I still have no idea what a Merciful Crow is.
Is it a crow… that bestows mercy upon other people??? THEY NEVER FULLY EXPLAINED and just used it without giving proper context clues and I’m still just… confusion.
When I was reading the first ~150 pages of this book, I was HARDCORE not liking it.
A lot of the vocabulary seemed straight up unnecessary and while it kind of suited the setting, it just felt so annoying to me that there were old English words being used five times on every page. WHY. WOULD YOU USE KENNED INSTEAD OF KNOW.
I understand that you care about the time period, I guess, but it’s just so much more powerful to me if you just use “know” in dramatic sentences AND!!! it doesn’t make me cringe intensely.
the book: Fie kenned something was up
Anyways, yeah, the beginning was not it.
But after a certain somebody died and some actual ACTION started happening, I started warming up a lot more to the characters and the story!!
So yes, I will be complaining a lot in this review, but I promise you guys that I liked the book. Enough to give it four stars.
Edit: lmao nevermind I’m lowering my rating from four stars to three stars and therefore my monthly recap is lying
Thank you so much to Henry Holt / Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for a review via FFBC Tours! You can check out all the other tour stops via the schedule above. Also, there’s a giveaway for this book & a makeup bag; the information will be at the bottom of the post.
Note: the links provided for purchase here are affiliate links.
The Merciful Crow
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?
I Really Do Not Know how I feel about this, because… overall, I really do like it, but then I suddenly went through some of the pages and then I just felt this IMMENSE IRRITATION for the characters so????
Like, I love the characters (mainly Tavin. Jasimir and Fie can leave) and there are themes that I’m a HUGE fan of, but also I feel like this… wasn’t the highest of quality fiction.
(Warning: this review is kind of a mess.)
Anyways, before I started reading this, I realized that the synopsis means Absolutely Nothing and is terribly confusing, and if you don’t like the way that the synopsis is phrased??? You probably won’t like the wording that this entire book is written in.
(Am I giving this book a three-star review or a roast.)
And after the action started (after over a hundred pages), I finally started CARING but if this wasn’t for a blog tour… I might have just bounced.
Anyways, this features:
- Fie, the to-be-Chief witch who is prideful, stubborn, and also very powerful. She cares a lot about the other members of her Crow Caste, who have been there for her her entire life.
- Tavin, the body double of the Prince who has always been overlooked, is strong and quick, and is very flirty.
- Jasimir, the idiot Prince, who has been far too uneducated about the real matters of the country, and has never really been seen as someone strong or powerful.
Basically, the evil queen (I forgot her name) has been gradually murdering people in the castle (to position herself in line for the throne), and Jasimir is to be next, so he and Tavin fake their deaths by Plague.
In this world, the lowest Caste (of eleven bird-name Castes), Crows, are actually immune to the Plague and are therefore expected to carry away all the plague victims and burn their bodies.
The current Chief of Fie’s group, Fie’s Pa, makes a deal with Jasimir that if he takes him to his allies, then he promises that he will give the mistreated Crows the protection that they need.
Listen… the cover LIES. I thought there were gonna be some real crows in this and that Fie was like, the caretaker of some REAL BIRDS and that these birds were going to mess stuff up!!! Excuse me??
But the concept, I think, is still pretty rad.
After all, each of the castes have been given a birthright, in which only that Caste’s witches can use; for example, the Phoenix has the birthright of fire, so a Phoenix witch would be able to control fire.
Crows were given no birthright. However, a Crow witch is able to take the teeth of people from other castes and use their birthrights for as long as the tooth allows.
One of the themes in this that I was a huge fan of is the that Tavin and the prince had very false, preconceived notions of Crows and had no idea of how badly they had been treated by the rest of the castes.
In fact, near the end, while they’re discussing the Crows’ problems, Tavin realizes that this prejudice and institutionalized discrimination cannot be so easily fixed. And I think that that’s very important; that giving these Crows bodyguards will hardly stop the stigma against them.
Apparently, this book is slow-burn… but I don’t think that it was, for me? I really did enjoy the romance, but it seemed rather normal-paced and I wasn’t really… begging for the characters to be together. So. There’s that.
Anyways, in conclusion:
- I think that I would recommend this book! If you really enjoy the writing style, then you would probably be really into this book and the worldbuilding that it has.
- For me, though? This book lies squarely on the mediocre train. I think I’m going to read the sequel, though, if there is one.
- My rating is three stars!
Also, here’s an aesthetic of the book because I like making aesthetics:
This aesthetic isn’t even that accurate to the theme of the book, but what do I have? NOT SKILL.
>> trigger warnings for death by plague, mention of death by fire, assassination, loss of eyes, being shot by arrows, and burning hands (if there’s anything you want to ask, don’t hesitate!! this isn’t as thorough as I could’ve made it)
>> specific representation includes a black main character (Fie); a pan love interest (Tavin); and a gay side main character (Jasimir); Tavin and Jasimir are both poc
Unfortunately, this giveaway is only available to US/CAN residents (so sorry y’all!!) and the prize is a final copy of The Merciful Crow and a TMC-themed makeup bag.
Have you read this novel or do you want to read this novel? What are some recent mediocre books that you’ve read? Do you ever just make aesthetics or pinterest boards just because? Are you disappointed that there are no real birds in this book?