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Review: The Crow by Alison Croggon

>>Saturday, March 20, 2010

Title: The Crow
Author: Alison Croggon
Series: Book Three of the Pellinor Quartet
Format: Paperback
Pages: 511
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: August 12th, 2008
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Rating: 9

From Goodreads: As this enthralling epic nears its climax, the young heroine’s brother discovers his own hidden gift — and the role he must play in battling the Dark.

Hem is a weary orphan whose struggle for survival ends when he is reunited with his lost sister, Maerad. But Maerad has a destiny to fulfill, and Hem is sent to the golden city of Turbansk, where he learns the ways of the Bards and befriends a mysterious white crow. When the forces of the Dark threaten, Hem flees with his protector, Saliman, and an orphan girl named Zelika to join the Light’s resistance forces. It is there that Hem has a vision and learns that he, too, has a part to play in Maerad’s quest to solve the Riddle of the Treesong. As THE CROW continues the epic tale begun with THE NAMING and THE RIDDLE, Alison Croggon creates a world of astounding beauty overshadowed by a terrifying darkness, a world where Maerad and Hem must prepare to wage their final battle for the Light.

Why did I read this book? I read and loved the two previous books in the series, The Naming (review) and The Riddle (review).

Source: Bought

My Review
This book follows The Riddle) in the Pellinor series. However, this book doesn't follow chronologically; the story is parallel to that of the Riddle. Where in The Riddle Maerad's story is told, in The Crow Hem's story unfolds. This is a good and a not-so-good thing.

I really looked forward to and enjoyed the chance to experience Hem's story. We travel to a new city and are exposed to other cultures of Edil-Amarandh and get to learn about Hem himself. We also meet a new character, Irc the white crow (as seen on the cover) who is enorminously endearing. Being an animal lover I always appreciate our non-human characters in fantasies.

I found it mildly annoying that we had to go back in time to see Hem's story which coincides with Maerad's. We made big leaps in plot during The Riddle and I felt that there wasn't much that was new or unexpected in The Crow. I could feel the strings of the author pushing and pulling the plot to set everything up for when everything converges in The Singing (the fourth and final book).

Rating: 9
That being said, The Crow really stands out from the previous two books. This installment is much darker. There are heavy themes and also many gruesome images. It really gives you the sense that things are starting to get very serious. I liked that; it made everything seem that much more real. I highly recommend this series!

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