This is a review of the merciful crow by Margaret Owen.
There are twelve castes; Phoenix being the top and Crow being the lowest. As a crow Fie is used to being mistreated, threatened, hunted and being seen as less then human. With the plague threatening the whole country Crows are responsible for keeping it in tome. They are the only caste that is not effected by the plague and need to give mercy to the infested and make sure that the plague does not spread. They need to come to every plaguebeacon but get little to no payment in return for their service. Instead they get hunted down by the Orleanders. But everything changes when Fie makes a deal with the crown prince Jasimir and his bodyguard Tavin. He will protect the crows when he becomes king and she will make sure his wicked stepmother will not kill him and take the crown. On this journey to Jasimir his allies Fie, her kin, Jasimir and Tavin all learn about the world and all injustice done. How much will it cost to save their own and what does their own mean?
I really think this book has an important message and displays this really well. With the whole caste system in place and the discrimination that comes with it. You see that people who may not have cared before and looked away when injustice happened take another stance when they are forced to withness it firsthand on the other side. I believe this book has a strong and important message about courage, facing injustice and standing up for yourself and what you believe in.
I love Fie as a character. She is complex and has multiple layers. She faces difficult choices and needs to decide what is more important the greater good or what she feels herself. In the end I believe she is relateble. I may not have made the same choices she has but I understand them and her and I think that is really important in books. It felt like she was constant learning and changing which makes her feel more real. It really felt like we went on the journey with her and got to know her better bit by bit. She was not dead set on all her ideas so she could grow and the story could grow with her.
This book has a really interesting magic system. It felt really fresh and original. With the Crowwitches using teeth and bones of another caste to get replicate their power. I must admit I was a little bit confused with the magic system (and the whole story in general) in the first chapters but I was tired when I read those chapters so that may have a big influence on it (oops…).
I am normally not really a fan of stories with a big journey element in them. However I loved this one. I think the interaction kept being interesting and there was enough action during the journey. I also loved that there were a lot of moments that they interacted with people along the journey (friends and foes) which kept the story developing and made it more interesting.
I would have loved to get more of the interaction between Fie and her kin. We only got a little bit of that. I feel like I do not know that much about them. I would have made a bigger conection with some of the side characters if we knew more about them. Even the background story of Hangdog and Pa felt a little limited. Still there are a lot of characters to love (and hate) and I can not wait for the rest of this series.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars