The Faithless Hawk (The Merciful Crow, #2) – Margaret Owen [ARC Review]

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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis:

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in The Faithless Hawk, the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow.

As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.

With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows—and add numbers to her monstrous army—Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.

A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows—secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.

Review:

Huge thank you to Fierce Reads for providing this advanced readers copy of The Faithless Hawk! I was able to pick up this advanced copy at the Fierce Reads booth at C2E2 (Chicago Comic Con) this year! Fierce Reads was giving away The Faithless Hawk advanced copies if you purchased a copy of the first book. Did I already have two copies of The Merciful Crow!? Yep! Did that stop me from buying a third!? Not at all!! So now I’m the proud owner of three copies of The Merciful Crow and I have no regrets.

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen was one of my absolute favorite books from last year! From the world building to the caste hierarchy and the incredible magic system . . . The Merciful Crow is such a fun, action-packed, and unique story. The story ended with a big cliffhanger and I have been dying to know where the story would go next. I am happy to say that The Faithless Hawk did not disappoint!

I love the world that Margaret Owen has created. Everything is built and developed so well. This is especially true for the castes and magic system. This story takes place in the world made up of twelve castes, with each represented by a different bird. These castes were founded by thousands of gods who created the castes in their image and gifted each with a birthright (power). All of the castes have a birthright (fire, stealth, etc.) except for the Crows. There are also witches (who have stronger powers) born within each caste. The top caste is the Phoenixes, who make up the royalty and rule this world. The lowest caste is the Crows. They have no birthright and are universally looked down upon. They are abused, hated, and discriminated against. The treatment of the Crows is appalling. However, the castes rely on the Crows for a very important purpose . . . the Crows are the only ones immune to the Sinner’s Plague. The Sinner’s Plague is a horrible disease, highly contagious, and is fatal to anyone who contracts it. In order to stop the spread of the disease, any time someone contracts the Plague, the Crows are summoned to deliver mercy killings and to burn the bodies. This is why they are known as “The Merciful Crows.” Our lead, Fie, is a Crow chief and a Bone Thief witch. This means she can draw power from bones and teeth. For example: Sparrows have the birthright to hide in plain sight. Fie often calls upon Sparrow teeth to hide from enemies. I am just so fascinated by the incredible world and magic system that Owen has created!

My favorite part of The Faithless Hawk is the vivid imagery. Margaret Owen is able to create such stunning scenes that I can truly see in my mind. I especially love the scenes inside the palace. Everything is so gorgeous! Some of the imagery was so eerie! The skin ghasts and the effects of the Sinner’s Plague are so dang creepy! Owen is just so good at building the scenes.

I also loved how much Fie has grown throughout these two books. She has matured and become so much less selfish. This all happened naturally too. It wasn’t immediate or rushed at all.

Lastly, I loved all the espionage that takes place in The Faithless Hawk! There is so much spying, manipulation, and sneaking! Especially in all the palace scenes! It was so exciting and I couldn’t get enough of these parts!

The only reason I took off a star is the pacing. It was very on and off. There were lulls that seemed to drag, but then super exciting parts that were very fast paced! It was a mixed bag, but I overall really enjoyed The Faithless Hawk.

The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen is set to be released August 18th, 2020 by Henry Holt and Co.

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