Review of 'Crowfall' by Ed McDonald

tl;dr: Crowfall is a bit ponderous and suffers from pacing issues but it delivers a satisfying ending to the Raven's Mark trilogy.


The Raven's Mark trilogy is a grim dark fantasy that has shades of Glen Cook's Black Company and Joe Abercrombie's First Law in it. It is at turns, weird, fantastic and riveting. I am a huge fan of the first two books - Blackwing & Ravencry. With Crowfall, Ed McDonald, brings this epic narrative to an end.


The characters and the world-building have been the stand-out features in this series and they continue to be in this concluding book too. Ryhalt Galharrow is even more broken now and for some reason, behaves like the Fool from Robin Hobb's Farseer/Tawny man series. That is, full of self-loathing with actions verging on masochism. I am not a huge fan of characters who are filled to the brim with negative emotions and it made enjoying the book more difficult. Regardless, Ryhalt is complex as are most of the characters around him which happens to be one of the best things about the book.

Plot & Pacing

Crowfall delivers a satisfying ending, one that I did not see coming. But, the issue is how it gets there.

There were numerous times I just had to take a break from reading and this is not because the story was getting to me. It was due to sheer ponderous nature of the verse as well as pacing issues, especially in the middle. I think the book is overly long and it could have afforded to lose twenty five percent of the prose. This is the main issue with this book; one that I did not encounter with the previous instalments.

World Building

The world of Raven's Mark continues to be as original and weird as before. There are some portions that are new in this book but most of it is just building on what has been covered in earlier books.


I was raring to read Crowfall because the series has been good so far. But this feeling turned into one of a sense of burden - I wanted to finish the book for completion's sake. In the end, I think it was worth it but Crowfall is probably the weakest in the trilogy.

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