Last year, The Merciless Crow flew into my hands thanks to Fairyloot and I was immediately obsessed. The Faithless Hawk has since been one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. And, oh, what a satisfying read it was!
Before we continue, let it be known that this is a review for a sequel. So there will be spoilers for The Merciful Crow, that’s just how it works. If you haven’t read it, I highly HIGHLY encourage you to stop reading this and get yourself a copy post haste.
Being Chief isn’t easy. Fie is learning that the hard way. But she has her Hawks as guards and a pouch full of Phoenix teeth, so her plan is the same. Wait for Prince Jasimir to take the throne and make good on his promise to protect her people.
Except Queen Rhusana has other plans.
Black smoke signals the King’s death and the Queen uses the plague as a way to unite Sabor against the Crow’s even more. Fie has to unravel the riddles of dead gods while trying to stop Rhusana’s plans to take over entirely. Faced with betrayal, overwhelmed by secrets, Fie needs to find the answers to save her people. Or lose Sabor forever.
Margaret Owen has a way with first sentences. They’re sharp. Taking us into the world and dancing with double meaning. They remind us exactly who the Crow’s are and what their purpose is, while laying a subtle foundation for the story to come. In short, they’re brilliant.
Of course, first sentences aside, both books are full of Owen’s sharp writing. She commands the words and they dance, alluding to future twists in such a subtle and nuanced way that combing back through after reading is a linguistic delight. It’s language stripped bare to a single note, sentences then crafted into elegant symphonies.
This is part of why I adore these books. Owen isn’t trying to hide the truth, rather, she writes it all in plain sight. Truths are shocking but expected, twists unknown and somehow familiar. It’s impossible to call anything about this world or these characters predictable, but better than that, they’re understandable because Owen takes the time to build their foundation as we read.
They’re also incredibly fun.
Fie is my girl, er, sorry, my Chief! I adore her sharp tongue and willingness to burn the world down in order to get the justice her people deserve. She’s feisty and determined but makes plenty of mistakes along the way. Her personality is dynamic, as are all the characters, making it easy to fall into this world.
All the characters are vivid and real, pulling themselves from the page to fit into our own reality easily. I can imagine being friends with Fie in our world or hers. The flexibility highlights how enthralling these characters are, and I imagine everyone reading will find multiple favorites to champion behind.
Let’s take a moment to talk about the magic, because this magical system continues to blow my mind. It isn’t just using teeth as a conduit, but also it is. I mean, it’s genius. Teeth are an intimate part of us and being able to tap into that connection is fascinating.
Again, it speaks to the imagination and mastery Owen has over her world. The magic is new but familiar. Sabor is recognizable but unique. There are layers of detail and nuance written into every page making reading a marvel and an experience, offering new perspective with every read. It delights me to no end.
I know I talk about devouring books, but I’m also fairly certain this book devoured me. I couldn’t put it down, and even now, I think about the story. How it built, how it ended. I want more even though I’m completely satisfied.
But as I mentioned before, this is a series I will read again and again. Even browsing through to write this review, was discovering an old friend that has discovered a new way to tell their story. Sentences have added layers and dimension to them and the brilliance of Owen’s writing makes me want to throw this series at everyone!
I feel like this review might be choppy. Chaotic. A rambling loop of raving praise, but it’s impossible to get into detail and depth without ruining the experience. But here’s The Faithless Hawk in a nutshell. There’s murder. Betrayal. Dead gods. Ancient secrets. More secrets. Magic. Fire. Vengeance. Mercy.
It all adds up to five delicious and stabby stars!
Thank you TBR Tours and Beyond and Fierce Reads for sending me a copy and including me on this tour!
Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow.
As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.
With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows—and add numbers to her monstrous army—Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.
A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows—secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.
Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.
The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.
Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.