Once again Neryn is facing a challenge that she is not sure that she can meet. This time, though, she is not alone. Having fallen in with the rebellion against the sadistic King Keldec at the end of the previous novel in this trilogy, Shadowfell, Neryn is now learning to defend herself.
However, as a Caller her path is a perilous one, and will take her on a long journey in search of the Guardians. There she will study with each of them. Only once her powers have reached their potential, can she hope to overthrow King Keldec’s forces.
With the warrior woman, Tali, as her guard and leaving Flint behind in his precarious role as King’s man, Neryn has everything to fight for, and more to lose.
The world first visited in Shadowfell, returns in all of its vibrant glory in Raven Flight. Neryn, while still careful, is not the lost girl that she was in the last book. She is more sure of herself and of her gift. Following her instincts and her grandmother’s lead, she is respectful of her gift, and of how she utilises it. The responsibility of a Caller to use her abilities humbly adds depth to the world.
There is nothing humble about Tali, however. As can be surmised from the little we see of her in Shadowfell, she’s a fighter. She’s confident without being conceited, but acts on impulse rather than being reflective like Neryn.
Usually, two women on an epic quest would make me all sorts of happy, and there are a few scenes in Raven Flight that reach my expectations, but there could have been more. Neryn and Tali are such different personalities but both strong in their own ways. I was looking forward to the way that they would work together – or clash together. Neither really happened for the most part. The most emotion Neryn experienced over having Tali as a guard was disappointment that it couldn’t be Flint. The friendship between the two women never quite became a reality for me.
What was explored in far more depth was King Keldec’s court. He doesn’t take up much of the novel, but the scenes that he is in seem almost tainted by his malicious presence. His depravity skirts the edge of implausible until you read up on prior tyrants and realise that it’s all too possible. These scenes bring into sharp focus the reason that Neryn and all of the rebels have for fighting.
While Raven Flight didn’t reach all of my expectations, it is a good follow up to Shadowfell and has set itself up well for the final book in the trilogy. Tali is an interesting character who will hopefully be fleshed out more fully in The Caller, and it will be good to find out how Flint and Neryn’s relationship will grow.
Raven Flight – Juliet Marillier
Pan Macmillan (July 9, 2013)