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Crowfall is a gritty epic fantasy for fans of Mark Lawrence, Scott Lynch and Daniel Polansky.

'Dark, twisty and excellent . . . Grimdark with heart' Mark Lawrence

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.

454 pages, Hardcover

First published June 13, 2019

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About the author

Ed McDonald

12 books1,179 followers
Ed McDonald is a UK born fantasy writer.

Ed is a medieval historian and swordsman by training. He currently lives in London, UK.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 313 reviews
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,099 reviews44.1k followers
May 6, 2020
Crowfall provides a spectacularly epic conclusion to a trilogy that has the potential haunt your nightmares in its creepiness; it’s so dark, so bleak and so wonderfully written. Everything is brought together here perfectly, a very clever ending indeed!

And I must admit, I’m pleasantly surprised. Going into this I felt that there was a little too much to conclude in just one book, but it all slots together. Ed McDonald demonstrates his ability for planning as he delivers the final strokes of the story with a bloody flourish. Those final few pages left me in a gut-wrenching state of suspense because I felt like this could have gone anywhere. It could have had a happy ending or a brutal one (or something in between the two.) I really couldn’t call it, and that’s important because nobody wants to read a predictable book.

It would be remiss not to talk about character growth here. As soon as Blackwing opens, it is clear Galharrow is not a typical protagonist. His best is clearly past him as he approaches his middling years in a cloud of alcohol induced depression. His enthusiasm for life wanes with each fight he is forced to partake in. He is a man that is plodding through life, acting the motions when he is totally drained and inflicted by the memories of his failures. Here though it is clear from the very first chapter that he has changed. He has found a purpose and is willing to do anything to achieve it; he is willing to infuse himself with dark and dangerous magic in order to become so strong that he can face his enemies alone. And that’s kind of a big deal because he is sworn to carry out the bidding of his master, the nameless god Crowfoot. He is playing a risky game and a dangerous one because his enemies could crush him with a thought.

Everyone is power hungry. Hungry for wealth or prestige. Hungry for immortality or potent magic. And Galharrow has truly had enough. He is tired of serving and he is tired of being stuck in the middle of this never-ending power struggle. So, he has decided to invest in himself and to trust solely in himself to make the right choice when the time comes. I was so glad to see it. He has always had an independent mind and now he is brave enough to assert it and do exactly what he thinks is right. His plan is insane, but it is also the only road he could take because he is in this to win. All or nothing. This made the book much more direct. Galharrow didn’t spend any time trying to untangle someone else’s mess like he has in the past. This is the end game, and it is tremendous. Never doubt a man who willing to sacrifice everything he is for those he loves.

Ed McDonald’s work is up there with the best of the genre. As such this series is required reading for fans of Joe Abercrombie, Peter Newman and Anna Smith Spark. I will certainly be reading anything else he writes in the future. I’d be a fool not to.

Thank you to Penguin Random House for providing me with an ARC to review for Fantasy Book Review.

Raven's Mark
1. Blackwing - 4.5 stars
2. Ravencry - 4 stars
3. Crowfall - 4.5 stars

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Profile Image for James Tivendale.
306 reviews1,305 followers
May 28, 2019
"Another Heart of the Void? The sky is shattered, the rain sends men mad. Even the geese are trying to eat us. What the fuck do we have to gain by unleashing that kind of power again?"

I received an advanced reading copy of Crowfall in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Ed McDonald and Ace Books for the opportunity. May contain spoilers for Ravencry.

Crowfall is an engaging and thrilling final chapter to an excellent dark fantasy trilogy. I have seen the Raven's Mark series referred to as Grimheart. I thought that tag was a joke initially but the more I have thought about it the more fitting the label actually seems. However chaotic, gruesome, or terrible things may seem in this world there are always underlining currents of hope and love.

This narrative is set six years after the conclusion of Ravencry when Shavada was blasted from the grandspire's roof and the city was saved. We see a very different Ryhalt Galharrow. Since that event, the Blackwing Captain has been residing in isolation in the Misery. Eating the monstrosities that lurk within the land, conversing with the ghosts that haunt it, and every night returning to the Always House, a comfortable country cottage, seemingly unaffected by the magic of the Misery except that it resets once a day. The reason for Galharrow's need to be alone and in the Misery of all places is unclear but the Misery has changed him and become a part of him. He's become an expert navigator and converses with the Misery frequently. He is even referred to as the 'son of the Misery.' Although he's been living as a hermit it seems everybody wants Galharrow eradicated, from the Nameless to the men of the Citadel. If that wasn't bad enough, the Deep Kings now have an Emperor and are looking to march on the living with their Drudge army. Galharrow knows he has an important part to play in the upcoming war.

I've always enjoyed following Galharrow's first-person perspective. He's such a likable character throughout the series although he really shouldn't be. In Ravencry he was traipsing around the fringes of madness however for parts of Crowfall he is as good as insane. It's written and presented in expert fashion and as a reader, I tried to analyse reality and exactly what was going on in Galharrow's mind.

The characters that have been crafted by McDonald are brilliant and jump off the page here. Series mainstays such as the aging navigator Tnota and no-nosed violence adoring Major Nenn (even though she's dead) are as important as ever in Crowfall. Joining these and other players such as Dantry, Maldon, and Valiya are new and influential characters such as sharp-eyed shooter North and marble guardian, First.

I'm not sure what the technical phrasing is but the way McDonald wrote led me to create amazing visuals of all the places frequented and portraits of all the characters in my mind. I was so engaged that I almost felt that I was there alongside Galharrow throughout his adventures and struggles. I was fully invested in him and the narrative as a whole.

I won't divulge too much information about what takes place in Crowfall other than that there are so many standout moments and stunning set-pieces. As the conclusion to one of my favourite recent fantasy series, I was not disappointed by any aspect. In a few years time when fans of dark fantasy think of standout characters in the genre, Galharrow is a name that will be uttered alongside Jorg, Geralt, and Locke Lamora. The finale was epic, lasted for about twenty percent of the novel and often left me breathless with the battles, showdowns, twists, awesome reveals, and betrayals. Essentially it had everything I required on my epic fantasy bingo card. Blackwing remains one of my favourite ever books. The following two books in the series never quite reached the lofty heights but are still pretty damn awesome. This is a series that needs to be read by all dark fantasy and grimdark fans.
Profile Image for Emma.
970 reviews956 followers
July 2, 2019
Galharrow has been monstrously changed by his time in the Misery; underneath the transformation, a desperate plan to make himself powerful enough to alter the future. And he’s not the only one. Time has passed and people are not who he remembers them to be. Everyone has their own hopes, their own schemes, their own… betrayals? The Deep Kings are coming. And now a new weapon has been found, strong enough to crack open the skies once again. But who in this world can be trusted to use it?

‘[I] still had a pistol left, and so long as you have a whisky and a gun, how bad can your luck be?’

Answer: pretty bad. This is a book of last chances and Galharrow has had more than his fair share. Meeting him again is a blow, for the Misery is nestled bone deep and his outlook turned bleak enough to chill the heart. In every sense, this feels like the end of the road. He’s a scavenger, a loner, lost to himself in ways that make him almost lost to the reader. The madness of the last book is here tenfold, his life a surreal dreamscape that comes close to making him too alien to feel. I struggled with his choices in ways I have never done before, asking questions of him as his friends do. We cross our fingers and hope that he will hold on, that we can trust him as we always have. Because there is a plan, of a sort. Or at least, there is his plan. As characters converge, old faces and new enemies, the labyrinthine plots of the Nameless become ever clearer, each manoeuvre pushing their human pieces into whatever endgame they have planned. There is one last chance to save the world, to prevent the Deep Kings from turning everyone into drudge, but it seems like the side most people are on is their own. To say it provides an unproductive working environment is the understatement of the century, but of course it’s all fun and games and sly words and tension until someone gets stabbed in the back. Actually, if you make that multiple someones and a whole bucket load of inventive ways to die, then you have some idea of how this all goes…

Especially because so much of the action is set in the Misery. Which, for me, is the absolute best part of the whole series. Talk about a character arc with some serious surprises. I’ve loved every second spent in her twisted landscape and this book was no exception. It’s a place of ghosts and monsters, an ever changing terrain where you can both lose and find yourself. As Galharrow has done, in so many different ways. Yet it’s so much more than that, it’s a massacre, a memory, a trial, an ending… The Misery is Ed McDonald’s masterwork and what he does with it here is so far beyond perfection I don’t even have the words to describe it, even if it wasn’t way too spoilery for this kind of review in any case. I have never wanted to see a place so much while at the same time never, ever wanting to go there.

But I have to be honest, there were some issues with the ending. One classic move had been signalled pretty heavily right from the outset and I was getting a bit annoyed at Galharrow not getting it. He clearly hasn’t been reading the same fantasy books I have or he’d known what he was supposed to do, it’s been done before. A lot. It was all a little too pat, a little too offscreen. Of course, the way things end is always the most divisive part of any series and this is something you have to decide for yourself. Either way, this series is a MUST-READ. It’s clever, creative, and such an intense mix of real/unreal that it burns fire bright in your mind. I hope this is not the last time I get to visit.

ARC via Netgalley
Profile Image for Peter McLean.
Author 35 books836 followers
April 5, 2019

They say that misery loves company, and in the Misery you're never alone. Especially If you're Backwing Captain Ryhalt Galharrow, haunted by the bitter ghosts of the past.

This book is raw and emotional in a way I didn't expect. It's a very different book to its predecessors, yet is still an almost inevitable conclusion to Galharrow's character arc. Watching him fall apart through his own narrative brings a fresh edge of pain to the storytelling.

This series is ultimately a story of love and remorse, but love may take many twisted forms and remorse can be a blight on the soul. For Galharrow, it's all he has left until those very ghosts rise up for one last moment of desperate defiance. And then, at last, there is hope.

If there's one overriding message here, it's that you're never alone. After loss comes acceptance, and then maybe a second chance for the future. For a series often called Grimdark, this book has a lot of heart. You might almost call it GrimHeart.

This series has been truly magnificent from start to finish, and I am grateful for it.

Profile Image for Lukasz.
1,224 reviews195 followers
April 23, 2019
There is no mistaking the distinctive voice of Ed McDonald and his protagonist - Ryhalt Galharrow, a captain of shadowy Blackwings. His story ends here*. If you thought that Ryhalt went through hell, and nothing worse would happen to him, you were wrong. 

Crowfall concludes Raven’s Mark trilogy, and it’s epic. Not only does it reveal schemes and treasons of various parts and characters, but it also riffs on the themes of belonging, love, honor, identity and the ability to find a home in hostile new landscapes.

McDonald’s view of the world is bleak. Decaying landscapes, fallen heroes, and superior beings playing humans are terrifying but they don’t come close to Galharrow’s inner hell. He hates himself. He slowly loses his humanity and transforms into a feral beast thriving in Misery. McDonald portrays his descent into madness with imagination, skill, and excellent timing.

The narrative’s progress towards the final battle has the ineluctable pull of tragic myth. We expect what must come, but this knowledge never detracts from the memorable intelligence of the novel. Plus, McDonald proves us wrong repeatedly, so prepare to rethink your theories at least few times. 

I usually prefer low-key endings to high-tension trilogies and I’m not partial to end of the world narratives. Despite my preference, Crowfall’s ending impressed me with its vivid imagery, readiness to break characters and reshape the world and its mythology. Some readers won’t be happy with the ending and the way McDonald resolved it. But it makes sense so personally, I have no complaints about it.

While Raven’s Mark trilogy is bleak and brutal, it never uses violence to shock the reader. Everything it does has purpose and meaning. I consider it one of the best fantasy trilogies published in recent years. 

* or does it?
Profile Image for Ivan.
412 reviews266 followers
April 18, 2022
I bought whole trilogy before starting first book. While it often end with wasted money I'm delighted to say it isn't the case this time as I wrapped this satisfying finale to a good series.

I didn't like moments of pathos in previous books in the series. I thought it didn't fit dark tone of the series but and while that is still true for first two books it sets up scenario for the finale where where it blends better with bleak world of the book. Ed McDonald isn't Joe Abercrombie nor is he trying to be so he lets sparks of optimism, pathos and emotion push through bleak and heavy atmosphere of Raven's mark while never leaning too much into it to disperse lovecraftian feel.
Profile Image for Adam.
361 reviews155 followers
April 25, 2019
When facing duress for long periods of time, sanity can be fleeting. It’s no stretch of the imagination to see how prisoners, hostages, or fugitives can be driven toward poor decision-making when lives are at stake. If the stakes are raised to apocalyptic levels, then any form of predictive behavior becomes unreliable. Enter: Ryhalt Galharrow. Savior of Valengrad. Captain on the Blackwings. Desolate madman. Ed McDonald’s previous novel Ravencry concluded with Ryhalt leaving Valengrad to go live in the Misery for reasons unknown. Crowfall picks up six years later. Six long years living in madness, constantly poisoning your body and mind. But what is it all for? And is it worth it in the end?

Galharrow is still reeling from losing his love Ezabeth to the phos light. He has shunned himself from civilization, only visiting the Range to re-up his meager supplies. He subsists on consuming the raw flesh of Misery creatures, which also gives him the ability to navigate without needing the moons to point his way. Ryhalt begins to become one with the Misery, tapping into its vast, horrific powers but losing his sanity each day. Ghosts of his past visit him daily, and the line between reality and madness starts to blur into non-existence.

Why has Ryhalt chosen this path? This is one of the great mysteries of the story, and we begin to piece together parts of his ultimate plan as some of his co-conspirators come under threat. This mystery works both for and against the story. Not knowing why Ryhalt is doing what he’s doing is enticing, but it also becomes frustrating at times because we don’t understand his motivations for most of his decisions. I enjoyed how McDonald kept forcing the reader to question Ryhalt’s actions, as he is clearly being driven insane. Are there enough shreds of Ryhalt’s morality left to achieve his goals, or will he lose himself entirely to the Misery?

New characters and new locations help separate Crowfall from its predecessors, and McDonald takes full advantage of his new cast and environments. Themes of treachery, regret, and sacrifice are leaned on heavily, and it culminates into an emotional final act.

However.

The end of the story did not sit well with me. Some of the decisions made by the main cast seemed incredibly shortsighted and out of character. Some big revelations left me scratching my head, and there was an explicit Deus Ex Machina that attempted to wrap up the story but didn’t quite land with me. It was difficult not to let the ending affect how I felt about the rest of the book, which was largely entertaining, fast-paced, and original. But I’m still hung up on why certain plans were made, as it felt like a wild deviation from everything up to this point.

Ryhalt is a stubborn fool, but he tries to do the right thing… usually. Getting a first-person perspective of him slowly descending into madness is an appealing hook that I quite enjoyed. Although I didn’t agree with some of the content decisions made at the end of the story, Ryhalt’s journey is still well worth taking. McDonald’s world of elder gods, torn reality, and light magic is dark fantasy at its finest. I hope to return to the Misery again someday, and I’ll be sure to pack my own lunch.

7.5 / 10
Profile Image for Edward.
327 reviews828 followers
November 15, 2020
Very satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Looking forward to seeing what Ed does next. RTC.
Profile Image for Fiona.
1,185 reviews216 followers
December 29, 2022
I looked around at this strange little family. We'd spent six years apart from one another, doing the things that needed doing, and now without any time to rest and get to know one another again, to learn how we'd changed over those years, we were being thrust straight back into the skweam's jaws. Had I been able to choose, I would have left them all here. I would have sent them west, far away, to lands where they'd never heard of Deep Kings and the hearts of ice fiends were nothing but stories with which to frighten children.
'Get ready,' I said. 'Tomorrow we step back into hell.'


For the last book of my goal for the year (keeping consistent by only just hitting the deadline, at least there's that), I had to go with Crowfall - I found the series this year, and it's been one of my favourite series, let alone just for 2022. To say I was going in with high hopes would be to understate just how much I was giving Ed McDonald the chance to break my little readery heart.

That's "break my heart" on a comparative scale, because this series sits firmly in the grimdark genre - there's a hefty dose of Weird, but the core of this world is that life is hard, everything wants to kill you, and that's probably one of the better outcomes. I will point out though, that unlike many others in this genre, there's no sexual assault in this series, people of this world come in various colours that don't affect their social standing, and same-sex relationships both exist and occur in the main set of characters. It doesn't mitigate what these characters are going to go through, but at least we get to know it'll happen to everyone!

Six years have gone past since book two, and everyone has changed. This book is all about endgame, and these characters have given it all for this world - that doesn't mean they'll succeed though, and that's clear from the start. The past two books have built up the relationship the reader has with the group, and despite absolutely knowing better I was thoroughly invested. No spoilers on the ending, but good or bad I thought Ed McDonald absolutely nailed it.

Loved this book, loved this series, and I have a new author to keep an eye on.

And Happy New Year folks - see you all in 2023, which just for fate's sake I have absolutely no expectations for (fingers crossed it works).
Profile Image for Shae.
146 reviews23 followers
May 29, 2020
The Misery was not just twisted magic and polluted rock. It was spirits, and sky, and the endless pain of what it had been, what it had been made to do, and what it had become. And it responded to my call. - Ryhalt Galharrow, son of the Misery

And so my journey through the Misery comes to an end, this installment was an excellent conclusion to the Raven's Mark trilogy - 4.5/5 stars.

Some heavy themes run through this trilogy; loss, grief, regret, atonement and finally acceptance and transcendence. I really loved the way that McDonald explored how a nightmarish desert could be the physical manifestation of not only a devastating event, but the deep mourning that follows.

Although there was plenty of heart pounding action to get caught up in, I was surprised how often I found myself pausing to reflect on life's deeper meaning. Will definitely pick up more of McDonald's work in future.
Profile Image for Pavle.
406 reviews139 followers
August 7, 2019
Nisam siguran da sam u skorije vreme naišao na ovakav skok kvaliteta u trećem, završnom delu neke trilogije u odnosu na njen ostatak. Sve je ovde na mestu, počevši od sjajne, divne karakterizacije, centralnog motiva kojeg Mekdonald maestralno plete (oduvek sam mislio da ne možeš da budeš cinik, a da nisi potajno optimista), ritma akcije, produbljivanja sveta, tečljivosti dijaloga, ma sve, baš sve mi je ovde leglo. Pa čak i činjenica da je kraj, kao i u drugom delu, možda mrvu suviše u kontrastu sa ostatkom romana, bledi u poredjenju sa sveopštim utiskom koji roman ostavlja. A i, da ne budem baš sitničav, nije to tako drastična razlika kao u prošlom, te ostaje neki osećaj da je svaki sentiment zaslužen. Zaista kvalitetna fantastika, originalna i jedinstvena, suštinski uvek ljubavna priča u nemila doba lavkraftovskih užasa, priča o toj najdivnijoj činjenici da je ljudska sudbina istovremeno mala, najmanja i velika, najveća.

5
Profile Image for Justine.
191 reviews55 followers
May 21, 2019
Never alone.

All things must end, and the saga of Ryhalt Galharrow comes to a close with one magnificently striking and emotional conclusion. All the events of McDonald's Raven's Mark series have brought us to this moment, as the threat of the Deep Kings hovers like a black cloud about to release a cascade of poison rain upon the Misery and beyond. Galharrow stands alone against the storm, persevering in the face of failure and forging ahead when the world is set on relentlessly beating him down. Crowfall is a story underlining the willingness to do whatever must be done, including the sacrifice of every last bit of yourself, for those you love, of finding purpose, even when surrounded by the bleak oppression of guilt, and most importantly, choosing your own side. What begins as a much-appreciated "Previously on Raven's Mark...", quickly becomes a harrowing adventure of life and death as we journey towards the final stand, but the Deep Kings don't realize we bring along with us the pain and wrath of the Son of the Misery. This story is dominated by hunger and betrayal, yet ultimately retribution and redemption reign supreme.

In the six years following the events of Ravencry, time and circumstance have taken a great toll on the characters we've become acquainted with, most of whom are but a faint echo of the person they once were. After years of subjecting himself to the lands under the fractured sky, Galharrow is beginning to resemble many of the things he has sworn to protect the Range against. I've been vocal about my love of Galharrow since I first dug into Blackwing, and all I can say is that my admiration for him has only grown, regardless of how monstrous he has become. His strength has him barreling towards a seemingly hopeless end, but his iron will to fix his mistakes continues to propel him forward. Valiya and Amaira have both sacrificed much in the name of duty. Tnota is torn between love and loyalty. Dantry continues to sow havoc across the states. Maldon remains comfortable in his role of prickly genius. The Nameless are still gridlocked in their battle with the Deep Kings, who now march under a unified banner. And finally, a mysterious player in this game of fate refuses to admit defeat. We see a lot of familiar faces, some new, and ghosts of the past insist on fighting to fix this broken and threatened world.

McDonald masterfully crafts some of the most intriguing and intelligent landscapes that dig their claws in, unwilling to let go. Crowfall allows us to spend some more time upon the ever-changing sands of the Misery, and we are able to witness its strangeness in a way we couldn't before. It has always been known that it's not just a physical place, but also a thing of sentience, which is explored in great detail in this book. The howling sky, blood-thirsty grasses, and shifting dunes, all evidence of Crowfoot's attack on the Deep Kings; the land is just as haunted and pained as it was when he released the Heart of the Void almost a century prior. We march to Adrogorsk, the melted remains of a once-great city, where Ryhalt Galharrow was born under the battered and broken banner of a silver fist lost in a crimson sea. What better place to fight for the future of mankind than where it all began? While I knew we'd be spending quite a bit of time in these poisoned lands, I was not expecting to venture into the Nameless' place of power, a world of shattered ice and solitude - a strangeness that seems all too familiar - where the secrets to victory lie buried deep within.

Like the rest of the series, Crowfall is a first person narrative told through the eyes of Galharrow, and it's blatantly clear how much he has evolved from the beginning of book one to now. There's a certain poise and maturity radiating from him that we have yet to see, at times oozing with truly tragic undertones - a broken man feeling right at home in a broken world. The prose is beautiful, the sentiment is hard-hitting, the ultimate goal hidden from readers until the explosive final moments. All of the pieces we've been collecting over the the series' 1,000+ pages beautifully come together to reach a remarkable climax where the fate of all hangs in the balance.

Crowfall was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I couldn't ask for a more fitting conclusion to this series, which I absolutely adore. Everything is as it should be. I'll admit, I'm a little sad I have to say goodbye to Galharrow and crew, and even though all the threads have been perfectly tied up, I can only hope this isn't my last time visiting the Misery. If you haven't yet started the Raven's Mark series, you're only doing yourself a disservice and should rectify this right away. If you're already a fan of the series, you're in for a treat. I highly recommend.
Profile Image for Mike Everest Evans.
88 reviews186 followers
September 9, 2019
The Good: Above and beyond the compelling characters and punchy plot, this is a book that keeps you guessing right up until the final page.

The Bad: As with Ravencry, Crowfall embarks on an entirely new direction to a destination that I hadn’t anticipated – some readers may dislike this, but I for one am happy to hop on the bandwagon.

The Ugly Truth: Crowfall takes everything you would expect of this book and tears it up right in front of you, before handing you something you would never have dreamt up, even in the wildest of Misery-fuelled nightmares. And it’s amazing for it!

The Review: Crowfall is the third and final instalment in Ed McDonald’s award-winning Raven’s Mark trilogy, published by Gollancz in the UK and Ace Roc in the US.

As this is a continuation of the series, this review includes minor spoilers for Blackwing and Ravencry.

Blackwing captain Ryhalt Galharrow has withdrawn from the world. After consuming the essence of the Misery – namely the creatures that roam it – he now resides in semi self-imposed exile in the apocalyptic wastelands. But when the Nameless come calling, its down to him and his erstwhile allies to make one last stand against a threat far greater than the Deep Kings ever posed. To save the future of mankind, Ryhalt and co will have to uncover the secrets of the past, the ghosts of yesterday, and the origin of the Misery itself. But staring into the looking glass casts a reflection, and when the person looking back at you is more a monster than those you’re fighting, even a hero has to ask if it’s worth it…

I thoroughly enjoyed Crowfall, in the same way I enjoyed Blackwing and Ravencry. Which, when I think about it, is a little bit mad. Each book is a continuation of the last in the series, but they all have something inherently different in terms of structure and story that marks them apart. This isn’t a bad thing – no, no! – but it is a departure from the typical setup in most fantasy trilogies. In a way, the Raven’s Mark trilogy is similar to RJ Barker’s Wounded Kingdom series in this sense, in that each book is almost a standalone novel, and could potentially be read out of sequence (though this would certainly have massive spoiler implications).

In my review of Ravencry I called Galharrow fantasy’s answer to DCI Luther. In essence this is still true of Crowfall, but here we have an older (though not necessarily wiser) character, whose internal struggles play as big a part in the narrative as the external conflict that threatens the world as we know it.

On that note, Crowfall continues to push the boundaries even beyond the uncharted fathoms of its own world-building. That being said, it feels like we are only seeing what’s on the surface when it comes to certain elements (such at the Nameless, the Deep Kings), and there are plenty more depths to plumb.

The story and setting is still gloriously grim and deliciously dark, but the tag associated with the series—‘grimdark with heart’—has never been more fitting than it is here. McDonald has said previously that this is a love story with swords, and this story really embraces that theme. Not just a love of a romantic partner, but of friends, and family, and friends who become family. Crowfall is also darker – and I would argue more ‘mature’ in its emotional exploration – than the rest of the series, and I think that reflects McDonald’s continued growth as a writer. I would say, that for some readers, especially those expecting a hack’n’slash to the finish across the dystopian wastes, this might not be what you planned for. It’s not necessarily the book we wanted, but it’s definitely the book we needed in terms of breaking out of the mould set by its predecessors, and fantasy as a whole (especially when it comes to ‘the end’ of a series).

As the saying goes, it is always darkest before the dawn, and while Crowfall plunges into the pitch black of nightmare, the light at its heart is as fierce as the sun. For me, this was a brave and bold new direction (again) which led to a destination I hadn’t necessarily expected but was thoroughly impressed with. Here is a story and an author who takes risks, even when the stakes are this high, and has the chops to see them through. In my honest opinion, McDonald has delivered on all accounts, covering a lot (and I mean a lot) of ground in the Raven’s Mark series, and I for one can’t wait to see where he takes readers next.
Profile Image for Javir11.
513 reviews140 followers
April 5, 2021
7,5/10

Con crowfall terminamos esta trilogía grimdark de Ed Mcdonald del mismo modo que la empezamos, a trompicones. Momentos bastantes buenos e incluso alguno cercano al brillante, con otros más pesados y que cortaban un poco el ritmo narrativo, pero como digo, nada nuevo en esta trilogía.

A su favor tenemos la visión más cercana a ciertos aspectos del worldbuilding que en los otros libros se nos muestran de pasada, a la que también añadiría la cantidad de respuestas y de hechos que se nos aclaran durante la trama, algo necesario si se quería cerrar la historia de forma más o menos decente.

A lo ya comentado arriba sobre sus defectos, incluiría la falta de algún personaje con más empaque, sobre todo la ausencia de un verdadero némesis se echa bastante en falta.

Resumiendo, novela de fantasía adulta con ese toque oscuro y sucio que tanto gusta últimamente, que nos ofrece buenas ideas y diferentes, pero que al mismo tiempo da la sensación de que se le podría haber sacado más jugo a todo el conjunto, aquí hablo de toda la trilogía, pero que en cualquier caso cierra bastante bien la trama principal y nos ofrece entretenimiento de forma notable, aunque sin alcanzar el sobresaliente en ningún aspecto.
Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
255 reviews147 followers
July 30, 2022
Conclusión de la trilogía 'La marca del cuervo', una novela de fantasía oscura con mucha acción y emoción donde la expiación, la capacidad de sacrificio y la traición son el acicate de una trama llena de giros.

Narrada desde el punto de vista del personaje principal con una prosa rica y visual, una ambientación brutal y unos personajes convincentes y muy bien caracterizados. Su final, aunque largo y predecible, resulta muy satisfactorio.

Aunque mi favorito es el primer libro de la trilogía, ha sido una grata lectura.
Profile Image for Micperk.
37 reviews21 followers
July 19, 2019
This was another difficult one to review, I've loved this series and this book did a good job of finishing it up. It took a bit for me to figure out why I wasn't as enthralled with this one as the previous two. I think the series should've been longer, for me it felt like this book was just pushing forward at breakneck speed to offer an ending to the story. Wasn't really any reveals or major details into the background of the nameless or the deep kings. From the beginning it felt like I knew exactly how this would end and it was so focused on reaching that point that it never explored anything else. I never felt on edge or worried about anything.

I'll still claim this as an excellent series and would recommend anyone who loves fantasy to take time out and read it. The final book was solid and delivered an ending with a hint of more to come.
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,636 reviews449 followers
November 15, 2021
This review can also be found at https://carolesrandomlife.com/

I really liked this book and thought that it was a very fitting end to a great trilogy. Since this is the third book in a trilogy, I would highly recommend reading the first two books before jumping into this one. This book picks up some time after the events of the second book but Ryhalt and the rest of the characters have all undergone a lot of changes since we last saw them. I was hooked from the start and couldn’t wait to see where things would go as the book drew to a close.

Ryhalt has spent years in the Misery away from others. I absolutely loved the descriptions of the Misery with its hostile and ever-changing nature. The changes in Ryhalt were rather surprising and completely unexpected since he has lost a lot of his humanity. When he gets news that leads him from the Misery, things get intense very quickly. It isn’t long before he enlists the help of those that he has leaned upon in the past. The odds are stacked against the group as they head into the battle of their lives.

There was plenty of action and excitement in this book which kept me glued to the story. I love that I have come to expect the unexpected in this trilogy and that anything could happen at any given time. This is a dark gritty story that was oftentimes brutal. Things do not always go well for this group of characters. I thought that the parts of the story that occurred in the Misery were exceptional since the landscape added another layer of danger to the story.

I alternated between the digital book and audiobook when reading this novel. Colin Mace does a phenomenal job with this series. He does a great job in bringing Ryhalt to life and adds a lot of excitement and emotion to his reading. He has the perfect voice for this kind of story and would eagerly listen to his narration again in the future.

I do recommend this trilogy to others. I enjoyed this dark fantasy novel that was filled with great characters and a lot of excitement. I cannot wait to read more of this talented author’s work.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley and purchased a copy of the audiobook.

Initial Thoughts
I really liked this one and thought that it was a great end to the trilogy. Ryhalt and the rest of the characters have all changed a lot since we saw them in the last book. I really liked the descriptions of the Misery and was glad to see so much of the book take place there. There was plenty of action to keep things interesting and quite a few surprises that I did not see coming. I alternated between the digital book and the audiobook and thought that the narration was very well done.
Profile Image for kartik narayanan.
725 reviews201 followers
July 29, 2019
Read the full review at my site Digital Amrit

Introduction
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.

Characters
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.

Read the full review at my site Digital Amrit
Profile Image for Tom.
82 reviews4 followers
March 22, 2022
I think this has been a pretty good trilogy for me, Ed should be more known in the world of fantasy.
Profile Image for Miriam Michalak.
709 reviews25 followers
July 13, 2019
Wow! That was some fucking ride!!

Dark, monstrously brutal, visceral, grimmer than most grimdark novels but oh, the humanity. The wonderful, awful, beautiful, flawed humanity of the book. Hope in a dark world shines through and the ending was unexpected and really rather good :)

A fabulous end to a great series. Am already missing the Misery.

Profile Image for Cornapecha.
201 reviews14 followers
August 5, 2022
Con Crowfall concluye la serie de Raven’s Mark, y lo hace con bastante coherencia y buen gusto, dejando la puerta abierta para más libros en algún posible futuro. En esta entrega, el tono cambia un poco con respecto a los anteriores, cogiendo un cierto aire a Sanderson en su serie de la Bruma, por lo de los personajes que adquieren unos poderes tan tremendos como desconcertantes para ellos, lo que les lleva a múltiples reflexiones acerca de su capacidad y su destino y tal Pascual.

La Miseria y Galharrow, Galharrow y La Miseria, se unen en una relación emocionante, pero que sufre un poco por la tendencia de McDonald de no acabar de redondear sus textos. Bien por intentar mantener la tensión, o bien por falta de pericia, a veces se hace un poco cuesta arriba seguir la evolución de Ryhalt Galharrow, porque aunque la idea general está bastante clara, el bueno de McDonald se sale del camino demasiado a menudo. Por ejemplo, es muy habitual que Ryhalt se refiera a sus recién adquiridos poderes con los que puede hacer frente a cualquier enemigo humano o mágico, para en el párrafo siguiente afirmar que a duras penas se mantiene de pie. O la transformación física del protagonista, que cambia constantemente sin que se entienda demasiado en que punto estamos en cada momento, porque según el autor, cada vez los ojos le brillan más, la piel se vuelve más oscura, las venas se le marcan más o las uñas se le ponen negras, lo que hace que uno se pregunte cómo se vería el bueno de Ryhalt al final de su transformación. O ese Acradius, todopoderoso enemigo que sin embargo necesita retransmitirle sus avances a Galharrow con la puntualidad y fanfarronería de un noticiero británico...

Pero esos fallos de McDonald no le impiden tampoco reincidir en sus aciertos habituales. El ritmo es rápido y se lee con mucha facilidad, tiene una imaginación poderosa y lo cierto es que atrapa al lector, que necesita saber como acaba esta saga (aunque el final tampoco es que sea precisamente apoteósico, por cierto).

Y, por último, una valoración general de la saga. Le daría un notable raso, McDonald tiene buenas ideas y buen sentido del ritmo, pero le falta ese poco que separa al buen escritor del gran escritor. Si consigue pulir esos defectos narrativos podemos estar ante un grande del género, sin duda. Y mientras, puedes disfrutar de esta saga, que como digo, para mi tiene una nota bastante alta y es totalmente recomendable para cualquier aficionado al género.
Profile Image for Bibliotecario De Arbelon.
230 reviews94 followers
August 26, 2022
En esta tercera entrega, McDonald sube de nuevo el nivel respecto a Ravencry.

La trama se vuelve de nuevo más compleja y conocemos un poco más en profundidad los orígenes del mundo, de los Sin Nombre y de los Reyes de las Profundidades.

Tenemos un cierre satisfactorio que deja las puertas abiertas a regresar a esta historia en el futuro.

Pese a que esta trilogía me ha gustado mucho, me quedo con un regusto amargo porque creo que se podría haber desarrollado todo mucho más y conseguir unas novelas mucho más complejas. Aún y así, pienso seguirle la pista de cerca a todo lo que escriba Ed McDonald.
Profile Image for Steve.
351 reviews69 followers
June 5, 2020
Quite a conclusion to a fine trilogy. Enjoyed this in the Grimdark sense! Meaning the book isn’t filled with laughter and sunny days but gritty tension, bloodshed and a good vs. evil conflict where even the good side can’t be counted upon to act decently.
In this final episode we continue the tale of Captain Galharrow, our main POV, the guilt laden hero. He starts in a mostly self-imposed exile in the Misery, this tortured, fractured reality, the no-mans land between the conflicting forces in this world. In fact, he now seems rather more at one with the Misery and it’s poisonous magic than is good for him. Nonetheless he’s still determined to play a role opposing the evil Deep Kings, even if the Demi-gods he is allied with often seem little better. Dalharrow finds old allies, makes some new ones and, despite it being the third in the trilogy with quite a story behind it, I still found the storyline fresh and interesting. A nice running theme too in his familiarity with old, dead comrades who appear to him as ghosts.

Maybe I’m a bit unsure about the final climax and ending. There is quite a magical undercurrent to this world, with a number of practitioners possessing powerful, magical skills. The climax involving these aspects did just get a little out of control for me. When magic is flung around so dramatically you wonder why the practitioners bother with humans, though in fairness the author does cleverly try to hold it under control with a critical human aspect. You probably won’t understand what I mean until you read it - which I heartily recommend you do.

Summarising the trilogy, this series probably defines for me what Grimdark fantasy is. I don’t usually like to label books strongly but if any series is Grimdark, this is! That doesn’t mean it’s all doom and gloom. Galharrow, and his companions, are fine, flawed heroes. There is normally a ‘never say die’ attitude, which I like, even when it seems despair should win out. Despite its dark intensity I found the series easy to read, devouring large chunks in single reading sessions. For a first trilogy, impressive.
4.5* for this book, 5* for the trilogy.
Profile Image for Andris.
328 reviews55 followers
June 20, 2022
The third adventure of the grimdark's probably biggest drama queen Ryhalt Galharrow is appropriately bonkers and overally satisfying conclusion of the "Raven's Mark" trilogy.
Profile Image for Audrey.
77 reviews33 followers
July 24, 2019
Here my journey in the misery will stop. I enjoyed the trilogy of Ed McDonald , the characters the world building and most of all the plot. The shifting side was pleasant too we don’t know who is the bad guy of the good people. But at the end of the book I nevertheless had a taste of not enough..however I will miss this old stubborn of Ryhalt and the Range.
4,5 stars
Profile Image for Mark.
483 reviews81 followers
July 20, 2020
Wonderful

A great finale to a wonderful written series, well worth the time to read it. Highly recommended to all my good read friends.
Profile Image for Shree.
123 reviews18 followers
July 12, 2019
Damn! This is Some Great Stuff! You Should Try This!
And if you haven't read this series yet then you're wasting your time, literally.
Profile Image for Bogdan.
844 reviews1 follower
September 14, 2019
Yeah, just finished the series... anddd.... I`m not very happy!!!

The story was quite linear, no surprises, no risks involved, a lot of dialogues and (uninteresting) thinking (and this is on repeat) on the part of the main character and the list goes on...

There are some nice things, like the images involving some details of the story from the Art of War, or others details from the main character past, but overall, didn`t help a lot.

I wanted to give this one at least a four stars rating, but the truth is that if feels more like a three, it wasn`t a bad read, but it hasn`t made true all my high expectations.

Anyway, for me, McDonald remains a writer to keep an eye on, also, in the near future.
Profile Image for Kristen.
574 reviews111 followers
May 14, 2019
Full review is here on my blog!~

Everything is coming to a head in this final volume of The Raven's Mark series. That said, I'll try my level best not to spoil anything from the first two books for those of you who haven't read them.

But, I mean for those of you who haven't read them... go... go do that thing. :D

Things between the godlike Nameless and their nemeses, the also-rather-godlike Deep Kings are coming right to a head, and where 90 years earlier, Crowfoot detonated a weapon that created the pestilent land of the Misery, he plans to do it again, and Ryhalt Galharrow, Blackwing captain, Misery resident, seer of ghosts, and generally not bad dude... is set to lead an army through the Misery to its core to hopefully end this thing once and for all.

This was a brilliant conclusion to the series. Very fast-paced and full of twists and turns. It's certainly a dark story, in a world that is often quite grim, but it's not totally devoid of light. Galharrow, for all of his faults, is actually not a bad guy, and he does what he can to help his friends. He does what is in their best interests from his point of view at any rate, which isn't always what they want, but sometimes what they need. Or what he needs.

This story is told from the POV of Galharrow, as the last two were, and it's interesting to see this world from his point of view, especially considering how much he has changed over the course of this series, which has spanned more than an in-world decade overall. Galharrow is, just by the circumstances of his life, much, much different than he was in the first novel, but he hasn't lost that sort of snarky charm that has made him so easy for me to cheer for throughout.

This volume, just like its two predecessors, was full of really great quotes. I have many, many highlights of just... well, deep thoughts with Ryhalt Galharrow, I guess. Thoughts on love, and loss, memory and guilt, time and aging.

Time will numb you to anything. There is nothing that a determined human being cannot come to cope with in time. It doesn't mean that the pain of the loss is gone, or that it's embers cease to burn, deep in your core. It just changes. It changes from the incapacitating agony of a gut punch to the solid, deep aching of a broken bone. It becomes familiar. You carry it with you, accepted, never to leave.


This was a fantastically written and well plotted out conclusion to The Raven's Mark series. I had a fairly good idea by about the 3/4 mark of the book what was actually going to go down to finish up the story, but I wasn't quite sure how it was going to come about, and so the book had me on the metaphorical edge of my seat for a lot of the end. It was a little predictable in that, and there was definitely a dash of deus ex machina, if I'm being honest, but.... I find that I didn't really mind so much. It was entertaining to me, and that's what counts to me. :)

So, all told, I really liked this final installment. It wrapped up Galharrow's story quite well while leaving the world open for further exploration. Here's hoping that it gets explored! I definitely hope to read more from Ed McDonald in the future. 4.5/5 stars!~
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