The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)
A future chieftainFie 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 princeWhen 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 bodyguardHawk 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 (The Merciful Crow, #1) Details

TitleThe Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 30th, 2019
PublisherHenry Holt (BYR)
ISBN-139781250191922
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1) Review

  • شيماء ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Crows have long suffered under the reputation of being *bad* but I’m so glad they’re finally getting the representation they deserve. Somewhere, in Ketterdam, Kaz Brekker is nodding approvingly although it might be because he just plucked out someone’s eyeballs
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  • Nick
    January 1, 1970
    ever since i read six of crows, everything with crows intrigues me
  • Tucker
    January 1, 1970
    Edit: They're still evil. I mean why do you think a group of them is called "A Murder" A MURDER!!!!!CROWS AREN'T MERCIFUL!!! THEY ARE EVIL
  • Anissa
    January 1, 1970
    This book felt so different - the way it read, the characters, the world. It was so unique and whilst there was so much to the world building I loved how more and more was revealed as I went along. Fie is a firecracker, I love her.
  • Emily A. Duncan
    January 1, 1970
    [SCREAMS INTO HANDS]
  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    “Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats.” That’s one way to start a book!2019 is coming for my wallet.
  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. YA fantasy heard me bitching and came hard. First SORCERY OF THORNS and now THE MERCIFUL CROW. I'm eating my words, people.Get this on your radar!Review to come at the blog closer to release.4.5 (probably) stars** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
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  • Margaret Owen
    January 1, 1970
    Wait, I seriously get to rate and review my own book? Rad. So my completely unbiased review is that it made me laugh, cry, and single-handedly put Ben & Jerry's grandchildren through med school. And that was just from writing the dang thing.Anyway, I hope y'all like it! I made it myself!
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  • Gaby (lookingatbooks)
    January 1, 1970
    I JUST GOT THIS ONE IN THE MAIL AND IM FREAKING OUT!! THIS IS THE FIRST PHYSICAL ARC IVE EVER RECEIVED AND I CANT WAIT TO READ IT!
  • ✨Brithanie Faith✨
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review!Ladies and gentleman- I present to you- one of (if not my most) anticipated reads of 2019! All it took was a quick read through of the synopsis for me to know that I needed to get my hands on this book as soon as possible! A future cheiftain, a fugitive prince, and a too-cunning bodyguard? Yes please! SOLD! Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake? Abso-freaking-lutely! This book DID NOT disappoint!I pick 4.5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review!Ladies and gentleman- I present to you- one of (if not my most) anticipated reads of 2019! All it took was a quick read through of the synopsis for me to know that I needed to get my hands on this book as soon as possible! A future cheiftain, a fugitive prince, and a too-cunning bodyguard? Yes please! SOLD! Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Kendare Blake? Abso-freaking-lutely! This book DID NOT disappoint!I picked this one up thinking it'd probably be the first book I completed in May, but I absolutely FLEW through this and ended up finishing it in April! I can't remember who it was that brought this book to my attention, but I'm eternally grateful either way and I couldn't recommend this enough! It has just about everything I look for in a YA fantasy novel, and it definitely surprised me in more ways than one! The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen comes out at the end of July, and I'm calling it now- this is definitely going to be one of my top 5 reads of summer 2019!
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    I was told by the author that I would probably enjoy this book after I showed her a jar of human teeth*.Interpret that as you will. I, however, am excited 😈*they're my baby teeth okay!!! i'm not a creeper!!!
  • Jamie Pacton
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my friends. This book is breathtaking. My only regret in reading it so early is that it's not published yet, so I can't buy about 50 copies for all the writers and YA fantasy lovers in my life. (Next holiday season, hopefully). Let's start with worldbuilding: from the first page, you know you're in the hands of a master. We're talking Jemisin or Rothfuss level in terms of attention to detail and careful, brilliant planning of social structures, political systems, religions, and the personal i Oh my friends. This book is breathtaking. My only regret in reading it so early is that it's not published yet, so I can't buy about 50 copies for all the writers and YA fantasy lovers in my life. (Next holiday season, hopefully). Let's start with worldbuilding: from the first page, you know you're in the hands of a master. We're talking Jemisin or Rothfuss level in terms of attention to detail and careful, brilliant planning of social structures, political systems, religions, and the personal implications of all those. Beautifully wrought and full of surprises, there are haunting echoes of our own world and elements so beyond our experieince that I'm still processing them (ahem, tiered city, mammoth riders). Every part of this story seeped into my bones and I dreamt about it for multiple nights. (You know the kinds of books that do that. This one will stay with you for a long time afterwards). On to the characters: The characters--especially heroine Fie-- are compelling and they breathe (and dance, kill, swear, fight, draw magic from teeth, and much more). Secondary characters are expertly woven and they do more than prop up the main character. The plot is fast-paced and rises organically as the action proceeds. For the sake of no spoilers, I'll leave it at that. In terms of the nuts and bolts of writing, this book offers a clinic in how to combine exposition with narration; how to craft dialogue to enhance character; and, throughout, Owen plays with language with a cleverness and intelligence that shows just how flexible (and fun) our language can be. Even if you hate YA fantasy, buy this book, take heaps of notes, put it on your craft-of-writing shelf, and pull it out whenever you need inspiration. If that's not enough to convince you: there's a cat named Barf and a chief named Bastard. And a bastard who's a Hawk. And a Prince who's supposed to be dead...I could go on, but the takeaway: put this on your to-read shelf and then clear your calendar. Once The Merciful Crow has you, you'll lose hours of your life.
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  • Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Henry Holt for the ARC!
  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This book was AMAZING. I feel like I’ve said that about quite a few books lately, and I want to assure you all that I am a harsh critic! But I loved the characters in this novel, and – surprisingly for a fantasy novel – I thought the world was pretty great, too.Sixteen-year-old Fie is a Crow, the lowest caste in Sabor. While all the other castes – things like Sparrow, Hawk, and Peacock – have special gifts known as Birthrights handed d ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you! This book was AMAZING. I feel like I’ve said that about quite a few books lately, and I want to assure you all that I am a harsh critic! But I loved the characters in this novel, and – surprisingly for a fantasy novel – I thought the world was pretty great, too.Sixteen-year-old Fie is a Crow, the lowest caste in Sabor. While all the other castes – things like Sparrow, Hawk, and Peacock – have special gifts known as Birthrights handed down to them by the thousand dead gods who made them, the Crow gods didn’t see fit to leave anything to their creations. Now Crows roam the land, belittled and scorned by everyone. By night they fear the Oleander Guild, a group of hooded white-cloaked riders who hunt down and kill Crows, as they did to Fie’s ma.(Yes, I did get KKK vibes off this).But Crows do have one thing going for them: of all the castes, they are the only one completely immune to catching the sinner’s plague, a terrible disease that keeps hitting villages. This is why Sabor tolerates them. Whenever a mercy killing needs to be handed down to a plague victim, or the bodies of sufferers need to be taken away and burned, the Crows in their beaked masks are called.(Clear influence of the bubonic plague in medieval Europe here – look at what plague doctors wore!)Some Crows, such as Fie, her Pa and her friend Hangdog, have another gift too. They’re witches, or bone thieves, who can burn the teeth of other castes to temporarily give themselves the Birthrights of other castes. That’s the reason Fie is being trained to take over as chieftain after Pa. But other Crows have no power at all, while every single member of another caste has the ability to use their Birthright. For instance, Swans can manipulate desire, Phoenixes can control fire, and Peacocks can control illusions.One day Fie’s band of Crows are called to the royal palace to deal with a couple of dead plague victims – the crown prince, Jasimir, and his guard and body double, Tavin. Only… they aren’t dead. They faked it so they could escape from Jasimir’s stepmother Queen Rhusana, who’s trying to assassinate him and establish control for herself. A binding deal is struck between Fie and Jasimir: she’s going to help him get the throne. In return, once he’s there, he’ll ensure Crows have the protection they need. Here’s a selection of the multiple things I loved about The Merciful Crow. ✴️ The world is a bit more complex than your average fantasy and it took time for me to work out what was going on, but I loved the fact that there was no infodump. The reader is left to their own devices, and it made everything way more fulfilling. I loved the whole caste system too, and Birthrights, and taking power through teeth – it was explained brilliantly. I also liked that there wasn’t one obvious country Owen was drawing her inspiration from, which sadly is the case for many YA fantasy worlds – they’re too often just thinly disguised versions of real-world places.✴️ TAVIN IS A BLOODY AMAZING HERO . He really is OH MY GOD I’M ACTUALLY IN LOVE WITH HIM. FIE IS THE LUCKIEST!!! He’s charming, and hilarious, and loyal, and sweet, and just everything. Their enemies-to-lovers romance was absolutely wonderful to watch. It was fairly slow-burn, and I loved both the build-up to it and the consummation.✴️ Fie was a pretty great heroine herself . I loved her spite and stubbornness.✴️ Jasimir was probably the most complex character in the novel. He’s spoiled and unworldly, but he does learn eventually, and I found that I sympathised with him a lot more than I was expecting to. Tavin is the only person he’s ever had to himself, so of course he was going to hate being a third wheel to Fie. It also had to hurt knowing his parents loved Tavin more.✴️ Funnily enough, people are willing to kill Crows just based on their caste, but there is no gender discrimination in Sabor. Nor is there any issue over LGBT rights: Tavin is bisexual, Jasimir is gay, and there’s a (small) nonbinary character too.✴️ The side characters, in the form of the other Crows in Fie’s band, were awesome. I really got a sense of how they’d banded together as a family and protected each other against the world. Unfortunately, I felt like there was also a plot hole or two. ✴️ So, the Phoenix caste is the one royalty comes from, and their teeth are the most powerful. Yet Rhusana inexplicably gives Fie every single Phoenix tooth in the country, which she obviously then uses to evade the trackers Rhusana sends after them. Huh???????? Why the hell would she give them to her in the first place???? Or give her every single one? It didn’t make sense.✴️ It wasn’t fully explained how cross-caste births worked. Jasinder, the son of a Hawk and a Phoenix, is a Phoenix. But what happens to, for instance, the son of a Hawk and a Sparrow? Or a Pigeon and a Gull? I needed a bit more information here. Overall An excellent debut, with likeable characters, a gripping world, and emotionally satisfying romance.[Blog] - [Bookstagram]
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  • Kilikina
    January 1, 1970
    This comes out in a month and I’m just hearing about it now?! 🤨
  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFeliceThis immersive story is definitely one you’ll want to add to your TBR pile! Cunningly invasive, it’s a story that doesn’t get out of your head even after you’ve turned the last page. There’s death, family bonds, and lots of soul shattering rage to be found throughout this story, along with a smattering of romance that rounds out this amazing story. I honestly cannot say enough about it!Fie lives in a world that is broken down into Originally posted on The Nerd Daily | Review by Nathalie DeFeliceThis immersive story is definitely one you’ll want to add to your TBR pile! Cunningly invasive, it’s a story that doesn’t get out of your head even after you’ve turned the last page. There’s death, family bonds, and lots of soul shattering rage to be found throughout this story, along with a smattering of romance that rounds out this amazing story. I honestly cannot say enough about it!Fie lives in a world that is broken down into castes, and she belongs to the Crows. Their castes’ only rule is to look after their own, while also serving as undertakers and offering mercy killers to members of other castes affected by the plague. Called out to collect a dead royal, she’s expecting a big payday, until it turns out that Prince Jasimir and his bodyguard have faked their deaths in an effort to prevent his kingdom from take over from a vicious queen. Faced with an incredible opportunity, Fie offers the prince protection in his mission to save his kingdom, as long as he’ll provide protection for the Crow caste when he ascends the throne. Meanwhile, his bodyguard Tavin is starting to question whether he truly wants to shadow Prince Jasimir forever, especially when he starts to want a life of his own. This trio will need to work together to save the kingdom, if they don’t wind up betraying each other first.With a killer first line hook, The Merciful Crow sets a fast pace within an unyieldingly cruel world that has been masterfully created by Margaret Owen. The castes and social/political structures are well-developed and are easily followed along; a careful attention to detail has been painstakingly maintained throughout the story to achieve the immersive quality it has. I was absolutely captivated by the way the Crows used their magic, because it was so grotesquely beautiful. It’s an interesting use of teeth to be sure. The imagery was compelling, and I couldn’t get enough.In terms of characters, Fie was such an amazingly written and well-developed character. Her sorrow and rage toward what her Crows have faced is second to none. She’s no damsel and puts her loyalty to her family first. Though much about her was harsh, there was a softness in this. Not that this made her weak in any sense, but it was refreshing to see how this was used as a strength time and time again. Tavin was another interesting character, charmingly enigmatic, but also vulnerable. He was easy to like but his motivations were what you wanted to uncover. Unlike Fie and Tavin, Jasimir was a little harder to love…not because he’s a bit (very) pompous, but because of his disconnection with his people, specifically the Crow caste. His progression was also really wonderful to read through, because in the end, you’ll like him just a little more than before.A slow burn romance is sprinkled throughout the book, in manageable doses for those that don’t want a lot of romance with their fantasy novel. It’s not something that takes center stage either, I felt that it was developed naturally and in a very good way. There’s a respect between the characters that doesn’t feel forced, and is also affected by the social systems in play.Owen tackles a lot of things in her book, and one of the most poignant themes that stuck with me was that of prejudice. Though the caste system makes this more pronounced in terms of the hierarchy, it’s the way that it’s touched upon that makes an impression. The Crows are hated because of who they are, but are necessary within the kingdom. Outcasts and nomads, the Crows have long ago given up on changing anyone’s mind, or trying to fit in. Because they deal with death further alienates them from everyone else. Fie takes that rhetoric and throws it in the garbage, determined to dismantle the systematic oppression her people face simply for existing. There is no better narrative than that, in my honest opinion.Something I need from this book is a sequel. I want more from Fie, I want to see where her, Tavin, and Jasmir’s roads end. The story ends on a very strong note, no cliffhangers to be had, and can potentially be read as a standalone if series aren’t your thing. The Merciful Crow is planned out to be a duology, so if you wind up loving it as much as I did, you’ll definitely have more to look forward to.I’m rating this story a 10/10. It’s immersive, it’s fast-paced, and a wild ride. I really had no idea what was going to happen from one page to the next. There was lots of betrayal, death, backstabbing, and that little bit of romance that will keep the reader engaged, and give them lots to think about by the end. I cannot wait to see more from Ms. Owen.
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    badass mercy-killer who... gets magic from the teeth of the dead. is this Daughter of Smoke and Bone. no but in all seriousness this looks amazing
  • Laura AP
    January 1, 1970
    fie is not the heroine we deserve but definitely the one we need
  • Sheena Boekweg
    January 1, 1970
    I had the privilege of reading this one early. This is a big book, my friends. This book is really special.Fie is one of my favorite heroines ever, the system of magic uses TEETH, the world building is SO BRILLIANT, the boys are ADORABLE RASCALS, the Crows are so cool, and there's a Lady General that rides a mammoth and wields a battle axe, and it has all my favorite things put together tied with a hugely emotionally satisfying ending. Like I wanted to cheer and punch things and dress as Fie for I had the privilege of reading this one early. This is a big book, my friends. This book is really special.Fie is one of my favorite heroines ever, the system of magic uses TEETH, the world building is SO BRILLIANT, the boys are ADORABLE RASCALS, the Crows are so cool, and there's a Lady General that rides a mammoth and wields a battle axe, and it has all my favorite things put together tied with a hugely emotionally satisfying ending. Like I wanted to cheer and punch things and dress as Fie for Halloween and hug the book all at the same time. ADD IT NOW!
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  • Jenny Ferguson
    January 1, 1970
    This book is exceptionally ambitious. Owen is a talent. This isn’t in doubt. The storyline is compelling, the worldbuilding is generally strong, and the social justice plots feel terribly real (more on that in a bit). Fie is a strong-willed, difficult, wonderful, sexually-liberated teen with a lot on her plate. She’s fierce. The book contains they/them pronouns and Bi and gay characters, whose lives feel like they are a part of this world organically.It’s a stand-alone with series potential. So This book is exceptionally ambitious. Owen is a talent. This isn’t in doubt. The storyline is compelling, the worldbuilding is generally strong, and the social justice plots feel terribly real (more on that in a bit). Fie is a strong-willed, difficult, wonderful, sexually-liberated teen with a lot on her plate. She’s fierce. The book contains they/them pronouns and Bi and gay characters, whose lives feel like they are a part of this world organically.It’s a stand-alone with series potential. So you get a nice conclusion and aren’t left hanging from a cliff. This, always a treat with fantasy. The things that I struggled with and want to share are:1) The language can be quite complex in this book. It’s not alienating but a bit hard, on occasion. And it took me two chapters to sink into the world and not feel like I was reading. This may slow some readers down. But once your brain figures it out, the language will feel natural. 2) Owen is going to get called out for this at some point. This is a story that’s about privilege and echos very much up against the Black American experience. Sometimes this felt too on the nose to me. The Oleander Gentry = the KKK. These kind of direct echoes to contemporary America actually pulled me out of the story. How much of this is a flaw in me as a reader vs a flaw in the book’s ability to imagine less direct parallels I don’t know.I’ll say it again. This book is ambitious—and not all of it works for me—but damn , the teeth are pretty amazing and while this world should feel eerily familiar in some ways, it should also feel beyond new in others.While this isn’t a perfect hit for me, I am very much looking forward to Owen’s next book!
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  • Jenni
    January 1, 1970
    "Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats." So begins the tale of sixteen-year-old Fie and her band of Crows, a caste of folks who have to help kill those who are suffering from the plague. It seems Crows are the only people who aren't affected by the plague, so whenever a plague beacon burns, Crows must answer it and help to provide mercy to those who are suffering, burn the bodies, and be on their way. Oh, and none of the other castes really respect the Crows, so this is a very thankles "Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats." So begins the tale of sixteen-year-old Fie and her band of Crows, a caste of folks who have to help kill those who are suffering from the plague. It seems Crows are the only people who aren't affected by the plague, so whenever a plague beacon burns, Crows must answer it and help to provide mercy to those who are suffering, burn the bodies, and be on their way. Oh, and none of the other castes really respect the Crows, so this is a very thankless job for them. Even when villages do not pay the price for a mercy killing, the Crows still perform this rite, They live by one rule: Look after your own.Things go a little crazy after the Crows are called to the palace to collect a dead or dying person from the royal family, the Phoenixes. Things are not always as they seem to be; Fie and the Crows end up smuggling out a runaway/hostage and everything goes from bad to worse. It seems the crown prince and his body double/bodyguard have faked their deaths in order to escape the clutches of an evil queen, so that they can travel to another village where other family can help them.Along the way, the Crows must carry out more mercy killings and also face attacks by the Oleander Gentry, who are a group of people who ride around the countryside killing Crows (and also while wearing white hoods, which reminded me a lot of the KKK).Overall, a good read. Parts of it fell flat for me, but overall, it had a good message about staying true to yourself and the importance of family.
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  • Alyson Kent
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you, Netgalley, for the ARC!Yeah. New favorite. I needed the next one yesterday and now I have to wait. But what an amazing, interesting world. Brutal, heartbreaking, and a bittersweet ending that had me both happy, angry, uneasy, and desperate for more. I can’t wait to see more of everything.
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  • Taryn
    January 1, 1970
    What a damn cover *heart eyes*
  • Caro Herrera
    January 1, 1970
    I was incredibly excited for this book, and it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2019, so I was ecstatic when I received an e-arc of this book allowing me to read it early. Unfortunately, it was not quite what I expected. Overall, this is a great book. The world building is fantastic, and the characters are complex and multi-layered. The book is told from a single POV, that of Fie, and I absolutely loved watching Fie struggle with her own identity, her role, and her duty vs her heart's de I was incredibly excited for this book, and it was one of my most anticipated reads for 2019, so I was ecstatic when I received an e-arc of this book allowing me to read it early. Unfortunately, it was not quite what I expected. Overall, this is a great book. The world building is fantastic, and the characters are complex and multi-layered. The book is told from a single POV, that of Fie, and I absolutely loved watching Fie struggle with her own identity, her role, and her duty vs her heart's desire. I was a fan of Tavin form the start. And Jasimir eventually grew on me. Somewhat.So my issue with the book is neither setting nor character related. Rather, I do not believe this to be a YA book and I am still confused as to why it is being marketed as such. The pacing is slow, the writing is heavy, the language and dialect are difficult, the violence is pervasive. As a developmental researcher who specifically studies YA lit and adolescent development, I do not believe that categorizing this book as YA was the best choice.My recommendation would be to market this book as an adult fantasy. I think the book would do a lot better and would reach a more appropriate audience. This is not to say that teens can't or shouldn't read this book (or other adult fantasy books for that matter). I believe that labeling this book as adult fantasy would reach a wider audience while still calling to the teens who are interested in a more adult read such as this.
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  • Paula Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t know how to start this review except to start with this book is amazing!!!! And if this is not on your to-read shelf you are missing out. The only problem with this book is I read it too early and have to wait to have the actual copy in my hands and waiting for the sequel. This is really an amazing world that I was sucked into right away. There are different castes each represented by a different birds. In each caste there are also witches with different powers. The main character, Fie, I don’t know how to start this review except to start with this book is amazing!!!! And if this is not on your to-read shelf you are missing out. The only problem with this book is I read it too early and have to wait to have the actual copy in my hands and waiting for the sequel. This is really an amazing world that I was sucked into right away. There are different castes each represented by a different birds. In each caste there are also witches with different powers. The main character, Fie, is part of the Crows and is a witch with the ability to use other witches’ abilities by use of their teeth.That is just the world!!!. Fie is an amazing character and I was cheering for her from the beginning. She is such a badass and sassy character. I loved her interactions with the other characters and her determination to keep her promise. I would continue but I don’t want to spoil it for everyone. Read this book, you won’t regret it! This is an author you need to look out for because she is going to be big!Edit: Just finished reading an updated copy and it got better! I don't know how that happened. Margaret Owen has a way of telling this story.
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  • Ninoshka
    January 1, 1970
    *This arc was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*3.5 Stars.Boy howdy does Fie want to slap this Hawk boy and I'm living for it. She's so perfectly angry at the injustice of this world and the Caste system and I loved cheering her on. She doesn't want to burn the world down after all, she just wants them to know she can.The Merciful Crow is one of those books that I think has a really fantastic opening. From page one, I was already so interesting in these characters, the *This arc was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*3.5 Stars.​Boy howdy does Fie want to slap this Hawk boy and I'm living for it. She's so perfectly angry at the injustice of this world and the Caste system and I loved cheering her on. She doesn't want to burn the world down after all, she just wants them to know she can.The Merciful Crow is one of those books that I think has a really fantastic opening. From page one, I was already so interesting in these characters, the world and how it worked. The writing was really well done too. I don't know if it was just me, but I kept getting a western vibe somehow? It could probably be just me.One thing that I have to say about this book though is how quickly it brought my emotions out, especially concerning these characters. While there is a large group of them that are together during this book, some of the main focuses are on Fie, Tavin, and Jasimir. Right off the bat I didn't like Tavin and Jasimir, but that could be because this book is through Fie's point of view and I was seeing everything through her eyes, but the pair did grow on me.One thing that did catch me off guard was Hangdog and how he treated Fie. Mostly because I didn't see the reaction coming at all and didn't think him capable of it? It through me completely and I think I complained very loudly about it.I also have very mixed feelings about this books. The first half of it, I really thought that it stayed true to the YA genre as far as the characters were concerned. Then the second half happened and all hell broke loose. The violence was intense. The story line was crazy. This book is really about the journey, but part 1 and 2 felt so completely from each other.Overall, I think this is a book that will enthrall young adult and fantasy lovers both far and wide. Spectacular magic system, amazing writing, and characters that you can help but connect to, The Merciful Crow should definitely be on people's list.
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  • Tori Kiersten Frost
    January 1, 1970
    I had been in a slump with YA fantasy before I got a review copy of THE MERCIFUL CROW and I am very glad I gave it a shot instead of putting it off!I don't want to spoil anything by talking about the plot, which has a lot of twists and turns right off the bat, but I do want to highlight Owen's world-building. THE MERCIFUL CROW features both a unique magic system and a social hierarchy built around it, where one's caste determines both one's social rank and one's magical abilities. Crows like Fie I had been in a slump with YA fantasy before I got a review copy of THE MERCIFUL CROW and I am very glad I gave it a shot instead of putting it off!I don't want to spoil anything by talking about the plot, which has a lot of twists and turns right off the bat, but I do want to highlight Owen's world-building. THE MERCIFUL CROW features both a unique magic system and a social hierarchy built around it, where one's caste determines both one's social rank and one's magical abilities. Crows like Fie, our heroine, are the lowest caste with no apparent magic of their own, but as the only ones immune to a deadly plague, their work as undertakers and mercy-killers is key to the kingdom's survival. If only the kingdom would get the message.The characters are also (of course!) a big feature of the novel. If you like banter, this is a book for you. Owen writes dialogue that feels authentic and engaging, especially among the Crows, whose conversations always feel like a window into a culture that's distinctly separate from the hostile world around them. The heroine, Fie, is my own particular favorite brand of hero, the unapologetic angry girl. The way her relationships with Tavin and Jasimir, our secondary protagonists, evolve over the course of the narrative is organic and satisfying.Also, it doesn't end on a cliffhanger! I'm excited for more books in this series (duology, it sounds like?), but it was so nice to not have a cliffhanger for once!Overall, this is a fresh, solid fantasy debut that fans of SIX OF CROWS and WICKED SAINTS should scoop up immediately, and not just because it's goth as hell. Get this on your TBR list!
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  • Lauren Chamberlin
    January 1, 1970
    2.5I had a lot of mixed feelings for this novel upon finishing it.I think for one overhype played a key role in my disappointment. It seems to be effecting a lot of my recent reviews/ 2019 reads, and it leaves me with this empty feeling.There's a wonderful world surrounding TMC, and I adored the magic system and its relation to birds in a caste form. Fie and her crows deal with significant prejudice, and it leads to a wonderful theme about ending stereotypes and judgment of others because of who 2.5I had a lot of mixed feelings for this novel upon finishing it.I think for one overhype played a key role in my disappointment. It seems to be effecting a lot of my recent reviews/ 2019 reads, and it leaves me with this empty feeling.There's a wonderful world surrounding TMC, and I adored the magic system and its relation to birds in a caste form. Fie and her crows deal with significant prejudice, and it leads to a wonderful theme about ending stereotypes and judgment of others because of who they are.Fie also deals with moments of misogyny in and outside of her group, and I was always warmed at the heart by her handling of these situations. Fie is a strong example of a strong woman who does not let others dictate her life. She does what she desires (most of the time haha) and what she deems acceptable for her crew. Her loyalty and her crews were beautiful to one another.Now onto the things that were not my favorite.The story is one big journey in my opinion, and it was not one done to my tastes. I felt like I was pushed onto their never-ending ride, and the story became more and more stretched out. Pacing and writing styles have become so important to me as a reader, and the length of time it took/ felt to read one scene felt like an eternity. It's one of the reasons my excitement quickly turned to neglect. I was bored and felt no connection to any of the characters, and a book that should've taken me a day or two to finish ended up becoming a week. Events happened and I could not care less, which is the exact opposite feeling I want.In terms of the characters.. Jasimir annoyed me A LOT, and while his character was meant to hold that role, I could never enjoy him even at his few moments of "redemption". Fie annoyed me a little less than Jas, and I cannot really put my finger onto why. You know when you just do not like a character? That was me. Plus, I, ultimately, never felt any real connection. Lastly, Tavin was the only one I never really wanted to throttle for a decent portion of the novel. Though I couldn't help but my roll my eyes a few times.My final thought is: as I'm writing this review, I really cannot remember a decent portion of this book. It's been about two weeks since I finished, and I forgot the end and a significant portion of the book. I READ THE WHOLE THING. How did it fall out of my head so fast? I- Well.. my only answer is that the story was not memorable.All in all, I think a lot of people could enjoy this novel, but sadly, it was not the one for me.Thank you Macmillan for sending me an ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    * Thank you FierceReads for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review *This bold fantasy novel follows Fie, a member of the lowest caste in her kingdom, on a high stakes vow to save the crown prince and his warrior bodyguard. But when things take a bloody turn, Fie's family, and the kingdom, are at stake.I really enjoyed the mix of action, journey, and a hint of romance, as it can be an enticing combination for a variety of readers. I did find the first half to be a bit slow, but the se * Thank you FierceReads for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review *This bold fantasy novel follows Fie, a member of the lowest caste in her kingdom, on a high stakes vow to save the crown prince and his warrior bodyguard. But when things take a bloody turn, Fie's family, and the kingdom, are at stake.I really enjoyed the mix of action, journey, and a hint of romance, as it can be an enticing combination for a variety of readers. I did find the first half to be a bit slow, but the second half of the story picked up in pace which I found more enjoyable. Tavin, the cunning and handsome bodyguard, was my favourite character actually, I liked his wits and humour, and he stood strong for what, and who, he believed in.Overall, I think readers will be pleasantly surprised by this novel, especially high fantasy fans.
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  • Sami
    January 1, 1970
    A complex system of magic, a fascinating cast of characters, and an entrancing romance make The Merciful Crow a can't-miss debut. Sabor is a kingdom built on injustice, and Fie and her Crows suffer the worst of it as the lowest caste, dedicated to mercy killings of a plague that affects sinners. When Fie's clan is pulled into a plot surrounding the heir to the throne, she uses it as a opportunity to get leverage and protection for her clan. Using every bit of her magic and might, Fie swears an o A complex system of magic, a fascinating cast of characters, and an entrancing romance make The Merciful Crow a can't-miss debut. Sabor is a kingdom built on injustice, and Fie and her Crows suffer the worst of it as the lowest caste, dedicated to mercy killings of a plague that affects sinners. When Fie's clan is pulled into a plot surrounding the heir to the throne, she uses it as a opportunity to get leverage and protection for her clan. Using every bit of her magic and might, Fie swears an oath to protect the prince on his journey, not knowing just how far it will take her-and how much it will cost.
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