel him forward. Valiya and Amaira have both sacrificed much in the name of duty. Tnota is torn between love and loyalty. Dantry continues to sow havoc across the states. Maldon remains comfortable in his role of prickly genius. The Nameless are still gridlocked in their battle with the Deep Kings, who now march under a unified banner. And finally, a mysterious player in this game of fate refuses to admit defeat. We see a lot of familiar faces, some new, and ghosts of the past insist on fighting to fix this broken and threatened world. McDonald masterfully crafts some of the most intriguing and intelligent landscapes that dig their claws in, unwilling to let go. Crowfall allows us to spend some more time upon the ever-changing sands of the Misery, and we are able to witness its strangeness in a way we couldn't before. It has always been known that it's not just a physical place, but also a thing of sentience, which is explored in great detail in this book. The howling sky, blood-thirsty grasses, and shifting dunes, all evidence of Crowfoot's attack on the Deep Kings; the land is just as haunted and pained as it was when he released the Heart of the Void almost a century prior. We march to Adrogorsk, the melted remains of a once-great city, where Ryhalt Galharrow was born under the battered and broken banner of a silver fist lost in a crimson sea. What better place to fight for the future of mankind than where it all began? While I knew we'd be spending quite a bit of time in these poisoned lands, I was not expecting to venture into the Nameless' place of power, a world of shattered ice and solitude - a strangeness that seems all too familiar - where the secrets to victory lie buried deep within. Like the rest of the series, Crowfall is a first person narrative told through the eyes of Galharrow, and it's blatantly clear how much he has evolved from the beginning of book one to now. There's a certain poise and maturity radiating from him that we have yet to see, at times oozing with truly tragic undertones - a broken man feeling right at home in a broken world. The prose is beautiful, the sentiment is hard-hitting, the ultimate goal hidden from readers until the explosive final moments. All of the pieces we've been collecting over the the series' 1,000+ pages beautifully come together to reach a remarkable climax where the fate of all hangs in the balance. Crowfall was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I couldn't ask for a more fitting conclusion to this series, which I absolutely adore. Everything is as it should be. I'll admit, I'm a little sad I have to say goodbye to Galharrow and crew, and even though all the threads have been perfectly tied up, I can only hope this isn't my last time visiting the Misery. If you haven't yet started the Raven's Mark series, you're only doing yourself a disservice and should rectify this right away. If you're already a fan of the series, you're in for a treat. I highly recommend.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shae

    The Misery was not just twisted magic and polluted rock. It was spirits, and sky, and the endless pain of what it had been, what it had been made to do, and what it had become. And it responded to my call. - Ryhalt Galharrow, son of the Misery And so my journey through the Misery comes to an end, this installment was an excellent conclusion to the Raven's Mark trilogy - 4.5/5 stars. Some heavy themes run through this trilogy; loss, grief, regret, atonement and finally acceptance and transcendence. The Misery was not just twisted magic and polluted rock. It was spirits, and sky, and the endless pain of what it had been, what it had been made to do, and what it had become. And it responded to my call. - Ryhalt Galharrow, son of the Misery And so my journey through the Misery comes to an end, this installment was an excellent conclusion to the Raven's Mark trilogy - 4.5/5 stars. Some heavy themes run through this trilogy; loss, grief, regret, atonement and finally acceptance and transcendence. I really loved the way that McDonald explored how a nightmarish desert could be the physical manifestation of not only a devastating event, but the deep mourning that follows. Although there was plenty of heart pounding action to get caught up in, I was surprised how often I found myself pausing to reflect on life's deeper meaning. Will definitely pick up more of McDonald's work in future.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike Everest Evans

    The Good: Above and beyond the compelling characters and punchy plot, this is a book that keeps you guessing right up until the final page. The Bad: As with Ravencry, Crowfall embarks on an entirely new direction to a destination that I hadn’t anticipated – some readers may dislike this, but I for one am happy to hop on the bandwagon. The Ugly Truth: Crowfall takes everything you would expect of this book and tears it up right in front of you, before handing you something you would never have drea The Good: Above and beyond the compelling characters and punchy plot, this is a book that keeps you guessing right up until the final page. The Bad: As with Ravencry, Crowfall embarks on an entirely new direction to a destination that I hadn’t anticipated – some readers may dislike this, but I for one am happy to hop on the bandwagon. The Ugly Truth: Crowfall takes everything you would expect of this book and tears it up right in front of you, before handing you something you would never have dreamt up, even in the wildest of Misery-fuelled nightmares. And it’s amazing for it! The Review: Crowfall is the third and final instalment in Ed McDonald’s award-winning Raven’s Mark trilogy, published by Gollancz in the UK and Ace Roc in the US. As this is a continuation of the series, this review includes minor spoilers for Blackwing and Ravencry. Blackwing captain Ryhalt Galharrow has withdrawn from the world. After consuming the essence of the Misery – namely the creatures that roam it – he now resides in semi self-imposed exile in the apocalyptic wastelands. But when the Nameless come calling, its down to him and his erstwhile allies to make one last stand against a threat far greater than the Deep Kings ever posed. To save the future of mankind, Ryhalt and co will have to uncover the secrets of the past, the ghosts of yesterday, and the origin of the Misery itself. But staring into the looking glass casts a reflection, and when the person looking back at you is more a monster than those you’re fighting, even a hero has to ask if it’s worth it… I thoroughly enjoyed Crowfall, in the same way I enjoyed Blackwing and Ravencry. Which, when I think about it, is a little bit mad. Each book is a continuation of the last in the series, but they all have something inherently different in terms of structure and story that marks them apart. This isn’t a bad thing – no, no! – but it is a departure from the typical setup in most fantasy trilogies. In a way, the Raven’s Mark trilogy is similar to RJ Barker’s Wounded Kingdom series in this sense, in that each book is almost a standalone novel, and could potentially be read out of sequence (though this would certainly have massive spoiler implications). In my review of Ravencry I called Galharrow fantasy’s answer to DCI Luther. In essence this is still true of Crowfall, but here we have an older (though not necessarily wiser) character, whose internal struggles play as big a part in the narrative as the external conflict that threatens the world as we know it. On that note, Crowfall continues to push the boundaries even beyond the uncharted fathoms of its own world-building. That being said, it feels like we are only seeing what’s on the surface when it comes to certain elements (such at the Nameless, the Deep Kings), and there are plenty more depths to plumb. The story and setting is still gloriously grim and deliciously dark, but the tag associated with the series—‘grimdark with heart’—has never been more fitting than it is here. McDonald has said previously that this is a love story with swords, and this story really embraces that theme. Not just a love of a romantic partner, but of friends, and family, and friends who become family. Crowfall is also darker – and I would argue more ‘mature’ in its emotional exploration – than the rest of the series, and I think that reflects McDonald’s continued growth as a writer. I would say, that for some readers, especially those expecting a hack’n’slash to the finish across the dystopian wastes, this might not be what you planned for. It’s not necessarily the book we wanted, but it’s definitely the book we needed in terms of breaking out of the mould set by its predecessors, and fantasy as a whole (especially when it comes to ‘the end’ of a series). As the saying goes, it is always darkest before the dawn, and while Crowfall plunges into the pitch black of nightmare, the light at its heart is as fierce as the sun. For me, this was a brave and bold new direction (again) which led to a destination I hadn’t necessarily expected but was thoroughly impressed with. Here is a story and an author who takes risks, even when the stakes are this high, and has the chops to see them through. In my honest opinion, McDonald has delivered on all accounts, covering a lot (and I mean a lot) of ground in the Raven’s Mark series, and I for one can’t wait to see where he takes readers next.

  10. 5 out of 5

    kartik narayanan

    Read the full review at my site Digital Amrit Introduction The Raven's Mark trilogy is a grim dark fantasy that has shades of Glen Cook's Black Company and Joe Abercrombie's First Law in it. It is at turns, weird, fantastic and riveting. I am a huge fan of the first two books - Blackwing & Ravencry. With Crowfall, Ed McDonald, brings this epic narrative to an end. Characters The characters and the world-building have been the stand-out features in this series and they continue to be in this concludi Read the full review at my site Digital Amrit Introduction The Raven's Mark trilogy is a grim dark fantasy that has shades of Glen Cook's Black Company and Joe Abercrombie's First Law in it. It is at turns, weird, fantastic and riveting. I am a huge fan of the first two books - Blackwing & Ravencry. With Crowfall, Ed McDonald, brings this epic narrative to an end. Characters The characters and the world-building have been the stand-out features in this series and they continue to be in this concluding book too. Ryhalt Galharrow is even more broken now and for some reason, behaves like the Fool from Robin Hobb's Farseer/Tawny man series. Read the full review at my site Digital Amrit

  11. 4 out of 5

    Micperk

    This was another difficult one to review, I've loved this series and this book did a good job of finishing it up. It took a bit for me to figure out why I wasn't as enthralled with this one as the previous two. I think the series should've been longer, for me it felt like this book was just pushing forward at breakneck speed to offer an ending to the story. Wasn't really any reveals or major details into the background of the nameless or the deep kings. From the beginning it felt like I knew exa This was another difficult one to review, I've loved this series and this book did a good job of finishing it up. It took a bit for me to figure out why I wasn't as enthralled with this one as the previous two. I think the series should've been longer, for me it felt like this book was just pushing forward at breakneck speed to offer an ending to the story. Wasn't really any reveals or major details into the background of the nameless or the deep kings. From the beginning it felt like I knew exactly how this would end and it was so focused on reaching that point that it never explored anything else. I never felt on edge or worried about anything. I'll still claim this as an excellent series and would recommend anyone who loves fantasy to take time out and read it. The final book was solid and delivered an ending with a hint of more to come.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Michalak

    Wow! That was some fucking ride!! Dark, monstrously brutal, visceral, grimmer than most grimdark novels but oh, the humanity. The wonderful, awful, beautiful, flawed humanity of the book. Hope in a dark world shines through and the ending was unexpected and really rather good :) A fabulous end to a great series. Am already missing the Misery.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    Here my journey in the misery will stop. I enjoyed the trilogy of Ed McDonald , the characters the world building and most of all the plot. The shifting side was pleasant too we don’t know who is the bad guy of the good people. But at the end of the book I nevertheless had a taste of not enough..however I will miss this old stubborn of Ryhalt and the Range. 4,5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    Quite a conclusion to a fine trilogy. Enjoyed this in the Grimdark sense! Meaning the book isn’t filled with laughter and sunny days but gritty tension, bloodshed and a good vs. evil conflict where even the good side can’t be counted upon to act decently. In this final episode we continue the tale of Captain Galharrow, our main POV, the guilt laden hero. He starts in a mostly self-imposed exile in the Misery, this tortured, fractured reality, the no-mans land between the conflicting forces in thi Quite a conclusion to a fine trilogy. Enjoyed this in the Grimdark sense! Meaning the book isn’t filled with laughter and sunny days but gritty tension, bloodshed and a good vs. evil conflict where even the good side can’t be counted upon to act decently. In this final episode we continue the tale of Captain Galharrow, our main POV, the guilt laden hero. He starts in a mostly self-imposed exile in the Misery, this tortured, fractured reality, the no-mans land between the conflicting forces in this world. In fact, he now seems rather more at one with the Misery and it’s poisonous magic than is good for him. Nonetheless he’s still determined to play a role opposing the evil Deep Kings, even if the Demi-gods he is allied with often seem little better. Dalharrow finds old allies, makes some new ones and, despite it being the third in the trilogy with quite a story behind it, I still found the storyline fresh and interesting. A nice running theme too in his familiarity with old, dead comrades who appear to him as ghosts. Maybe I’m a bit unsure about the final climax and ending. There is quite a magical undercurrent to this world, with a number of practitioners possessing powerful, magical skills. The climax involving these aspects did just get a little out of control for me. When magic is flung around so dramatically you wonder why the practitioners bother with humans, though in fairness the author does cleverly try to hold it under control with a critical human aspect. You probably won’t understand what I mean until you read it - which I heartily recommend you do. Summarising the trilogy, this series probably defines for me what Grimdark fantasy is. I don’t usually like to label books strongly but if any series is Grimdark, this is! That doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. Galharrow, and his companions, are fine, flawed heroes. There is normally a ‘never say die’ attitude, which I like, even when it seems despair should win out. Despite its dark intensity I found the series easy to read, devouring large chunks in single reading sessions. For a first trilogy, impressive. 4.5* for this book, 5* for the trilogy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Wonderful A great finale to a wonderful written series, well worth the time to read it. Highly recommended to all my good read friends.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shree143

    Damn! This is Some Great Stuff! You Should Try This! And if you haven't read this series yet then you're wasting your time, literally.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan

    Yeah, just finished the series... anddd.... I`m not very happy!!! The story was quite linear, no surprises, no risks involved, a lot of dialogues and (uninteresting) thinking (and this is on repeat) on the part of the main character and the list goes on... There are some nice things, like the images involving some details of the story from the Art of War, or others details from the main character past, but overall, didn`t help a lot. I wanted to give this one at least a four stars rating, but the t Yeah, just finished the series... anddd.... I`m not very happy!!! The story was quite linear, no surprises, no risks involved, a lot of dialogues and (uninteresting) thinking (and this is on repeat) on the part of the main character and the list goes on... There are some nice things, like the images involving some details of the story from the Art of War, or others details from the main character past, but overall, didn`t help a lot. I wanted to give this one at least a four stars rating, but the truth is that if feels more like a three, it wasn`t a bad read, but it hasn`t made true all my high expectations. Anyway, for me, McDonald remains a writer to keep an eye on, also, in the near future.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    Full review is here on my blog!~ Everything is coming to a head in this final volume of The Raven's Mark series. That said, I'll try my level best not to spoil anything from the first two books for those of you who haven't read them. But, I mean for those of you who haven't read them... go... go do that thing. :D Things between the godlike Nameless and their nemeses, the also-rather-godlike Deep Kings are coming right to a head, and where 90 years earlier, Crowfoot detonated a weapon that created t Full review is here on my blog!~ Everything is coming to a head in this final volume of The Raven's Mark series. That said, I'll try my level best not to spoil anything from the first two books for those of you who haven't read them. But, I mean for those of you who haven't read them... go... go do that thing. :D Things between the godlike Nameless and their nemeses, the also-rather-godlike Deep Kings are coming right to a head, and where 90 years earlier, Crowfoot detonated a weapon that created the pestilent land of the Misery, he plans to do it again, and Ryhalt Galharrow, Blackwing captain, Misery resident, seer of ghosts, and generally not bad dude... is set to lead an army through the Misery to its core to hopefully end this thing once and for all. This was a brilliant conclusion to the series. Very fast-paced and full of twists and turns. It's certainly a dark story, in a world that is often quite grim, but it's not totally devoid of light. Galharrow, for all of his faults, is actually not a bad guy, and he does what he can to help his friends. He does what is in their best interests from his point of view at any rate, which isn't always what they want, but sometimes what they need. Or what he needs. This story is told from the POV of Galharrow, as the last two were, and it's interesting to see this world from his point of view, especially considering how much he has changed over the course of this series, which has spanned more than an in-world decade overall. Galharrow is, just by the circumstances of his life, much, much different than he was in the first novel, but he hasn't lost that sort of snarky charm that has made him so easy for me to cheer for throughout. This volume, just like its two predecessors, was full of really great quotes. I have many, many highlights of just... well, deep thoughts with Ryhalt Galharrow, I guess. Thoughts on love, and loss, memory and guilt, time and aging. Time will numb you to anything. There is nothing that a determined human being cannot come to cope with in time. It doesn't mean that the pain of the loss is gone, or that it's embers cease to burn, deep in your core. It just changes. It changes from the incapacitating agony of a gut punch to the solid, deep aching of a broken bone. It becomes familiar. You carry it with you, accepted, never to leave. This was a fantastically written and well plotted out conclusion to The Raven's Mark series. I had a fairly good idea by about the 3/4 mark of the book what was actually going to go down to finish up the story, but I wasn't quite sure how it was going to come about, and so the book had me on the metaphorical edge of my seat for a lot of the end. It was a little predictable in that, and there was definitely a dash of deus ex machina, if I'm being honest, but.... I find that I didn't really mind so much. It was entertaining to me, and that's what counts to me. :) So, all told, I really liked this final installment. It wrapped up Galharrow's story quite well while leaving the world open for further exploration. Here's hoping that it gets explored! I definitely hope to read more from Ed McDonald in the future. 4.5/5 stars!~

  19. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    The end. Oh no sadness! But then I do like a good trilogy. 3 books and that is it. Gotta love when yo can actually finish a series on time. Right, so this world sucks. There is a crack in the sky, a place called Misery with things that will eat you. Acid rain. Evil kings and their minions waiting to attack. Yes, a shitty place that is going more shitty. A dark grey place. Then we have Ryhalt who has been living in the misery for years now, and who has a plan. Ryhalt has kept on falling deeper and The end. Oh no sadness! But then I do like a good trilogy. 3 books and that is it. Gotta love when yo can actually finish a series on time. Right, so this world sucks. There is a crack in the sky, a place called Misery with things that will eat you. Acid rain. Evil kings and their minions waiting to attack. Yes, a shitty place that is going more shitty. A dark grey place. Then we have Ryhalt who has been living in the misery for years now, and who has a plan. Ryhalt has kept on falling deeper and deeper since book 1. And now, well he is in deep and messed up. I can't say much, spoilers! But this is a great grey series. The world is just so, well shitty! In a good way. I like these messy characters. Sad to see them go, but glad it ended well.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Marielle

    Best one in the series! Absolutely loved it! A better ending than I'd expected...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)

    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. To make a long story short, there are only a few authors who manage to successfully deliver a perfect trilogy in my books. They come once in a blue moon and leave an everlasting impression on you with their characters, their worlds, their ideas, and their prose. When I first came across Blackwing, my heart was stolen and sealed in a lockbox for Ed McDonald to do whatever he wishes with it. With Ravencry, he manipulated my emotions and broke me d You can find my review on my blog by clicking here. To make a long story short, there are only a few authors who manage to successfully deliver a perfect trilogy in my books. They come once in a blue moon and leave an everlasting impression on you with their characters, their worlds, their ideas, and their prose. When I first came across Blackwing, my heart was stolen and sealed in a lockbox for Ed McDonald to do whatever he wishes with it. With Ravencry, he manipulated my emotions and broke me down to my knees. What was in store for me in his grand finale was sure to kill me as you can’t expect Ed McDonald to not flex his creativity muscles once he goes up the stage. The third and final chapter to his dark fantasy trilogy thus delivers the epic and gritty conclusion to the adventures of Blackwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow. What is Crowfall about? Set six years after the events that transpired in Ravencry, the story continues to unravel the world-ending war between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings while Ryhalt Galharrow ventures in the Misery accompanied by the ghosts of his past and the creatures of the land. With only the weakened Nameless—the gods who protect the Republic—serving as the last line of defense, the future looks bleak and danger roams just around the corner. It’s when the Blackwing captains who serve the Nameless are taken out of the equation one by one that Ryhalt Galharrow has to further sharpen his senses to embark on his final mission into the Misery before the Deep Kings deliver the killing blow as their strength grows exponentially by the second. To beautifully wrap-up the adventures in the Misery, Ed McDonald’s approach to this story focused greatly on the gritty and damaged protagonist, Ryhalt Galharrow. Where he starts off as a pawn in a giant game of chess between entities that were out of his reach, he now finds himself in the middle of the cruel and complex schemes at play. Psychologically-damaged by the decisions that were made and the actions of others that he kept close to his heart, he now lives a life of solitude, roaming in the deadly plains looking for solace. What Ed McDonald accomplishes with this protagonist is a stellar example of a perfectly-flawed hero whose experience in the world is brilliantly translated through his way of life and his perception of the world. The first-person narration allowed the reader to deeply connect with his dilemmas and the weight of the burden that he has to carry around as he looks out for the well-being of others before his own sanity. It would be a mistake to consider this finale—and trilogy—anything but a classic with its masterfully-paced, beautifully-written and cleverly-developed story. From the characters that are introduced to the creatures who rise from the dark recesses of the world, Ed McDonald achieves the impossible as every little detail lives and breathes within this world. While the Misery was a threat to every mortal’s life in Blackwing, Ryhalt Galharrow now becomes one with his environment as he embraces the treacherous and sinister lands to survive the events that unfold in Crowfall. While the world in itself might seem bleak to the unwary, Ed McDonald creates the perfect blend as he gives his story so much heart and hope that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t always as small as you would imagine. With plenty of action, the story still delivers an engrossing and emotional tale for fans to experience as the Raven’s Mark trilogy comes to an end. Crowfall is the long-awaited epic finale where creativity meets passion as Ed McDonald creates the perfect grim playground in which he showcases his exquisite prose filled with darkness, hope, love, and betrayal. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Ace Books for sending me a copy for review! Yours truly, Lashaan | Blogger and Book Reviewer Official blog: https://bookidote.com/

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jon Adams

    Nailed it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Koeur

    Rating: 4.7/5 Review: Wow, what awesome cover art. The world building is what sets this novel apart from others in the genre. It is built around the characters in order to influence the direction of the story line. Very clever writing, as it also develops the characters in various ways as to be mesmerizing at times. This novel does not lack in creativity or poignancy. The distressed often have personal insights that are not only deeply appropriate for the scene but might churn the thoughts of the Rating: 4.7/5 Review: Wow, what awesome cover art. The world building is what sets this novel apart from others in the genre. It is built around the characters in order to influence the direction of the story line. Very clever writing, as it also develops the characters in various ways as to be mesmerizing at times. This novel does not lack in creativity or poignancy. The distressed often have personal insights that are not only deeply appropriate for the scene but might churn the thoughts of the reader to consternation, bereft of the classic comfortable read of the detached. The plot device(s) were consistent with the theme of the novel where Ryhalt is the primal focus and pivotal player in everything that occurs. For example, as Ryhalt is infused with power from the Misery the dire situations should pose no threat. Yet, somehow he is physically limited or constrained in some way that enables the scene to move and develop to an emotional state. The opposite of the former is used often as well, where he is diminished beyond comprehension but somehow becomes super human as the situation demands to further the development towards the grande finale. These instances drive much of the scene and story lines throughout the novel. One reviewer thought the ending was “too pat”, whatever the fuk that means. I thought it was in direct opposition to what came before and diminished Ryhalt’s character to a marked degree. But that is creative license and in no way takes away from the novel entire. Let’s just say that my preference was not fulfilled. A very good read that leaves room for more.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rob Hayes

    An adrenaline-fueled ending to a fantastic series. A truly desolately hopeful fantasy. Crowfall is book 3 of Ed McDonald's debut series, Raven's Mark, and the final(?) journey of Ryhalt Galharrow. And what a journey it has been. Seeing the way Ed has developed the character across the trials and tribulations of these 3 books has been a pleasure, and the narrator Colin Mace should be applauded for bringing Galharrow to life in such a fantastic way. Book 3 skips ahead a bit of time and we start with An adrenaline-fueled ending to a fantastic series. A truly desolately hopeful fantasy. Crowfall is book 3 of Ed McDonald's debut series, Raven's Mark, and the final(?) journey of Ryhalt Galharrow. And what a journey it has been. Seeing the way Ed has developed the character across the trials and tribulations of these 3 books has been a pleasure, and the narrator Colin Mace should be applauded for bringing Galharrow to life in such a fantastic way. Book 3 skips ahead a bit of time and we start with Galharrow living in and off the Misery, a desolate wasteland of misshapen horrors, physics gone awry, and wild stray magic. It deals with the endgame from the outset, and though there are a few diversions, never loses sight of the epic final confrontation it builds to all the way. Ed has a philosophically poetical way with the prose that reminds me of Mark Lawrence. Rarely a page goes by without a line that needs further consideration, not just for the meaning, but also for the way the words run together to give the meaning a delivery that hits home. I always struggle to review book 3s of a series, but suffice it to say I loved this one almost as much as the previous 2 books. The philosophising occasionally got a bit out of hand, but that's only a minor gripe in the scheme of things. A fantastic end to a fantastic series. 5 stars and well earned.

  25. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Scritchfield

    Crowfall delivers. McDonald manages to work a substantial amount of worldbuilding into his third book so that a number of the history questions I had were answered. Not all of them. This world feels ancient, and she hides her secrets well. I hope to learn more about her someday. McDonald's writing (in Ryhalt's voice) continues strong throughout, and the philosophical journey the reader takes with Ryhalt over the series is impressive. From cranky man with a deathwish to cranky man with a...lifewish Crowfall delivers. McDonald manages to work a substantial amount of worldbuilding into his third book so that a number of the history questions I had were answered. Not all of them. This world feels ancient, and she hides her secrets well. I hope to learn more about her someday. McDonald's writing (in Ryhalt's voice) continues strong throughout, and the philosophical journey the reader takes with Ryhalt over the series is impressive. From cranky man with a deathwish to cranky man with a...lifewish? That's a thing, right? There is more than enough to convey the story without ever feeling bogged down while painting a grim portrait girded with rays of hope. It's a large reason I'll continue coming back to these books in the future. Even when everything seems lost, grim and dark, you believe in Ryhalt. You want him to succeed. He want him to earn his ending. Spoiler: He does. Crowfall is a stunning conclusion to the Raven's Mark trilogy, and for my money the best of the three. McDonald never lets misery leech all of the hope from his audience, and the result is a story that is visceral while also philosophical, unique in setting, and bold in presentation. McDonald never lets his reader sink deeper than his protagonist, and he is always ready to offer a hand through the supporting cast.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Jackson

    A fulfilling conclusion to a bleak, beautiful, spectacularly written trilogy. Macdonald's world is pitch-black, horrifically eerie, but not without hope; it's immensely enjoyable besides. Well worth your time.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    *copy from the publisher in exchange for a review* Crowfall is the conclusion to Ed McDonald’s “Raven’s Mark” series. I’ve been a big fan of the series since the get-go. There’s something about the hard-bitten cynicism of (most of) the characters, the haut-feudal world run by gangs of squabbling, unknowable gods, and the twisted, broken border between them which makes for a compelling read. That compulsion is, of course, helped along by the well observed and convincing characterisation. At the cen *copy from the publisher in exchange for a review* Crowfall is the conclusion to Ed McDonald’s “Raven’s Mark” series. I’ve been a big fan of the series since the get-go. There’s something about the hard-bitten cynicism of (most of) the characters, the haut-feudal world run by gangs of squabbling, unknowable gods, and the twisted, broken border between them which makes for a compelling read. That compulsion is, of course, helped along by the well observed and convincing characterisation. At the centre of the series stands Galharrow, a captain of the Blackwing, a special-circumstances group thrown together by one of the horrifying Nameless, the sorcerous Powers that rule his part of the world. The Blackwing do all sorts of dirty jobs for their master, usually involving fighting against the encroachments of the Deep Kings, an entirely different, even more awful group of sorcerous horrors. Galharrow has always been hard-bitten and lethal, a person struggling under a cloud of internalised guilt and rage, whilst having enough self-awareness of his own flaws to keep moving forward. This Galharrow, however, is something new. Exposed to the influence of The Misery, the liminal land twisted by magical weaponry, Galharrow is becoming less and less human, seeming to be deliberately walking down the path ending in monstrosity and madness. At the same time, his voice remains familiar on the page – acerbic, flensingly unforgiving, pragmatic, occasionally brutal. There’s a construction here of a person struggling to do what they believe is right, fighting against themselves as much as anyone else. In this struggle – and the others throughout the text, Galharrow is aided by a wonderfully drawn cast. There’s the Nameless, whose otherworldly visits tend to end in an explosive demise. There’s those of Galharrow’s friends who remain – most of them in some way broken or twisted by the events of the past. And then there’s the enemies. Oh my, so many enemies. If you’re coming to Crowfall, you probably already know about the Deep Kings, the ancient monstrosities that want to take the already unpleasant world our cast lives in and make it worse – replacing individuality with a commonality of thought and purpose in every individual, that purpose being service and worship of those Kings. They’re unknowable and malevolent, and the fusion of the scale of their thoughts and designs with a very personal pettiness is done with pitch perfect precision. They’re joined by a whole host of new awfulness, though, as horrors crawl out of the Misery which will make your skin crawl. The Misery itself is as artfully drawn as ever – a wasteland of constantly shifting norms, populated with creatures which tend to be, tactfully, less than benign. The ever-changing ground of the Misery is shaped by some truly psychedelic prose, and the mental and physical pressure it exerts on those within it is often felt by the reader as well. The Misery is a weird, terrible place, where weird, horrible things happen. But for all that, it feels like a living place, not just words on a page. Admittedly, it’s not somewhere you’d want to go on holiday (or ever, really), but it’s vividly described, even if the pictures it will paint in your mind are ones you’d rather not have seen in the first place. And outside the Misery, the world continues. The soaring heights of the city of Valengrad still stand tall. At the same time, strange rains are falling, and beneath them the streets feel narrower, darker, more lethal than they did before. And it wasn’t exactly a high bar to start with. But in the slow-dripping desperation of Valengrad is wrapped the sensation of implacability, the sense of endings. As the Deep Kings once more look to the Misery, searching for ways to break through and end their Nameless rivals, with everyone else caught in the middle, it’s difficult to see the existing system as sustainable, even as those within it struggle to maintain it, struggle to declare its normality, struggle to survive. There’s a wonderful feeling of tension wired through the pages, each one carrying the feel of an indrawn breath as the ice beneath your feet begins to crack. Each page you’re listening for the creak a little more, and getting a little closer to the end. But there’s no safety there, no. This is a story which builds and builds and builds on the foundations laid by its predecessors, but isn’t afraid to tear down what it’s built, one brick at a time, to bring about an ending which feels right, feels true, and packs a serious emotional punch. I won’t get into the plot, for fear of spoilers, but I will say this: this is the ending to a series filled with blood, grime and horror. It’s the end of a series of people facing up to darkness, in others and in themselves. It’s the end of a series where the heroes are people doing their jobs, and willing to do terrible things. It’s the end of a series which was never afraid to show emotional depth, or how easy it is to hide those emotions away. It’s the end of a series which has, in the past, blown up entire regions, laced in horror and washed down in gore. This is the climax of a series which has given us some genuinely impressive endings. It. Does. Not. Disappoint. Crowfall is, in sum, a wonderful end to a sequence that can be regarded as modern classics. If you’re wondering if it’s worth reading, then the answer is simple: Yes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cameron Johnston

    Grimdark with heart - an explosive, raw and very fitting conclusion to the Raven's Mark trilogy. Years have passed since the end of book 2 and Galharrow has been changed in horrific ways from his time in the Misery. He has a plan, the Nameless have plans within plans, and The Deep Kings have their own plans set against all mankind in this adrenaline-fuelled end to the series. The world is being torn apart, and dark magic and dreadful creatures abound - which is why it's such a joy to explore the m Grimdark with heart - an explosive, raw and very fitting conclusion to the Raven's Mark trilogy. Years have passed since the end of book 2 and Galharrow has been changed in horrific ways from his time in the Misery. He has a plan, the Nameless have plans within plans, and The Deep Kings have their own plans set against all mankind in this adrenaline-fuelled end to the series. The world is being torn apart, and dark magic and dreadful creatures abound - which is why it's such a joy to explore the mystery and nature of the Misery in this book. The action is fraught, and the characterisation is superb. I can't wait to see what Ed McDonald comes up with next!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Minx

    Crowfall is the third book in the Raven’s Mark series and it was a truly visceral read filled with raw emotion, schemes, and double-crosses. This story picks up six years after the end of Ravencry and much has changed over the years since Ryhalt Galharrow chose to live in isolation in the wastelands of the Misery. Spending time there was not safe or healthy and to willingly subject oneself to such a sentence was pure insanity. Which was exactly what was taking place with Ryhalt. The writing desc Crowfall is the third book in the Raven’s Mark series and it was a truly visceral read filled with raw emotion, schemes, and double-crosses. This story picks up six years after the end of Ravencry and much has changed over the years since Ryhalt Galharrow chose to live in isolation in the wastelands of the Misery. Spending time there was not safe or healthy and to willingly subject oneself to such a sentence was pure insanity. Which was exactly what was taking place with Ryhalt. The writing describing his decent into madness was enthralling because, through it all, there remained an awareness that Ryhalt was holding firm, staying just sane enough, to follow through on a bigger picture plan that he committed to years ago. Which coincidentally made choices, made on Ryhalt’s part, in the previous book, make much more sense. Ryhalt chose to descend into the Misery, come what may, but he always held a part of himself back from her, a part which she wanted. The relationship between Ryhalt and the Misery was well written and complex. She had always been on the periphery but in this story, there is a true understanding of the Misery’s place in all things which was fascinating and horrific. I loved that! With time spent in the Misery, Ryhalt was a changed man, barely fit for society, which led to complications when he returned to town. Despite the challenges, he knew the time for action was drawing near and he had to make the most of the moments he had left. I loved how he used his time to settle some old scores, make amends for past transgressions, and to finally have some closure. A lot was unpacked in this story and tied together. I did not think that all the questions I had would be handled but they were and it was stunningly done! What makes this series memorable is Ryhalt Galharrow. His character’s development was nothing short of a deep-seated and impactful journey. To hear his story told through his narrative adds a depth of feeling filled with remorse, honor, and resignation. Everything he did was to make whatever difference he could for the existence of others but never for himself. He counted himself out a long time ago but still carried on to do what he could in the time he had left. He was admirable but not in a way that most would see. For so many reasons I loved his character but above all else it was his commitment to what held his heart that endeared me to him. Crowfall is by no means a love story but there is an element of love and commitment that would make any romantic swoon, it is just buried under layers of blood, sacrifice, and dystopia. Which happens to appeal to me, so there you go. If you have not started this series, then I urge you start today. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain! This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Penguin Random House. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Excellent wrap-up for Galharrow's story. As the march is on for the final battle, Ryhalt Galharrow fights his own battle for atonement of all the torment he has carried for so many years. He's an amazing character set in the perplexing setting of The Misery. I've enjoyed the memorable characters, creatures, and scenery of this totally unique world. Hope to hear more from Ed McDonald.

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