Review The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

I can’t lie; I do like this cover.

Premise:

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:

The Merciful Crow was a great example of why I DNF books. I started listening to this audiobook on one of my commutes and read the first 20% all at once. I didn’t like that first 20% and if I wasn’t reading this book for a book club, I would have definitely DNF’ed it. I didn’t like the first 20% and I also didn’t like the other 80%. So now I just feel a little bit like I’ve wasted my time on this book whilst I could’ve been reading something I enjoyed more.

What did I not like about this book? To be honest, almost everything. I’ll make it easy for myself and start with what I did like or what did interest me. There were two things that peaked my interest: the magic system and the caste system. The magic system was unique and not really like anything I’ve read before. The caste system wasn’t necessarily unique, but a nice touch to the book. But I also did have an issue with both of those things, namely that they felt underdeveloped to me. I didn’t fully understand either of them up until the end of the story. And now after finishing it I honestly still feel like I don’t fully understand them.

And now we can actually get to what I didn’t like about this book. We’ll start with the part I’ve already touched on: the world building and the book in general felt a bit underdeveloped. I was almost constantly confused whilst reading. It felt like the author wanted to put too many fantasy elements in this story, which resulted in the book being too confusing. I also think all of the fantasy elements caused the plot to be quite boring. About 90% of this book is the main characters travelling, with little action. I really missed some action in this book. Out of that 90% of the travelling it felt like 80% of it was the main characters not liking each other or fighting with each other (verbally).

Talking about the main characters I didn’t like any of them or didn’t care for any of them. I don’t know why I felt that way, but I just did. I also feel like the author threw so many useless characters in this book. Sometimes a character was mentioned or appeared in one chapter to then never be referred to or whatever ever again. And I totally get that you need to do that sometimes. But apart from the three main characters almost all of the other characters felt like that.

I don’t have an outspoken opinion on the writing style; I didn’t like it but I also didn’t hate it. I just think that the writing wasn’t always clear and that just added to the confusion of the whole book.

My last (and most annoying) issue with this book was just how predictable it was. And I really don’t like my books to be predictable.

Those were kind of my main issues with the story itself. But since I listened to the audiobook I also have a couple of things to say about that experience.

First of: I really didn’t like the narrator. She did way too many random accents for the characters. It felt so unrealistic that all these characters who live in the same world and the same region had such different accents. Especially Prince Jasimir; why on earth did he had to have such a bad British accent?

And lastly I think the fact that I listened to this book as an audiobook, probably was one of the causes of why I was so confused. But I tried everything to be less confused; I relistened to some chapters, but the book on a lower speed etc. but nothing seemed to work, so I’m not 100% sure the audiobook is at cause for my confusion.

I had really hoped to like this book, but unfortunately I didn’t.

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