Review: Crowfall by Ed McDonald


This has been a pretty good year for me and series conclusions, and so when this came to my attention on ye olde NetGalley, I couldn’t resist throwing in my request, because I’ve really enjoyed Galharrow’s exploits thusfar!

So, thanks to the author as well as Ace via NetGalley for the review copy.

A sorcerous 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 they 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–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.

“Some love grows like fruit on a tree, growing slowly as it soaks up the earth. But sometimes it just takes you, and there’s nothing you, or I, or anyone else can do about it. It’s a storm. It’s an ocean wave, swamping you. If you love someone, it’s not about the time spent. It’s about what you had in the moments that you had it. Nothing lasts forever. Not even the Nameless.”

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. 😀

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 its 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. 🙂

This whole series has reminded me a lot of Trigun, with Galharrow as a… much less silly Vash, in a way. This is not at all a complaint – the world presented here gives me this same… desperate, wastelandish vibe, with more-human-than-human battles…. only grimmer. ^_^

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!~


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