It's been three years since the Nameless unmade one of the Deep Kings and used his heart to re-activate Nall's Engine and obliterate every drudge in close proximity. Since then there's been an uneasy truce between the two sides, with the Deep Kings too afraid to send their Darlings close to Valengrad. But when a valuable artifact is stolen from Crowfoot's lair, Galharrow knows it's only a matter of time before the people of Valengrad are called to once again face impossible odds of survival.
"'What do you make of all that?'
'It sounds very fucking bad', Maldon said. 'But then, you have to wonder just how much of this has been going on for the last thousand years, don't you? How often does one side or the other come up with something like the Heart of the Void?'
'Once was too often,' I said. 'The sky should never have been sundered.' I wondered how many of our people Crowfoot had destroyed when he unleashed his weapon and burned the Misery into being. Too many. Sometimes I wondered if he'd known how badly he would tear reality when he unleashed that power, but I always came to the same conclusion. It was better not to know."
Every debut author has to pass quite a few tests before they become established, and the call to show that the success of their debut wasn't a one-time-thing might be the most important one. McDonald passed the test with flying colors, proving once and for all that's he's here to stay and become a household name sooner than later.
In Ravencry, McDonald kept everything we loved from Blackwing, such as the gritty and grim setting, the morally grey yet highly likeable characters, the complex and in many places unpredictable events, and the general air of mystery surrounding all of the above, but he also introduced new elements, plot devices and machinations, keeping the story familiar yet fresh and alluring.
When I first read Blackwing I was so impressed that I didn't even write a review. I simply called it perfect in every possible way, and the same applies for Ravencry. Everything begins and ends with McDonald's unique storytelling abilities, but it's what's in-between that makes the difference, such as the proficient and smooth prose, the perfectly balanced pace and the beautiful imagery, all of them coming together to create a perfect page-turner.
All in all, Ravencry is the perfect sequel and a book every fantasy author would aspire to write.
You can pre-order it here.