!!> PDF / Epub ★ Blackwing ✓ Author Ed McDonald – Bassgrotto.co.uk

Blackwing The Republic Faces Annihilation, Despite The Vigilance Of Galharrow S Blackwings When A Raven Tattoo Rips Itself From His Arm To Deliver A Desperate Message, Galharrow And A Mysterious Noblewoman Must Investigate A Long Dead Sorcerer S Legacy But There Is A Conspiracy Within The Citadel Traitors, Flesh Eaters And The Ghosts Of The Wastelands Seek To Destroy Them, But If They Cannot Solve The Ancient Wizard S Paradox, The Deep Kings Will Walk The Earth Again, And All Will Be LostThe War With The Eastern Empire Ended In Stalemate Some Eighty Years Ago, Thanks To Nall S Engine , A Wizard Crafted Weapon So Powerful Even The Deep Kings Feared It The Strike Of The Engine Created The Misery A Wasteland Full Of Ghosts And Corrupted Magic That Now Forms A No Mans Land Along The Frontier But When Galharrow Investigates A Frontier Fortress, He Discovers Complacency Bordering On Treason Then The Walls Are Stormed, And The Engine Fails To Launch Galharrow Only Escapes Because Of The Preternatural Magical Power Of The Noblewoman He Was Supposed To Be Protecting Together, They Race To The Capital To Unmask The Traitors And Restore The Republic S Defences Far Across The Misery A Vast Army Is On The Move, As The Empire Prepares To Call The Republic S Bluff


10 thoughts on “Blackwing

  1. says:

    I received an advanced copy of Blackwing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review I would like to thank Ed McDonald, Orion Publishing Group and Gollancz McDonald begins this tale by placing the reader in the Misery following the action of Captain Galharrow and his crew of Blackwing mercenaries during their latest mission The Misery is a post apocalyptic, shifting wasteland under a broken and wailing bruise coloured sky This vast expanse of land is unpredictable, frightening and full of unspeakably grotesque mutated creatures Only the bravest dare venture throughout these parts, navigating under the guidance of the three moons Captain Galharrow is a unapologetically unlikable, battle hardened military veteran whose actions and experience inspire the loyalty of his squad and the book is presented through his first person perspective He has had a blood filled and chaotic past and when he isn t acting as a sort of bounty hunter, he spends his time drinking himself unconscious and he occasionally talks to an extremely powerful being presenting itself in the form of a raven The camaraderie and banter between Galharrow and his crew are excellent and reminiscent of The Bonehunters from Malazan Book of the Fallen, incorporating characters who are just as colourful My personal favourites were Tnota, the sex addicted navigator and ranger and Nenn, a nose lacking intemperate and deadly soldier During quieter scenes, when Captain Galharrow isn t describing the current events, depth is created to the world and his character when he ponders and reflects on relationships, histories and present time happenings The world building is one of the best I have seen presented in the first person and in my mind, is on par with Mark Lawrence s similar works It was great to follow Galharrow s viewpoint, whether he is fighting, getting drunk or in some sort of political turmoil so much happens to him throughout this narrative Blackwing places us in the middle of the action and McDonald has created a large number of unfamiliar names, places, and world terminology that are present from the beginning I had to take notes for the first few chapters but after that everything seemed to flow smoothly Initially confusing phrases such as spinners , drudge or skweams quickly became identifiable regarding how they fitted into the world s vocabulary They were understandable due to the context in which they were presented The created world combines the post apocalyptic elements discussed above with typical modern fantasy stories cities, factions and combat The whole world isn t the Misery, that is just a proportion, albeit a vast amount, that was the result of the last war and the battles between the God like Nameless and Deep Kings The bigger picture of this world s happenings is all being orchestrated by these unbelievably powerful and malevolent beings Certain characters also have destructively powerful magical wrecking potential that can destroy entire armies Without going into too much detail, the magics created in this story were admirable, original and scientific like This is quite a dark story full of gritty and macabre deaths aplenty with a good, but not an overwhelming amount of adrenaline fueling action Certain sections are superbly intense though and this book is highly unpredictable It features twists, betrayal, political disputes and half the time when I thought I had analysed where the story was going, I was then blindsided or completely shocked by a revelation The publisher stated that Blackwing is gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence and Scott Lynch and I cannot disagree I count myself amazingly lucky that I have been one of the first people to review this Blackwing is a splendid debut that is brilliantly written and I found it amazingly difficult to put down It superbly presents a completely original, complex and epic fantasy world with incredible and believable characters Guaranteed already, this will be one of the best books I will read this year I can see Blackwing becoming a big deal in the fantasy world and I can t wait for the next book in the Ravens Mark trilogy.James Tivendale.


  2. says:

    ARC provided by the publisher Ace in exchange for an honest review via NetGalleyI m calling every fan of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence to put Blackwing on their radar Blackwing, the debut work and the first book in the Raven s Mark series by Ed McDonald is one of the most original grimdark fantasies I ve read so far My experience will most likely differ from a lot of readers but I envisioned Blackwing as something that was created out of an open world video games with a post apocalyptic setting reminiscent of Mad Max, with a little touch of the manga Flame of Recca The result Bloody brilliant.The plot of the book revolves around Ryhalt Galharrow in his journey to survive his dark destiny as a servant to the Nameless, the ruthless ancient beings or maybe even gods of this world The enemies, The Deep Kings is held at bay in Misery a vast and blighted expanse by a powerful weapon that protects its borders, and Galharrow will soon be thrown into the heat of this resurging war The pacing of the book is slow paced due to the reason that the plot itself is very heavy with politics and a lot of world building, especially during the 20% 50% marks The political tribulations that the characters faced here or less lasted around 60 70% of the whole book but there are a lot of thrilling elements in it that made the politics intriguing to read.Sure there are maybe only around three action sequences throughout Galharrow s journey in Blackwing but the climax sequences itself took up the last 20% of the book All the previous 80% imo was completely just a setup for this section They re bloody and truly well orchestrated I should also mention that the plot somehow felt concluded already, like how The Lies of Locke Lamora ended, we know that there will be a continuation to the story but the first book worked greatly as a standalone in my opinion.Only the plot itself will not guarantee a great book, and considering that Blackwing is completely told in 1st person view solely through Galharrow s perspective, it is prominent to have a greatly written main character Ryhalt Galharrow, the captain of Blackwing, a barely 40 years old bounty hunter that s also a servant to one of the Nameless, Crowfoot, started out simply as an anti hero and a long hardened battle veteran However, as the story progressed, a lot of backgrounds were revealed seamlessly within the plot His deeply hidden longing of the past in particular made him easier for the reader to connect with him despite his cold hearted actions and overall, I love his character development Spirits knew I needed the money More than I ever had before But there are promises you make to yourself, vows you place your pride in Some things are worth the struggle One thing to mention, the female characters, Ezabeth which I can t help but pronounced as Elizabeth and Nenn are really well written but I ll let you find out about them yourself I also can t wait to find out about the other Nameless and in particular, Crowfoot, who s responsible for the creation of Misery during the old past war with the Deep Kings.The first thing that came to my head when encountered with a grimdark fantasy book with a post apocalyptic setting is The Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence I haven t read Red Queen s War yet , it s in my opinion that Blackwing is better on this aspect, by far I have huge praises towards the intricacy of the world building in this genre, it is excellent.Although the book doesn t took place in Misery most of the time, it s still an amazing place to dive into Consisting of fractured skies, multiple moons, shifting landscape, zombiesque and mutant creatures, it truly made Misery one heck of an original place to visit There is a sense of danger looming everywhere in the world and the post apocalyptic atmosphere worked splendidly in bringing the feeling of despair in the world I m reading the ARC edition of this book so I have no idea if there will be an official map or not in the final edition of the book but this world would benefit so much from one and I truly can t wait to see it.I have mentioned in the beginning of my review that the book reminded me of the manga anime Flame of Recca , this is due to the reason that in the anime, Recca could summon a dragon from the tattoo on his arms It s almost the same case here, Crowfoot nestled himself as a tattoo on Galharrow s arm and could come into existence from there, the difference with Recca is that Galharrow cannot summon him voluntarily, while Recca can but the concept is or less the same This is a good thing because Flame of Recca is one of my favorite manga from my teenage years and I m pleased to see some of the elements there made it into a novel, even if it s unintentional.Let s talk a bit about the prose Ed McDonald s prose is profound and poetic at times There are a lot of terminologies here and Ed doesn t spend any time to explain what they are This can be confusing at first and usually, this kind of storytelling method tended to bother me but the contexts in the narrative allow me to fully understand the meaning behind the terminologies with ease To give a sense of how great his prose is, there s no better way other than a direct quotation from the book I don t usually post long quotation in my reviews but I ll make an exception this time, please, just read this gem and you ll know what I m talking about The world is a cruel mother, a matron of darkness, selfishness, greed, and misery For most, their time suckling at her breast is naught but a scramble through stinging, tearing briars before a naked, shameful collapse as the flesh gives out And yet in the bright eyes of every newborn, there lies a spark, a potential for goodness, the possibility of a life worth living That spark deserves its chance And though most of them will turn out to be as worthless as the parents who sired them, while the cruelty of the earth will tell them to release their innocence and join in the drawing of daggers, every now and then one manages to clutch to its beauty and refuses to release it into the dark Despite all the greatness, there are, however some minor cons I had with the book that prevented me from giving this book a full 5 stars ratings First, although the world building is the best part of the book for me, it also felt a bit repetitive in the first half that it hurts the pacing a bit I also think that the relationship development between Galharrow and Ezabeth felt a bit forced at the last section of the book Finally, I wish the characters spent time at Misery, that place is truly amazing and in my opinion, maybe the biggest strength of this book These are all minor cons and overall and it only affected my enjoyment factor a bit.To conclude my review, I m just going to say that I don t think there s any reason to not read this book if you re a fan of grimdark, gritty fantasy or just in the mood for something original in your read Blackwing will rise with its engrossing tale of conflagration soon, as some of us may know already, 2017 is a great year for adult fantasy debut, and this is precisely one of the book in the list Highly recommended The official release date for Blackwing is 3rd of October in US and 27th of July in UK You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic High Fantasy Sci Fi reviews at BookNest


  3. says:

    ARC provided by Ace Books in exchange for an honest review. Some men are born to charm ladies and spread their irresponsible seed across the land Some exist to create the great works of art that inspire dreams and drive creativity for generations Others are born to till the fields, put bread on the table, and raise their sons to till the fields, put bread on the table, raise sons of their own I was born to end lives 2017 appears to just be the year for amazing debut fantasy novels, and Blackwing by Ed McDonald was no exception This book is already released in Europe, but doesn t drop for us Americans until October 3rd, but you definitely want to put this on your pre order list if you re a fantasy fan Blackwing is a super unique novel that isn t afraid to talk about dark themes I never felt like Blackwing was too much, but you should probably know going in that many people do consider this grimdark Also, trigger warnings for suicide, war themes, and graphic violence But, again, I don t think it s anything too brutal, and I never felt overwhelmed by any of the dark themes I m Blackwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow I m here to beat the living shit out of you until you tell me what I need to know This is a post apocalyptic story following a bounty hunter, Ryhalt Galharrow, AKA Blackwing, who is constantly running away from his past He also has a very magical arrangement with a Nameless, which aren t Gods, but they are pretty close to it This arrangement is also constantly haunting him, because he never knows when he will be called upon for a quest Well, that s how this story truly gets started, and Blackwing receives a quest that not only seems impossible, but also forces him to look his past straight in the face Blackwing is quickly tangled up into a a much bigger mission where the fate of human existence depends on him helping solve a problem that seems unsolvable Basically, the humans live in fear of the Dhojaran forces and the Darlings, who were once human and now turned into magical beings by the Deep Kings All of these forces live in the Misery alongside ghosts and other magical, yet terrifying, beings The blasts that had created that stalemate had left their scars deep in the earth Nobody and nothing moved out there in the poisoned lands of the Misery There are now outposts where soldiers are constantly on the lookout for the Deep Kings and their armies Many years ago, the Deep Kings tried to take over the rest of human existence, but a magical weapon unleashed a fury like no other, and now its presence keeps the humans feeling safe and the Deep Kings feeling weary to try another attack That is, until there is talk circulating that the weapon may not be in function any In this world, some humans are Spinners, who are like sorcerers and able to make Phos from the powers of the three moons, which help them produce magic Talents are a lesser type of sorcerer, who are still able to produce Phos, but for Spinners and others to use And the magic that the Spinners and Talents use is always at a cost Many go mad, and are killed or tucked away in asylums Talents are also treated terribly and forced to work at mills, where they are just harvested for their Pho production This book constantly talks about and touches on the three moons in their sky Rioque Red Clada Blue Eala GoldThese moons also play a huge part in this book, because of the Spinners and Talents that are drawing power from them, but I predict these moons will play an even bigger part in this world and story in later installments I touched upon this earlier, but there are six Nameless who could possibly help Blackwing against the Dhojaran forces, and they were pretty much my favorite part of this story Crowfoot Has the pact with Blackwing Nall Vanished Also, made the powerful weapon that keeps the Deep Kings at bay Cold Presumed dead Songlope Presumed dead Shallowgrave Vanished and is a complete mystery The Lady of Waves Never seems to leave the island of Pyre But, like, I am so in love with the mystery about this Nameless I d love to read an entire book just about her and what is going on on her island I loved the mystery behind all the Nameless, and I cannot wait to read books in this series just to find out all of their secrets It is also pretty apparent that they are going to play a much bigger role in this series, and I m completely ready to learn any and everything about them Also, give me all the information on Saravor, the Fixer, because I m already obsessed with his entire situation.This story is action packed and moves so very fast that the book feels impossible to put down Like I said above, the world is so unique and has such a Mad Max feels to it I completely adored it all, and the characters are just as amazing, too The great mistake of man is to believe that other men can live up to the ideals that we set them Plus, the prose of this novel, especially in juxtaposition of this cruel world, is absolutely beautiful I was so impressed with the writing in this, and I couldn t believe all the quotes I had tabbed once I finished Not only is this a fast paced thrilling story, but it s written absolutely lyrically And this book is so funny It s hard to make me actually laugh in a book, but this book actually made my sides hurt at times The banter is just the perfect combination of witty and humorous, that is very reminiscent of Sebastien de Castell s Greatcoats, especially during many of the fighting scenes And if you ve been following my reviews for a while now you will know that comparing anything to Sebastien de Castell means that I love it completely This book also excelled in female representation The two strongest fighters on the good side of this war are both women Woman are soldiers, Princes, and godlike deities in this world They are all strong, brave, and rather fearless if I do say so myself The female representation in Blackwing is amazingly portrayed And Ed McDonald even gives us a little sexual representation, because there is also a gay side character that I instantly fell completely in love with It was said, known, and accepted that he was gay without question or contestation And the entire society that is built in this book feels very gender neutral and I was completely living for it Also, the main female character has severe scarring all over her body, and I was living for the body positive representation that Ed McDonald wrote Like, he did what Colleen Hoover in November 9 could not, and he did it seamlessly and completely beautifully And seeing things like that in Fantasy Rare and beautiful and I completely applaud this debut author for incorporating all of these amazing and important themes Seriously, Blackwing has it all, and I m still in somewhat disbelief that this is Ed McDonald s debut novel I also expect nothing but great things for everything else he has in store for us surround this world The plot is unique, the world building is incredible, the characters are fantastic, the representation is important, and the writing is nothing short of gorgeous Blackwing is a must read in 2017 for Fantasy lovers, and I promise you won t be disappointed Back behind where my heart should have been, I harboured a fury hotter than any pile of burning literature could ever produce, a rage born of fear and pain and longing I needed to see a head roll across the floor, and I needed it to be his Blog Twitter Tumblr Instagram Youtube Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Buddy Read with Michael from Bitten by a Radioactive Book


  4. says:

    Blackwing has a very strong start It gave me shades of Peter Newman s The Vagrant in that reality has been broken and corrupted by godlike creatures and much of humanity is being twisted into creatures to serve them I also got some BioShock vibes with things monstrosities like the Darlings Little Sisters and the Brides And finally it reminded me of Priest of Bones published this summer in the band of mercenary types with a hard as nails female second in commandAfter a highly intriguing and exciting start the momentum fades somewhat as we return from the warped reality of the Misery to the city and start to get involved in politics and a plot that s both confusing deliberately and wandering I stalled a bit in these sections Our protagonist is an alcoholic with an unrequited love and tragic backstory, all laid out well The unrequited love reenters his life and our man spends a lot of time manfully mooning over her not that sort of mooning and thinking dark nihilistic thoughts while heroically putting himself out there for her sometime under orders and sometimes just because.Fortunately the baddies or badder guys are coming and as the screws tighten the plot resolves itself, mysteries unfold, and we get a big old fight.Since I started this review being reminded of this, that, and the other, I will say that in retrospect the resolving of the mysteries put me in mind of the Diana Wynne Jones books I ve read, not so much in that it didn t make a lick of sense in retrospect it did all seem to fit together but in the sense that the reader me at least not only says well I didn t see that coming but that there really was no reasonable way to have seen those things coming.Never the less this didn t stop the resolutions being fun.The magic in the book is interesting, exciting, and imaginative It s certainly not what you would call a system though Think Tolkien rather than Sanderson at least if Tolkien had magic going off left right and centre.The writing is very good Always clear and to the point, and with the occasional well executed flourish Life was cruel to pour our youth into such bitter moulds, but we are what we are There is no summer for us Not any The end is coming and we both know how this will finish With terror and death I can see why Blackwing has been one of the successful fantasy debuts of 2017 Join my 3 emails a year newsletter prizes..


  5. says:

    Perfect for fans of Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence, this dark adventure is gripping and bloody it s a twisted story that spins a web of deceit Nothing is as it seems, as ageless powers manipulate and control the lives of the characters The world is a staging ground, all leading to one dramatic confrontation that has been a century in the making.One hundred years ago Nall s Engine was fired on the enemies of the Republic, and in its wake it left a blackened and scarred landscape known as The Misery Beyond The Misery, a wasteland of corruption and dark magic, reside the even darker entities known as The Deep Kings They want nothing than to destroy the Republic, the realm of men They are immortal They are ageless And above all they are patient They will gladly wait one thousand years for the right moment to arise They want conquest, but once again standing in their way is Nall s Engine It s a weapon of awesome power, and it s the only thing keeping these dark kings at bay They lost one of their own when The Misery was created It s the only hope of men, but over the years it has started to degrade.Captain Galharrow is of the Blackwing, an order of hardy fighters answerable only to one Crowfoot, the nameless God Crowfoot helped build Nall s engine, but in the wake of Nall s disappearance he has set up his own machinations for keeping tabs on the enemy Galharrow is a mercenary, a sword for hire, but that is just his day job He has a small team of highly efficient soldiers who are seasoned veterans they are ready at any moment to follow the spontaneous and random command of Crowfoot When he wishes to speak to his captain, he sends a message via raven The raven, though, is a tattoo on Galharrow s arm It bursts through his skin and takes wing when his master has an order It s an imaginative idea, one that sounds very painful The story begins with such a command It seems ordinary, perhaps even unimportant, a simple as a direction, but it leads to a chain of events that reshape the frontier of the Republic Galharrow is reunited with an old flame, a woman from his youth who he still ardently loves The sight of her brings feelings back to the surface that he thought were dead She thinks that Nall s Engine is broken, but nobody will listen to her Galharrow is compelled to assist her for the sake of his feelings and the order Crowfoot gave They begin to unearth as series of clues that will lead them to the heart of the engine itself, and the truth behind its creation It has an ominous history, one only revealed as the Deep Kings and their invasion force enter the city The ending that follows is potently clever Nothing is as it seems.Ed McDonald is an author to watch out for I don t say things like this lightly I read a lot of fantasy, and I don t hesitate to say that this will be one of the biggest fantasy debuts of the year McDonald has given us the first instalment of what looks to be a very interesting series I look forward to seeing where this goes in the future Raven s Mark 1 Blackwing 4.5 stars2 Ravencry 4 starsFBR Twitter Insta Academia


  6. says:

    Ok, so please let me tell you all about this book First of all, this is a debut Yo.This book absolutely does not read like a debut It s written with all the polish originality you d expect from an author well into their career Ryhalt Galharrow is a product of his environment Long years spent hunting down scum in the wasteland of the Misery have coated his humanity in a fine layer of desolation.Now, I want to speak to my fellow gamers nerds for a moment This novel is the bastard child of Borderlands and Mad Max I specifically call attention to gamers because reading this is exactly like playing a video game The dialogue, the story, the characters, all of this I found myself mentally transforming into cut scenes, leveling systems, and boss battles Seriously I don t think I ve ever had this kind of experience with a book before Even the rhythm of plot twists development of the concept unfolded in exactly the way video games often do This feeling was only intensified by the First Person POV of Captain Galharrow It felt as though I was playing him as a main character All I can say is bravo on this point because it swept me over with a heavy sense of nostalgia while maintaining its novelty.But the really great thing about Blackwing is that it s enjoyable even if you ve never touched a video game in your life It s gritty characters morose imagery black humor all set against a background of bleak circumstances, but this combination creates quite an enjoyable aesthetic for the reader Also, shout out to the neat magic system creative monsters that make appearances all throughout this book I can t wait to see what else will pop up in the dunes of The Misery.I m here to say the hype surrounding this one is well worth it If you re a fan of Grimdark fantasy, especially, this is not one to miss out on This review and other reviews of mine can be found on Book Nest I received a copy of Blackwing from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Thank you to Ace and Ed McDonald for this opportunity Publication Date October 3, 2017


  7. says:

    I must put in the usual caveat I received this book as a gift.Blackwing is a new entry into the Grim Dark Fantasy realm, and a well written one Galharrow is a hard and seasoned warrior, doing his duty as a sort of bounty hunter on the edge of a torn and terrible place called the Misery It s a terrible rift in reality and the world, a place where horrid and contorted creatures and plants thrive And Galharrow has a Past.So that s as many spoilers as you ll get from me Venture in if you dare.Two things I ll mention I really like how McDonald uses the word prince And I like the bit with his tattoo.


  8. says:

    See this review and on www.bookbastion.net__________Every time I step into a new fantasy adventure, I m like a kid on Christmas morning There s something about the prospect of fantasy journeying to so many unexpected places and showing the reader all sorts of new, unexpected and magical things that fuels my love for the genre So when I saw a number of my friends in the blogging community raving about this fantasy debut, I knew I had to get my hands on it Thankfully, the Netgalley Gods smiled on me and I was approved for an ARC, because it was calling to me Of course, that level of anticipation can sometimes lead to a bit of a let down, but thankfully that wasn t the case with Blackwing, which has got to be one of the most wildly creative and vividly told fantasies I ve read so far this year For a debut novelist, Ed McDonald hits all the right notes and has created a gloriously dark and gritty world fully of characters that will stick with me for quite some time I should be clear here though, because when I say dark and gritty, I mean this is seriously dark Fantasy has a lot of sub genres within it, and I would definitely classify this as a grimdark tale Obviously, the explorations of darkness and violence aren t for everybody, and there s no shortage of swearing coming from the characters and Ryhalt s first person narrative voice So if those things aren t your cup of tea, you might be best served giving this a pass But, for those of you like me, who enjoy their fantasy best served cold, with danger lurking in the shadows, this book absolutely needs to be on your list of books to read One of my favorite aspects of Blackwing had to be the world When I opened it up and saw that there was no map included with the eARC I received, I was a little dismayed as that sometimes feels indicative to me of a fantasy product that not much thought went into Thankfully, that s not the case here, as the Misery is a constantly shifting hellscape so the details of where the few remaining settlements surrounding it are the only thing of any real import to the story One thing I really loved about the setting is that McDonald pushes away the typical sword and shield warfare present in most fantasy Instead, he infuses an industrial sort of setting with the apocalyptic aspects of Mad Max There s guns and powder and magically infused electric lighting in this world, and it feels fresh and full of lively little details a surprising plus for a book centered around the last remnants of a dying world.The Misery reminded me of a grown up version of the Unsea, from Leigh Bardugo s Shadow and Bone series It s a magical construct that has twisted and divided the land and what remains within it is diabolical and hungry for human flesh The entire concept of the Misery, the creatures within it, and the Deep Kings who control it was fascinating McDonald drops pertinent historical facts about the Misery throughout the narrative, without falling into the trap of infodumping There s enough to stoke my interest, but the plot keeps chugging along as the facts get dropped Magic in this world was another positive I love a strongly developed magical system with clear rules and the occasional drawback for its users While the moon provides the power to the Spinners of its light in this story, they are also subject to its extreme consequences along the way It made using it and trying to activate it under certain conditions such as a lack of light dangerous and that makes the storytelling compelling As for aspects that dragged down my score, I had only two.The first thing I found frustrating was prolific use of the dreaded F word in dialogue and narrative voice I actually don t mind swears but it felt like it was trying a bit hard to impart the seriousness of the situation characters found themselves in, when I thought the situation itself was enough to deliver that message I think with a stronger focus on the tension and dread that McDonald does so well at, later additions to the series can only improve Secondly, of the side characters, a fair chunk of them were pretty flat Ryhalt, Ezabeth and Nenn were definitely the strongest of the bunch I only hope that we get some expanded backstories for the other characters in the world in later books, especially for the creative and powerful entities in the world such as the Deep King, and Crowfoot, the creature to which Ryhalt is indebted to Regardless, those are only two small complaints in the midst of a sea of positives Blackwing was a wonderfully creative and deliciously dark fantasy debut Reader beware, you re in for quite the adventure 4 out of 5 stars Many thanks to Netgalley, Ed McDonald and Berkley Publishing Group for approving my request


  9. says:

    Review first posted on Fantasy Literature Blackwing 2017 begins in Misery, but things will get far worse before they get better This gritty fantasy is set on a world where there are three moons red, blue and gold whose light can be woven into magical power and stored in canisters for use by sorcerers Two unimaginably powerful magical forces face off against each other across the terrible void called the Misery a magic blasted wasteland On the side of mankind are the Nameless ancient, unseen wizards who are nearly godlike in their powers, but who have mostly disappeared from the lives of men On the other side are the Deep Kings, dark and malevolent powers that corrupt men into enthralled warriors, called the drudge, and other slaves.Ryhalt Galharrow, our narrator, is a captain of a ragtag group of mercenaries, far fallen from his once noble life, a jaded fighter who lives mostly for his next drink He s also, reluctantly, an operative of Crowfoot, one of the Nameless Ryhalt has a large raven tattoo on his arm through which Crowfoot occasionally sends him messages a painful and bloody process, since the tattoo temporarily rips itself from his flesh to become a bird that shouts orders at him His latest order get to Station Twelve and ensure she survives Crowfoot s orders tend to be brief and cryptic She turns out to be Ezabeth Tanza, a noblewoman Galharrow once loved many years ago, who is now a powerful sorcerer Greater powers have brought Ezabeth and Galharrow together again in the fight against the Deep King s armies, and against hidden treachery in their own society Lady Ezabeth is also investigating a hidden problem involving Nall s Engine, a vastly powerful magical machine that originally created the Misery, killing thousands but protecting men from the Deep Kings Galharrow is, with very mixed emotions, drawn into her investigation At stake is the survival of their society if they can t solve the problem soon, the Deep Kings armies of drudge and evil childlike sorcerers ironically called Darlings will overrun their land, murdering and enslaving the population.Ed McDonald tells a gripping, well plotted tale in Blackwing, his debut novel and the first book in the new RAVEN S MARK trilogy The world building is imaginative and ambitious, and it s a credit to McDonald that it didn t remind me of other post apocalyptic novels It s also occasionally a bit hard to grasp, with unfamiliar vocabulary that isn t always explained right away, but that issue lessens as you get deeper into the story There s the occasional phrase that s arguably overwritten or clich d, like My past was like a cruel grandmother nasty, lacking in wisdom, and better off buried, but the occasional dark humor helps to leaven the plot Overall, Blackwing flows smoothly, with lots of action and tension It s a vividly imagined and well plotted novel, with a creative ending that I didn t foresee Blackwing is a tough minded fantasy set in a blighted, war torn world where magic is often used for dark purposes than positive ones Even the positive uses of magic have, almost invariably, a huge, ugly downside Galharrow, fittingly, is somewhat of an antihero, as well as a slob and a habitual drunk Despite all, he still has something of a moral compass, and that becomes apparent as his story unfolds Blackwing can be intensely bleak and violent, with its high body count, adult language, irrevocably damaged lives and lost dreams Because there are some moral underpinnings to our main characters and some threads of hope in the narrative, I wouldn t call this grimdark fantasy, but it skirts the edges It s not for sensitive readers, but for those who like darker, grittier fantasies, Blackwing is well worth your time I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley Thank you Content notes Countless F bombs, lots of violence some pretty disturbing , heavy drinking, crude language It s a pretty hard R rated novel and was out of my comfort zone, so I don t plan to continue with the series But for the right audience this will be a great read.


  10. says:

    Blackwing is, simply put, awesome It s gritty, edgy, suspenseful, and often poignant The world is unique, the characters are deeply flawed see also real human beings and the pacing is breakneck from the first page to the last.Lets face it you re going to read this book eventually, so you d might as well be one of the cool kids and do it sooner rather than later.I hope, and highly suspect, you ll enjoy the ride as much as I did.


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