I’m going to keep this short. If you haven’t already read the first book in the series, Blackwing, (1) you’re crazy, (2) go read my review of Blackwing. If you have read Blackwing, then I probably don’t need to do much convincing. Ravencry is a work very much like Blackwing and equally as awesome as Blackwing but that builds on Blackwing and does its own thing.
Ravencry takes place four years after the victory over the Deep Kings in Blackwing. Money is up for Ryhalt Galharrow’s blackwings and trouble out of the Misery is down. But the Deep Kings have not been idle in that four year span, a god-artifact goes missing, and a new cult is in town.
Oh, and you remember Saravor? Saravor shows back up. You knew it would happen and damned if there still isn’t a pit in your stomach when it does.
Of course Ryhalt again finds himself right in the middle of the shit.
McDonald does everything right in Ravencry that he did right in Blackwing—bloody action set pieces, killer prose, ingenious worldbuilding, and careful, skillful plotting. But that alone doesn’t tell you much. A sequel needs to do more than that. Ravencry does. There is more madness from the Deep Kings and a truly epic trip to the Misery. So much of what Blackwing work so well—and why I called it “Grimdark with Heart”—was Ryhalt’s first person ruminations. How do you keep that sort of thing fresh? Craft, that’s how.
Ryhalt can be a mean S.O.B., but it is easy to like someone with his grit. Robert E. Howard would have liked Ryhalt.
Knowing your weapons helps put you at ease before the storm hits. Lets you feel that you’ve done everything in your power to see yourself through. Of course, the smartest thing to do is turn around and ride back the way you came as fast as you can. But we run when we can, 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.
5 of 5 Stars.
Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a review copy of Ravencry via NetGalley.