Under the beautiful cover of The Merciful Crow, Margaret Owen weaves a tale of risky wagers and friendships gained. Fie belongs to the magicless Crow caste. The task of collecting plague victims falls upon the Crow caste, as well as hate and discrimination from the other castes.
Fie’s band of Crows is summoned to collect the supposedly plague-stricken bodies of Prince Jas and his bodyguard, Tavin. It turns out, however, Jas and Tavin faked their deaths to get away from the ruthless queen. Jas and Fie’s Crows strike a wager that benefits them both: Fie helps protect Jas from the queen and Jas will protect the Crows when he becomes king. Unfortunately for both of them, the deal brings trouble to both their doorsteps.
The story is set in Sabor, a wonderfully diverse world with many different cultures and societal castes. It was really interesting to read about the Crow’s different customs. For instance, some Crows can draw magic from the teeth of other castes. I had never heard of that before, so this idea was such a refreshing concept. The characters traveled across the continent, but I really wish that more of other cultures were shown.
The Merciful Crow also dealt with discrimination and diversity. With unique characters, each character’s different personalities and skill sets were shown. Some characters were gay, binary or bisexual, and I was so glad to see these people represented in a fantasy world. I loved seeing the bonds between all the characters too.
The book did get a little confusing at times. Even after finishing and reading all the plot twists, I did not have a full understanding of certain things that happened or certain aspects about the world. The Covenant played a major role in the story, and I never understood exactly what it was.
The Merciful Crow is definitely worth a read, and I cannot wait for Fie, Tavin and Jas to continue their journey.