Ravencry (Raven’s Mark #2) by Ed McDonald

ravenBlackwing (Raven’s Mark #1) was one of my favourite books last year.  Ed McDonald was a new voice on the grimdark scene, his debut was rich in creativity and it was one of those books that although it brimmed with brutality also managed to maintain a sense of hope and an element of much needed humour.  Ravencry is the second in series and I was very keen to pick this one up and read once again the trials and tribulations of Captain Ryhalt Galharrow.  I will say from the outset that Ravencry does not disappoint.

It’s been four years since the siege.  Galharrow seems to be fairly settled in terms of an important position, a decent home and the respect of his colleagues.  It doesn’t take a genius though to see that he hasn’t fully come to terms with certain events and alcohol plays a large part in keeping him propped up.

Within a few chapters it becomes fairly obvious that trouble is once again brewing, although on the face of it it’s difficult to pin down exactly what shape it will take.  A stolen artefact, countless visions of a ‘bright lady’ that have led to a disturbing growth in numbers of a new religious cult coupled with the appearance of some suspicious characters – who become even more suspect when it’s discovered that they’ve already died at least once already – these things just don’t sit well.

I’m not really going to go into the plot at all.  For me, I did find that it meandered a little at the beginning before becoming a real threat – which, is fair enough.  It took time for Ryhalt to investigate things and at first he was floundering a little until the penny finally dropped and the realisation of what was actually about to take place became evident.

What I thoroughly enjoyed about Ravencry was the return to a world that has been so well established and the joy of spending time with characters that are simply great to read about.  Galharrow, and Nenn, are such persuasive characters.  Galharrow in particular.  He’s so easy to read and such a great narrator.  He gets himself into countless desperate situations that there really doesn’t seem any likelihood of coming back from and yet with sheer determination he manages to find a way, be it swimming through a filthy canal, scouring the sewers or once again tracking into the very heart of the Misery with all its evil critters and haunted beings in order to stop a force against seemingly impossible odds.

I also admit that I love the style of writing.  Mr McDonald has a vivid imagination and a way with words that makes the world and the terrors it holds simply jump off the page.  There’s no shortage of death and heartbreak in these pages and the author undoubtedly made some difficult decisions.  There are numerous fights and skirmishes and unspeakable crimes and I’m hard pressed to decide which is worse between the horrors unfolding in the City or Galharrow’s own personal journey through hell when he spends more time than is wise in the Misery.  I’m probably painting a grim picture here but with good reason I think.  Strangely enough, although the overall threat didn’t seem quite as real in this instalment (or at least the focus seems to have changed) the death and subsequent despair undoubtedly reached a high.

In terms of criticisms.  No deal breakers here fortunately.  Thankfully this doesn’t fall victim to ‘middle book syndrome’.  I think the only thing I would mention is that I felt the pacing of the first half stalled a little.  I also felt an element of near death experience fatigue on behalf of Galharrow – in fact I don’t know how he just didn’t fall over into a ditch and stay there at one point because he seemed to have had such a lot thrown at him and certainly more than most people could survive.  That being said – I am relieved that he didn’t fall into said ditch.

Overall this was a great read and one that really sets the stall out for the final instalment.  A fine demonstration of writing prowess and an author to keep firmly on the ‘must read’ list.

I received a copy through Negalley, courtesy of the publishers. for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.




9 Responses to “Ravencry (Raven’s Mark #2) by Ed McDonald”

  1. Tammy

    I love hearing that the second book is wonderful as well. This series is definitely on my TBR at some point. And that cover is gorgeous! Actually, both covers are:-)

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’m eagerly awaiting my copy! I’ve been hearing some wonderful things about this sequel!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s good – and I find myself really curious about how he’ll manage to conclude it all.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    In the hands of a skilled writer (and this author seems to be one), even the grimmest kind of tale can be as gripping and fascinating as a less harrowing story: I have not read this series yet, but I will certainly keep your recommendation in mind, since this looks to be a new voice to keep on my radar.
    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I like his style and I look forward to seeing how he concludes everything. I think that will be the key really.
      Lynn 😀

  4. sjhigbee

    I love that cover – and thank you for a wonderful review, Lynn:). However… I’m guessing this one is bit on the bleak side for me. I’m not a huge fan of grimdark – especially right now.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Fair enough. Grimdark certainly isn’t for everyone and I completely understand why – sometimes it can become a little bit overwhelming.
      Lynn 😀

  5. TTT: Good reads 2018 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Ravencry by Ed McDonald […]

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