*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: The Merciful Crow
Author: Margaret Owen
Publisher: Henry Holt
Publication Date: July 30, 2019
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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. 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. 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?
I was very excited to see this book pop up on the must-read YAs earlier this year and I stuck it on my to-read list right away. In this story, Crows are the lowest of the low. They are the ones left to deal with the sinners affected by they plague. They deal swift and merciful deaths before they dispose of the infected bodies. But they live nomadic lives, accepted nowhere. They are condemned and taken advantage of by the rest of their society and are expected to bear the greatest burdens. They have no one to turn to but themselves. The Crows lives are changed when their chief agrees to help the crown prince to escape from the palace where his crown and his life are in jeopardy.
I was not disappointed with this book in the slightest! It was easy to read and had an incredibly intricate and sinister world. The character of Fie is strong and hard, but she’s not totally invulnerable. She has many failings that make her completely human, but she’s witty, self-assured, and wicked smart. She grows throughout the book, coming into her own when her world around her is falling apart. She is forced to accept her own imperfections and the acknowledge where she lacks in order to find room for betterment of herself.
This book tackles ideas of prejudice in an engaging and thoughtful way. The book explores a cast system of society where privilege enables those with power to succeed and take advantage of those below their station. There is intense judgement and abuse between the casts, especially towards the Crows. But ultimately, this is a tale about change and affecting change. Fie is position to lead the charge to change the world she inhabits, the world that has taken advantage of her and her own for far too long.
I’m always looking for a good YA fantasy series to and I’m excited to have discovered The Merciful Crow. I hope you will enjoy it as well.