Book Review: The Merciful Crow

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, murder, mercy killings, animal abuse, discussion of discrimination/caste system.

513-1+H1+fLOfficial Blurb:

One way or another, we always feed the crows.

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?

My Take: 5/5 Stars

I will follow until I must lead. I will shield until I must strike. I will fight until I must heal.

~ Margaret Owen

Margaret Owen’s debut THE MERCIFUL CROW lived up to expectations. I knew almost from page one that I would love this book. It had me right from the beginning with its unique world, interesting social structures, and new magic system. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a well-developed magic system. In my opinion, when it comes to designing magic, “keep it simple, stupid” is the way to go, and Margaret Owen kept it simple, yet found intricate ways to draw on that simplicity. It was a lovely design.

The found family in this book is also a breath of fresh air. I love that found family stories are becoming so popular, because they ring true and honest to me. This one was no exception. The main character was found, then she in turn found others, despite their differences, which was a beautiful message I want to hear more often.

I also weirdly appreciated the fact that the love interest wasn’t who I expected it to be from jump, which was great. In that aspect, The Merciful Crow was reminiscent of Spin the Dawn, another book with a love interest that wasn’t who I initially expected. Points for that! I read so much YA fantasy that when you can take me by surprise with something, you’ve done a great job!

All in all, I agree with the recommendation that this is a book for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake, and I am definitely looking forward to the next installment!

Question of the Day: What is one of your favorite magic systems?

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❤ Always,