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Book Review: The Merciful Crow

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

Published July 2019

Genre(s): YA, Fantasy

384 pages

“’Everyone needs a hobby.’ He rubbed the back of his neck, as if trying to scrape together another jest. ‘And an appalling number of Saborians seem to have picked ‘murdering Crows’ for theirs.’”



Fie is a future chieftain of the Crows and she has one rule: look after your own. The Crow caste gets more abuse than good things, so when Fie’s group gets called to collect the dead prince, they get the chance at a worthy payment. But Prince Jasimir faked his death. Alongside his bodyguard Tavin, a Hawk warrior who has lived his entire life protecting the prince and staying in his footsteps. Now that they’re out of the palace, Tavin begins to find out what it is he really wants. But right now, the boys need to stay alive. And they need the Crows’ help.

But Hawks and Phoenixes aren’t Crows. They’re not who Fie is suppose to be protecting. Then Prince Jasimir make an offer that Fie can’t turn down. If Fie protects him from the queen, he’ll protect the Crows during his reign.

“It wasn’t that she wanted to burn the world down, no. She just wanted the world to know that she could.”

My Thoughts

I’m in a weird place with this book. When I found it at the library, I didn’t realize the sequel was about to release. When I found out, I decided I wouldn’t read it in hopes of reading the two books closer together. And then the libraries shut down, and I had the book for several more weeks. If I’m going to have a stack of books in my way, I mine as well go ahead and read them all, and so I gave in and read this one. And I hate to say it, but I probably would have rated this better if I hadn’t of read it immediately after reading the Six of Crows duology.

This book really had an interesting idea, and I appreciated what the author was trying to do. Some things – like the pick of love interest and lack of love triangle that I expected there to be – I really enjoyed. Also the political aspects of this book presented in the caste system. Then there was the whole concept with the teeth and blood rights that was really appealing. In fact, the magic system itself was actually very intriguing to me. I mean, I would have like to see more, especially the blood right that didn’t really show up until much later, but it was still there, and I loved it.

Unfortunately, I found myself confused a lot. It was from the beginning too. Like, as soon as I started, I was lost for a good several pages. All of the castes systems took some getting used to, and trying to remember the ranking of them without referring to the beginning constantly took even longer. Some of the phrases in the book took me awhile to properly understand and get used to. (For example, “kenned”.)

Then there was so much world building and description, which is useful, but also just confused me more. In fact, the setting was constantly getting in my way in this book because at no point was I actually positive of what day it was or most of the time where they were even at. Trying to build a large world and having the characters actively go out and explore it is great, but… it was hard to keep everything in mind, especially when they kept changing directions.

Then there’s the (main) characters themselves. Fie was decent enough. At least, she was. Until we started getting further into the romance. And whoever said this book was a slow burn romance…No. Just no. I mean, in book perspective, maybe because I was so confused how many days had actually passed, but in reading terms, not at all. I was perfectly fine with Fie until then. But overall, she was still a decent character. She was fierce and angry and capable, and I loved having a female lead that embodied all of that.

As for Tavin, sometimes I thought he was annoying, but for the most part, I liked his character. He’s just trying to go about his life as his duty allows, and it really shows, but he opens up with Fie, and their interactions were enjoyable. I also liked the way Tavin interacts with the prince.

Now let’s talk about Jaz. He was so annoying. And I know maybe he’s supposed to be that way because he’s a prince and a Phoenix and he’s cocky and he’s just generally an annoying person. A lot of times I’m okay with cocky characters, but I could not stand him at all. Nearly every time he was in the scene, I would blatantly make faces at the book. And due to how the plot goes, my complete disregard for him made the last third-ish of the book really hard to enjoy…or, I guess I should say it made Jaz’s character feel really fake.

As far as the plot goes, it starts off slow, but it does pick up after the second part starts. And it is nicely done. Even the “plot twist” is done very well…even if it doesn’t seem very impactful to the story…

I believe my timing in reading this book was just a bit unfortunate. I really should have waited to read this book like I had originally planned. However, given how the latter half of the book went, I feel like I might enjoy the second one a bit more, so I’ll have to see.

If you’re looking for a darker fantasy read with a strong and fierce female lead, a little bit of romance, lots of danger, and some politics thrown in, then this might be worth checking out.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Merciful Crow

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