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Ravens In the Sky: A Review

27 Jul

An icy chill caressed Irulen’s face. His breath blew hot against the winter air. He pictured the moisture striking valiantly into the open cold only to freeze and fall to the ground absent sound. Often Irulen found solace in unforgiving weather, the kind that made most people barricade themselves indoors to wait for the cyclic signs of spring to come again. Perhaps that’s why I like the cold so much, it acts as people repellent.

Ravens in the SkyFirst entry in Will Bly‘s Dark Compass trilogy, Ravens in the Sky is a tale of magic, murder, and friendship, and is strangely light despite the darkness.

The novel opens when Irulen, a mage detective, is hired to find a murderer. The solution to that case only poses more questions, and one case leads to another. The solitary Irulen — through no design of his own — begins collecting travel companions, and some of them bring troubles he hadn’t anticipated. Sure, he can fight the forces of the dark, but what about those of the heart?

This is an engagingly-written tale, I cared about the characters, and I could trust the author to tell a good yarn, so I was able to turn off my internal editor and enjoy the book. That is a rare thing these days — joy in reading. One of the downsides of being an editor is a canted eye that analyzes everything and refuses to be pleased, so I am always happy to find a book that helps me ignore the cigar-chomping imaginary editor in the back of my brain and simply immerse into the tale.

Nonetheless, in Ravens in the Sky there are several uses of cliched and/or anachronistic terms and phrases that pulled me out of the story. Still, these are not an insurmountable problem, and are easily fixed in future revisions of the text.

What made me go hmm: the instances where the story focused on bodily functions. Sometimes these moments moved the story along, sometimes not, but I did wonder about their inclusion. (To be fair, I did include a couple such instances in Dragon’s Rook, for the sake of adding realism and character development.)

There are a few, um, salty terms throughout the book, and there are adult themes, so I’d recommend this book to readers 18 and older.

The main storyline does wrap well by book’s end. However, the overarching story ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

Overall, recommended reading.

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