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ARC Review: The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

The Merciful Crow

Author: Margaret Owen

Series: The Merciful Crow #1

Genre: YA, fantasy

Publisher: Henry Holt (BYR)

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A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own?

my review

I received a free copy for an honest review.


Was it because my expectations were too high? Or because it was too hyped? Why did I keep zoning out when I was reading this book? It seemed like I wasn’t the only one too. I hate this because I can see the effort put into this book in its storytelling, and it had such unique ideas as well as some of my favorite YA book tropes that I didn’t even consider the possibility of it being anything less than amazing. Unfortunately, it still failed to capture my attention, and I found myself struggling to finish it. It’s so frustrating because I had to keep re-reading parts I already “read” since my lack of attention resulted in me failing to actually “read” any of the stories. I would re-open the books days later and realize I have little to no memory of what had just happened. Hell, I would be reading and periodically realized that I didn’t understand anything I just read.

You know how sometimes when you are in class, you dozed off, and it takes some time for you to realize that you dozed off because you didn’t even notice that you dozed off?

Yeah, it’s kind of like that.

The romance was adequate. Yeah, that’s kind of it.

Just like how many others have said before me, it was okay, but…it just wasn’t enough for me to not doze off when reading. I do want to make one thing cl­ear though: that doesn’t mean the characters were “badly written”. Fie was a strong capable and individual, and I can understand her struggles without feeling her efforts were over the top. Jasimir’s lackluster attempts at collaboration with the crows were explained by the fact that he’s gay (*cough* Tavin *cough*). Finally, I appreciated how Tavin was written as someone who acts unreliable and incapable to hide his true capability, in order to have his opponents underestimate him.

Overall, even if this book was a bit disappointing and underwhelming, I still want to acknowledge its unique concept (crows, magic, and teeth) and world-building. It’s just a shame I kind of have to “force” myself to finish it.

Rating: 3/5

about the author

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen 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.

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.)

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