Title: The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow, #1)
Author: Margaret Owen
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?
This was a magic system unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Teeth are used to give certain magical characteristics to its users based on the class of person. The Merciful Crow is easily immersible, masterfully depicted, and full of magic.
Give them fire. Give them fear.
I loved the magic system, a world where the lowest class does have some power. When someone dies, all castes turn to the Crows or risk catching disease. Not being picky about payment, the Crows know when they are undermined and can refuse to dispose of the body.
Mercy was a chief’s gift. Inflicting it was their duty.
Fie was such a strong, patient, female lead. Her selflessness is her weakness and I love that characteristic about her. It is so real. The decisions she faced were realistically dealt with, the relationships were warm, and the mistrust of new people was warranted.
I kept waiting for Tavis and Jasimir to pull a Queen Amidala on us and say they were the reverse roles the whole time…but it never happened. We get so used to certain characteristics representing certain characters and expect the same every time. This change was refreshing and didn’t make the story predictable.
We stay in Sabor because it’s our home. Aye, the villages don’t want us, but the sinners always do. Every plague-fearing soul sleeps easier knowing we’ll come when they call. So you ask why we stay? Because the plague stays. Because someone out there needs mercy. And because this is our damned home.
The Merciful Crow is a unicorn: beautifully crafted, vulnerable, and realistic. Definitely a top read of 2019!