Thursday, October 30, 2014

AWWC 2014: Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

In this sequel to Shadowfell, Caller Neryn continues to learn about the gift that lets her connect with the Good Folk. Now she has joined the rebels she realises the importance of her Gift and she needs to bring them and the Good Folk together if they are to succeed. This is more important than ever before in a land where all magic is under threat from the brutal Enforcers of the cruel and vicious king, Keldec, who is determined that all magic must come under his control or be wiped out. Neryn has much to learn about controlling and using her Gift from the remaining magical Guardians and very little time in which to do it (even supposing they can be persuaded to teach her). Then there's her worry about the man she loves, the enigmatic Flint, who brought her to the rebel camp and has now returned to his dangerous work in the king's court.

I confess I'm a great fan of Juliet Marillier's novels and this one didn't disappoint. It is full of meticulous world building with realistic and believable characters and is beautifully written as well. Raven Flight is set in a past time in a land full of magical creatures and crammed with dangers. There's a good balance between the tension of a hostile land where no-one is to be trusted and the quieter periods of life in the rebel camp and when Neryn is learning her craft. At the same time the author doesn't shy away from the effects of war and the terrible consequences it can have.

Neryn's growth in magic and in herself is a large part of this novel and we see her mature from the frightened girl of Shadowfell into someone much more adult in her attitudes and understanding. I like Neryn a lot. She has enormous empathy and her Gift gives her added depth as she manoeuvres her way between the different needs of the rebels and the Good Folk to enable them to work together.

While Neryn is the main character, Tali, one of the rebel leaders, takes a major part in this book as Neryn's guard while she seeks out the Guardians. Tali is a complete contrast to Neryn and this adds much to the story. Where Neryn is gentle, kind and thoughtful but with a deep inner strength, Tali is a  physically tough, skilled warrior who can outfight almost anyone. She is full of righteous anger but is also intelligent and caring and she, too, grows as the women journey together.

I am totally hooked on Neryn's story and could hardly wait for The Caller, the final book in the trilogy, to come out. It has and I'll review it soon. For now let's just say I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Published in Australia in 2013 by Pan Macmillan Australia, Raven Flight is available both as a hard copy and as an e-book.

Juliet Marillier's website is here and she is also on Facebook.

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