Well, I absolutely loved Blackwing. So much so I actually cheated my own rating system to give it the 5 stars it deserved. It still remains the only book I have done that for. So when Ravencry released I jumped straight on it, expecting another wild and wonderful ride full of despair, misery, nihilism, and hope.
I was not disappointed.
Ravencry picks up a few years after the events of Blackwing and the world has moved on a bit. Ryhalt has, if anything, become more of a belligerent arsehole determined to falsely prove to everyone that he doesn’t care. The nameless and the deep kings are still locked in their eternal battle, but there is a new threat rising, seditious and nebulous… religion.
The book is quite different to the first one. Gone is the mystery, that wonder at what the Misery is and the things it contains. The oppressive power of the deep kings and the nameless are vague concepts rather than at the forefront of the tale. Instead we have Ryhalt trying to uncover a new plot against his city and his people, one that in many ways feels a little disconnected from the larger narrative. Honestly, after finishing the book and letting it sit, it feels like a 2nd book in a trilogy. The plot happened and some changes were felt across the world, but it does feel more like the major changes are all character based. The world at large stays the same, but by the gods does Ryhalt go through some changes.
It deals with some interesting issues, including the march toward fatherhood, and the rise of religious power within a military state. It does them both incredibly well and hangs such emotional weight on each and every one of Ryhalt’s choices and actions, that we truly feel the weight of the world dragging his shoulders down every step of the way.
As with Blackwing, the narration was excellent. Colin Mace does an amazing job and really brings Ryhalt to life. Rarely has it felt to me that a narrator has such a hang of the character.
I have little else to say. I loved this one almost as much as book 1, but not quite. The Misery felt less mysterious and a touch less dangerous. And even though I think there is a good reason for that, the world lost something because of it.
Overall, 4 stars. I loved Ravencry and I am eagerly chomping at the bit for book 3!