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Blackwing

Raven's Mark, Book 1
Written by: Ed McDonald
Narrated by: Colin Mace
Length: 11 hrs and 9 mins
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Set on a post-apocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man's desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny....

Hope, reason, humanity: the Misery breaks them all.

Under its cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, the arcane remnant of a devastating war with the immortals known as the Deep Kings. The war ended nearly a century ago, and the enemy is kept at bay only by the existence of the Engine, a terrible weapon that protects the Misery's border. Across the corrupted no-man's-land teeming with twisted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies bide their time. Watching. Waiting.

Bounty hunter Ryhalt Galharrow has breathed Misery dust for 20 bitter years. When he's ordered to locate a masked noblewoman at a frontier outpost, he finds himself caught in the middle of an attack by the Deep Kings, one that signifies they may no longer fear the Engine. Only a formidable show of power from the very woman he is seeking, Lady Ezabeth Tanza, repels the assault.

Ezabeth is a shadow from Galharrow's grim past, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he's spilled or the gods he's supposed to serve....

©2017 Ed McDonald (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"A remarkably assured fantasy debut that mixes of the inventiveness of China Miéville with the fast paced heroics of David Gemmell." (Anthony Ryan, New York Times best-selling author of The Legion of Flame)

What listeners say about Blackwing

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • Jeffrey
  • 2019-04-09

Loved the ending!

The ending reminded me of Brandon Sanderson style and i loved it. Took me a little while to get into and pick up all the threads of the story. The world building is fantastic and the characters and their complex relationships with each other make this book stand out. I just love it when seemingly disjointed plot points and characters come together in the end and make you rethink the entire book. I will have to Listen a second time for sure. I really loved the first person perspective and the inner monologue of the main character.

Narrator does a great job overall but might've changed inflection a little more when acting out the female characters as sometimes I had trouble telling male from female voices.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Twain
  • 2017-10-22

A very strong start to a promising series

If you like dark fantasy that caters to Adults featuring likeable anti-heroes (think Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Martin etc..) you'll probably like this. The world building is decent, character development is good enough (a little thin on supporting characters), narration is very good, and the writing is gritty. Its a bleak world starring flawed characters and the writing makes no apologies for it. There is a magic system but its minimalistic in impact which I prefer (no Harry Potters in here). This is definitely a strong start from an unknown author.

My two critiques would be to enhance the characters a bit in the future and spend just a bit more time world building. I like whats being created but feel its a bit shallow like I missed an important prologue. Point of fact this book can easily do with a prequel to better describe how the world came to its current state and better expand on whats driving the supposed "enemy". On the up side instead of frustrating me I'm left desiring to know more. This is definitely worth a credit and deserves much greater popularity and I'm sure I wont be alone in hoping to see a book 2 sooner rather than later.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Pam W
  • 2020-06-18

Galharrow, a memorable character

Ryhalt Galharrow, Captain of the Blackwing, servant of the Nameless, Crowfoot, and bounty hunter tells the tale of his involvement in the never ending war between the Nameless and the Deep Kings. Right now, the Nameless have the Deep Kings at bay, after creating a super Engine that stopped the last battle by creating the Misery. The Misery is an expanse of destroyed land inhabited by nasty creatures. The Engine is the one thing the Deep Kings fear, but now they suspect the engine might not even be working. Thus, the spies and political maneuverings all topped off with magic workings in a post-apocalyptic world make for an engrossing story. Galharrow throws bits and pieces of backstory in the mess, creating quite a puzzle at times, but amazingly all seems to meld in to a masterpiece of intrigue at the end.
My favorite aspect of the book was Galharrow himself, with the gritty dialogue so candidly used, I could have endlessly copied quotes for later retrospection.
Colin Mace was the perfect voice of Galharrow, making the story even more enjoyable for the audio listener.

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  • GF
  • 2020-04-22

Dark and excellent.

Raw, gritty, great characters, good story. Not formulaic and sticks as much realism as it can.

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  • Wes
  • 2020-03-02

Great book!

I hardly ever write reviews but after this book I had too. Highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys gritty fantasy that’s written for adults. The book takes place in a dark fantasy world with a little bit of a post apocalyptic feel with a good magic system and 17th century technology where firearms begin being used in a limited fashion in warfare. If I could give this book and it’s narrator more than 5 stars I would.

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  • CC
  • 2020-01-07

Great steampunk fantasy!

If you like first person reads... and steampunk fantasy, then this is a great one!!

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  • Hunting Fishing life
  • 2019-01-08

Anti Hero/steam punk story

I feel like our Anti-Hero main character is Jayne from Serenity. All Tough as nails, drinks his Brandy with Lava, and eats Ghost Peppers when he needs a breath mint.

Great story, with all the lore spread throughout the story vs front loading where it interferes with bonding with the characters.

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  • Austin
  • 2018-08-27

Great worldbuilding!

Very unique and fleshed out worldbuilding kept things interesting the whole time! I had a great time with this!

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  • tim
  • 2018-02-15

interesting take on magic and magic based society

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes, the story was well written and was great to listen to.

What did you like best about this story?

the way the author looks at how a magic based society would work is very unique.

Any additional comments?

Maybe Minor Spoilers: in almost every other fantasy book I have read, you get the feeling that magic is essential and an integral part of the society, and is an equal resource, where everyone could access to it, would never be denied some benefits from it. Every intelligent being could boot-strap themselves with a little bit of know-how or more curiosity or daring. Not so in this book. The author looks at magic like a manipulated resource, used to fund the rich and already powerful into becoming more so. The magic used in this world will chew and spit out the average joe and crush the spirits of the idealistic. Magic power is hoarded by great ancient and evil magicians and sorcerers, who view the people they rule over as nothing more than an annoyance or expendable resource. I think, looking at a realistic magic world would look something like this world and less like the optimistic and hopeful world that you would normally see in a fantasy novel.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kraig Butler
  • 2019-01-27

excellent!

Not many books hold my attention. I tend to be very picky and discard them as soon as they get dull. This one had me enthralled to the end. loved it. The performance was perfect.