Author: Ed McDonald
Plot: A sorceress cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the Republic and the immortal Deep Kings.
Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the Republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.
Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.
He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him – changed him – but all power comes with a price, and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.
They will even follow him, and the few surviving Blackwing captains, on one final mission into the darkness.
After thoroughly enjoying the first two books in The Raven’s Mark trilogy, I was eager for the final instalment. I knew tensions were going to be high: Galharrow has lost so much by this point, I was intrigued at how he was going to remain the reluctant hero we know and love.
While I did enjoy this book, I wish I hadn’t left it a few months between reading book two and book three. There were some periods where I found myself confused as to what was going on; the scale of the mystery, deception and lies meant that, even as the reader, I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening, or who was involved. I wasn’t certain if that was because there were parts of the book that were unclear, or if it was due to having a gap between reading them.
Despite everything, Ryhalt Galharrow still remains a hero. He has spent all this time out in the Misery, soaking in its magic, learning its secrets, part of a bigger plan that we don’t start to understand until towards the end. He has been changed – physically and emotionally given his frequent conversations with ghosts – but he still remains stubborn, defiant and adamant that they are going to find a way to win the war.
But our reality is shaped by our minds. There’s more than sand and water, skin and bone, iron and starlight. Without that which exists in our minds, there’s nothing at all, just an empty, desolate tangle of tiny particles that claim to be separate things, but in truth, are all one and the same.
Galharrow has gone through an ironic character development since the first book: the more monstrous his appearance and abilities, the more his humanity shines through: ultimately, he is doing what he does for love. Love and grief mixed together has made Galharrow into something unstoppable.
When old friends ask for his help, Galharrow proves he is still a man with strong emotions: he’ll do anything for those he cares about, whether they are dead or alive.
The secondary characters are as strong as previous books. Valiya is a Captain herself now, and still a force to be reckoned with. Amaira has grown up, following Galharrow’s teachings, but part of her still remains the innocent girl looking for light and love. Maldon and Dantry don’t play such a prominent role, but their contributions drives Galharrow to do what needs to be done.
Galharrow, Maldon and Dantry are in on the plan together. There were moments, however, that appeared to initially be a revelation to Galharrow, then a hint later on shows he was part of the plot. This is where I got confused in regards to who actually knows what and what part they have to play in it.
This is a tense and action-filled book. The Deep Kings are united, on the move and determined to conquer all. The gods are scattered, caught in their own betrayals and quest for power. Galharrow is fighting a battle of his choosing, but hoping to defend the range. The stakes are high, battle lines are set…and there was no telling what the outcome was going to be.
An enjoyable book and a fantastic trilogy. If you’re after a dark, gritty fantasy read, I definitely recommend The Raven’s Mark.