Publisher: Ace

Blackwing by Ed McDonald

Posted October 5, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | | 2 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blackwing by Ed McDonaldBlackwing by Ed McDonald
Series: Raven's Mark #1
Published by Ace on October 3, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads
three-half-stars
one-flame

Set on the ragged edge of a postapocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man’s desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny…

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve…

          

 

Blackwing is an interesting debut which I found hard to categorize.  It’s definitely fantasy with a historical feel, but it could be futuristic apocalypse actually. The world building is in bits and dribbles as we have the view of the main character, Galharrow. Because of this, or just because it is the first book, I feel a lack of knowledge and the understanding comes slowly.

The story is grim, dark with quite a bit of action. There are magic users but otherwise the weapons seem to be arrows, swords and knives., which is why I say it feels historical.  The characters are mostly not as well developed as Galharrow. He hides some of himself and feels he has some great personal flaws with his past. I wouldn’t call him a hero but he is likable and relatable.

While out of my typical choice, I chose this as it sounded unique. The overwhelming and constant fight to survive in this world makes a compelling read. The politics of class are frustrating as always. I struggled a bit to understand some details as the world developed. I enjoyed the mystery, the battles, and the generally fast pace. I love magic and learning about it in this world was fun. Having a touch of romance and the connection of his small group of comrades was a real bonus and added so much. I’d recommend this if you like this gritty action, magic and a new world.

 

About Ed McDonald

Ed McDonald studied ancient history at the University of Birmingham and holds an MA in medieval history from the University of London. He is a keen martial artist and specializes in the Italian longsword.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:


Audio: The Hunt by Chloe Neill

Audio: The Hunt by Chloe Neill

Posted September 21, 2017 by Anne in Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway | 34 Comments

  I love this author and I have loved this Devil’s Isle series from the start. Somehow, this is an audio series for me. The world and the character of Claire are something special. Claire is mature; she’s had to be, since she is on her own. Her skills and practical nature reflect her upbringing. In The Hunt, she learns much more about her family history as she works to help all the people in New Orleans, with or without magic.  She grows in her magic skills, and deals with new information. Even though she is a target, and more isolated with hiding, because of her magic, she makes a stand for what is right. At the end of The Sight, Liam leaves. For the […]


Audio: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Audio: Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Posted September 15, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | 0 Comments

                  I waited a long time to start Red Sister.  It’s fantasy which I never quite believe I will like. Fantasy can be dark, violent, even brutal with almost no humor. Audio is a way I slip myself into the story. I wanted to try this author. I’m so glad I did. The world-building here is huge. It has the fantasy standard of feudal groups fighting for power. There is royalty and there are peasants. Our girl is a peasant. We follow Nona’s life from small child to older child, I guess. There is a religious aspect which I usually dislike but this felt more political, which religion often is political. The backdrop of all the places in Nona’s life […]


The End of Magic by Amber Benson

The End of Magic by Amber Benson

Posted May 15, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | 1 Comment

                       I needed to read this book because at the end of The Last Dream Keeper, I was so confused I wasn’t sure of who was dead or alive, who was good or bad.  The confusion and disjointed vignettes continued as each chapter in The End of Magic had a different point of view, as in previous books in The Witches of Echo Park series.  This style can work, especially as the main characters are in different locations with each having important things happening. It is less effective when the various parts don’t make sense, or when it becomes so jumbled I don’t care if I sort it out. I wanted the main members of the coven […]


New series: Vanguard by Jack Campbell

New series: Vanguard by Jack Campbell

Posted May 11, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | 0 Comments

          If you have enjoyed Jack Campbell’s other series, Lost Fleet and Beyond the Frontier, and Lost Stars,  Genesis Fleet will feel familiar. The writing style, space opera and military strategy all line up with the others. Vanguard is the beginning of the world, a prequel. The politics swing from democracy to dictator, not unrealistic to life, without finding a happy medium. The good guys and bad guys are clear but people can be redeemed, or change sides. In the developing world, people need to make decisions about who they will be and how they will live. People fight to survive. They also want to build new worlds with their own values and religions. Some are just greedy and controlling. It’s […]


Free Space by Sean Danker

Free Space by Sean Danker

Posted May 4, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | 2 Comments

      I loved The Admiral, the first book in the Evgardian series.  It was a good introduction to the world with four people stranded who didn’t know each other. It was smart. The plot was clear – survival – but very fascinating as the world developed and also learning about the characters. The Admiral, capable and with a subtle humor, was a mystery and fun. For the most part, politics is viewed in the background as they are isolated. Free Space is the same but very different.  We again have four main characters, two of them we know, sort of. I enjoy strong characters who figure things out and try to improve things overall.  And overall doing what is right with compassion is appealing. […]


Blog tour: Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Blog tour: Cold Reign by Faith Hunter

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anne in Blog Tour, Book Review | 5 Comments

          I’ll start by admitting I LOVE, LOVE the Jane Yellowrock series and the author, Faith Hunter.  I didn’t read until there were maybe 8 books. I think it actually helps when you can read them all in a short time together to keep the information and details fresh. I was careful to read everything, including the novellas, in order. It’s important to me in general, but especially with urban fantasy. Let’s get right to it. Ricky Bo is here, more than I expected. And I didn’t hate him. I didn’t like him either. I also didn’t crush on Leo. At all. I was furious with Leo. He always has his secrets from Jane and it sucks. He also tries to manipulate […]


Early Review: Gauntlet by Holly Jennings

Early Review: Gauntlet by Holly Jennings

Posted March 30, 2017 by Anne in Book Review | 0 Comments

               My Ace Roc Stars connection gave me the first book, Arena and I was hooked, ready and waiting. Gauntlet picks right up with the action and emotional roller coaster. It is fierce, uplifting and energizing! Kali, the warrior, is such a lovable character. She makes mistakes, totally blames herself, and just doesn’t give up. You can’t help but want her to win. Murphy’s law is alive and well and beating up Kali every chance it gets. She is so young, only turning 21, and yet has such integrity. No matter how much she fucks up, she takes responsibility, sucks it up and claws her way back into the game. Grueling, hard work might be a euphemism. The decisions she […]