The Book of the Crowman by Joseph D’Lacey
The Book of the Crowman is the concluding part of the Black Dawn story told by Joseph D’Lacey. The story started with Black Feathers (my review here). BotC picks up immediately where Black Dawn ended and we continue Gordon’s journey to find the Crowman and Megan’s story to become a keeper. Just a quick recap. This story is set in two timeframes with two different voices. Gordon is pre apocalypse. In his story the world is starting to rebel against the constant misuse foisted upon it by humans, strong weather, earthquakes, starvation, disease, are the beginning of the end. Enforcers called the Ward keep the populace in control using the harshest methods. The Ward fear a prophecy which has been told about the Crowman and are determined to find him and eliminate him. Gordon, on the run from the Ward similarly wants to find the Crowman. Set many years in the future in a much more simplified, post apocalyptic time is Megan. The Crowman appears to Megan one day thereby determining her future as a keeper. Megan will be responsible for keeping the legend of the Crowman alive for the next generation.
Book No.2 continues with Gordon’s trek across the country, desperately in search of the Crowman and apparently always just behind him. He meets and sees many strange things along the way, some of which are horrendous and unrepeatable. Unbeknown to himself he is also gathering something of a reputation. Meting out justice in fast and ruthless fashion and continually evading the clutches of the Ward. At the same time a good proportion of the population, tired of their life and disillusioned by the Ward are starting their own resistance movement, a green army, spurred on by the myth of the Crowman who they see ultimately as their champion of hope.
Back to the future and Megan has her own problems to overcome. she will receive a taste of what being a keeper will actually involve and it’s somewhat bitter. Her life will be so far removed from everything she ever knew before and she needs to come to terms with not only that and her new found duties but also a couple of other revelations.
I enjoyed the fact that both characters had developed for the conclusion. Gordon more so than Megan really. Gordon is now a man. He’s confident and feels like the earth gives him power. He has become a formidable opponent for the Ward and one that you can’t help feeling will succeed against all odds.
The whole story is heading in one direction. Conflict. The outcome of which will determine the future. Although, call me foolish but given that Megan is writing the story from the future does give you an idea of how certain things will go.
Apart from a bit of a slow start I thought the conclusion of the story was really gripping and in spite of the fact that I already had an idea of what was going to happen, I did race forward at breakneck speed.
In terms of criticisms, I understand that this was originally intended as a one book story that developed into two. I think it could have benefitted from maybe a little extra cutting and being kept as one book. There is a definite message to the story and in parts it can become a little bit repetitive but I didn’t particularly feel it was done in a preachy kind of way. Yes, the author is making a point but he’s found a great story as a vehicle to promote this message. The only other point I would make is that I felt like the ending was a tiny bit flat – which is perhaps the wrong phrase. I do think it was an appropriate ending, I also think it’s the ending I was expecting but somehow I just wanted something a little bit more.
I mentioned in my review of No.1 that this is dark fantasy and this definitely remains the case here. There are certainly a few scenes that people may be uncomfortable with – personally I thought they fit well with the story and context but there is definitely a bit of blood and gore going on not to mention torture, cannibalism, conflict. These are definitely dark days for sure.
Overall a very satisfying read with only a few niggles.
I received a copy of this from Netgalley in return for my honest opinion.