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Review: Blackwing by Ed McDonald

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Blackwing
Author:
Ed McDonald
Reviewer:
Gikany and Una
Rating: A

What We’re Talking About:

Blackwing is an intriguing and engrossing new world.  Gikany and Una were captivated by this gritty and dark fantasy world, and are eager for the next novel in the Raven’s Mark series.

In this bleak world people are trying to survive the magical repercussions from war with the Deep Kings.  However the war isn’t over.  The Deep Kings may have lost the last battle but they are intent on winning the war.  The only protection the people have is Nall’s Engine – a magical weapon developed by one of the Nameless, Nall.  The engine is what keeps the Deep Kings on their side of the Misery, a desolate no-man’s land full of magical fallout.  The Nameless are like gods – powerfully immortal magical beings who are mostly absent, except when they want something.  The only difference between them and the Deep Kings is that they tend to leave the mortals alone instead of turning them into mindless slaves.  Although being a servant of a Nameless is no picnic either.

Ryhalt Galharrow is our hero, though he is not a pristine one.  He was once “cream,” slang for a nobleman.  But after a mistake and a duel, he restarted himself as Galharrow – a Blackwing bounty hunter.  Galharrow is a servant of Crowfoot, one of the Nameless.  He is bound to serve Crowfoot by finding and eradicating Deep King sympathizers and traitors.  While Galharrow is returning from a bounty hunt, Crowfoot manifests to command him to save a noblewoman from his past.  But as he reconnects to his young love, he learns about a conspiracy that could enslave and destroy the rest of the mortals.

Galharrow believes he is not a good man.  Maybe he once was, but certainly not now.  Unwilling to give in or give up, he fights and works to be decent and drowns himself in alcohol to forget the times when he wasn’t.  The remembered time of his youth with Ezabeth is both his sweetest memory and greatest regret.  Although it takes time to find out the gist of what occurred, it is still heart wrenching to see them reunited only to know that it is too late.  Between unearthing the conspiracy and the rekindled but doomed love, it was difficult to stop reading.

Gikany and Una found Blackwing to be utterly engrossing.  The author crafted the world, the language, and the characters in such a way that he created something extraordinary.  For all that the Misery and this post-apocalyptic world is harsh and barren, there is a dark beauty to it.  The seemingly strange combination of fantasy, western, and post-apocalyptic elements is blended into something compelling.  Evil and good are not clear cut, but differing shades of grey.

There is so much to Blackwing and we would be chagrined to spoil it.  The Raven’s Mark series is completely new and refreshing in a gritty and dark way.  Gikany and Una were truly captivated by this ominous fantasy frontier world.  If you are interested in something different and new, and enjoy something gripping, you might want to give this post-apocalyptic magical survival novel a try.

Our Rating:  A, Loved It

About the Book:

Set on the ragged edge of a postapocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man’s desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny…

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve….

Release Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher:
Ace
Series:
Raven’s Mark #1
Genre:
Fantasy
Format(s):
Paperback (336 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley

Purchase Info:
Amazon

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