The Faithless Hawk

Henry Holt and Co. (Merciful Crow: Bk. 2). Jul. 2020. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250191946.
Gr 7 Up–In this incisive conclusion to “The Merciful Crow” duology, Fie is now chief of her father’s Crow band and has safely delivered the crown prince to his allies in exchange for protection; life was supposed to get easier. When Fie comes face to face with a dead god, she ends up responsible for saving not just her Crows, but all of the Crows in Sabor. Their Birthright—the one history says they don’t have—was stolen hundreds of years ago, and it’s up to Fie to reclaim it. But the ruthless witch queen Rhusana has begun her play for the throne before Prince Jasimir can cement his claim. She blames the Crows for the king’s death, uses the Sinner’s Plague to raise skin-ghasts for her army, and gives her Oleander Gentry free rein to hunt any Crows they can find. Owen’s adroit worldbuilding turns up already high stakes, while further developing her diverse cast with sharp dialogue, morally charged conflicts, and political intrigue. Romance, betrayals, and a dwindling list of allies move the story through exciting turns that will keep readers glued to the page until the very end. With diversity present in race, gender, and sexual orientation, the series tackles the timely topic of institutionalized discrimination through its caste-system worldbuilding, rather than along racial lines.
VERDICT A recommended series for fantasy fans. Owen delivers on all her promises in this exhilarating, action-packed sequel, to create a world that readers won’t want to leave.
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