Published by Henry Holt (BYR) on July 30, 2019
Series: The Merciful Crow #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Romance
Source: Bought ecopy
A future chieftain.
Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.
A fugitive prince.
When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.
A too-cunning bodyguard.
Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?
The Merciful Crow is the first book in the young adult fantasy series by the same name from author Margaret Owen. I have no idea why it has taken me so long to jump on the Merciful Crow train, but with the second book releasing next month, I finally pulled out my ecopy of this book that was waiting patiently on my kindle and dove right in. (if you are interested, Fierce Reads is currently doing a readalong with all kinds of cool checks in and events in anticipation of book two’s release next month. I have a whole blog post with more information on that readalong HERE. There is still a week left if you want to join in! At first, I was keeping pace with the weekly chapters, but then I got so invested in the book that I just had to keep reading when I hit the end of the chapter allotment, and before I knew it I was done with the book too soon! I can’t wait to dive into book 2- The Faithless Hawk!
In the Merciful Crow, we meet our main character Fie. Fie is a crow, which is the caste that is responsible for bringing mercy to those individuals inflicted with the deadly plague, by killing them and honoring their bodies with a burial pyre. The crows are the treated like dirt though, with all of the other castes in the world looking down on them. Each of the castes is a different type of bird, Crows, Phoenixes, swans, hawks, etc, which reminded me a little of Kaitlyn Davis’ fantasy (the Raven and the Dove) When Fie, her father and their band of fellow crows are called to bring Mercy to the dying Prince, they are in for the surprise of their life when they leave town with a not so dead prince, and his body guard double, set on getting revenge on his evil step-mother. And so they all set off on a quest to deliver the prince to some allies. But things get complicated when basically everyone is trying to kill them.
I enjoyed the characters in this book, though some of the secondary characters like the band of crows really faded into the background without me learning much (or anything) about them. Our main characters were Fie, Prince Jas and his bodyguard/double, Tavin. I loved Tavin! He was easily my favorite character. I liked Fie as well and I admired her sense of morality and ability to power through tough times. I was hoping for a little bit more depth from Jas though. I don’t feel like I got to know him all that well in this book, and I am very much looking forward to getting to know him better in the next novel. I believe that will really be his time to shine (or to disappoint me…but I hope not!) In this world, each caste has witches and non-witch individuals, each with their own abilities. Crow witches can use teeth from different individuals to call upon their owners powers. The whole teeth aspect of the story was pretty cool, and kind of reminded me of All the Stars and Teeth.
Overall, I really enjoyed this fantasy. It is great for lovers of quest style worlds with political issues coloring a lot of life. It is easy to see that this is part one of a bigger story, and I can’t wait to see what direction the plot will turn in next. There was a nice romance in this book, but of course I am hoping for a lot more in that department in the future. I know one thing for sure…I am super read for The Faithless Hawk right now!
Mark your calendar with all our #MercifulCrowReadalong dates below:
Week 1 – July 6
Part One: Sinners and Queens
Chapters 1-8: Team FierceReads
Week 2 – July 13
Part Two: Traitors and Chiefs
Chapters 9-16: @ForeverYoungAdult
Week 3 – July 20
Part Three: Bastards and Gods
Chapters 17-The End: @BookCrushin
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2020 Tackle My TBR Reading Challenge
- Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge 2020