The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen | a delightfully macabre fantasy

again, but better (8)

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

July 30, 2019, from Henry Holt (BYR)
Young adult fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

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?

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4 stars

A guilty admission: I came for the crows, because I’m inexplicably attracted to anything that has to do with crows, literal or figurative. I stayed for the impeccably built world, and the strong and well-written characters. Everything about this book was so new and refreshing, starting with the first line: “Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats.” What. An. Opener. From the beginning, I was drawn in, first by the opening line and then by the beautifully macabre tone of the whole story. By the first chapter, I was hooked.

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Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells | a dragon adventure with a slow pace

again, but better (9)

Shatter the Sky by Rebecca Kim Wells

July 30, 2019, from Simon & Schuster BYR
Young adult fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

Raised among the ruins of a conquered mountain nation, Maren dreams only of sharing a quiet life with her girlfriend Kaia—until the day Kaia is abducted by the Aurati, prophetic agents of the emperor, and forced to join their ranks. Desperate to save her, Maren hatches a plan to steal one of the emperor’s coveted dragons and storm the Aurati stronghold.

If Maren is to have any hope of succeeding, she must become an apprentice to the Aromatory—the emperor’s mysterious dragon trainer. But Maren is unprepared for the dangerous secrets she uncovers: rumors of a lost prince, a brewing rebellion, and a prophecy that threatens to shatter the empire itself. Not to mention the strange dreams she’s been having about a beast deep underground…

With time running out, can Maren survive long enough to rescue Kaia from impending death? Or could it be that Maren is destined for something greater than she could have ever imagined?

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3 stars

I was so excited about reading Shatter the Sky. I mean, dragons? With a bisexual protagonist on a frantic mission to get back her girlfriend? And while a lot of what I was hoping for delivered as promised, there were a lot of parts that made the book a lot slower than I would have liked.

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