Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors from before I started blogging. Like, I got so obsessed with Sevenwaters that I drew crappy fan art and wrote a crappy fan poem and creeped her website on the internet. You guys, I do not even know what I did in the days before social networking sites made it easy to find out what books an author has coming on deck. So, I hope this lays a foundation for you to see just how excited I was for Raven Flight, especially after being ALL ABOUT Shadowfell last year.Unfortunately, Raven Flight does not soar, but rather lands with a thud for me.
Essentially, Raven Flight takes place pretty much after Shadowfell ends. Neryn, the main character, is in Shadowfell and well, basically she’s trying to get the Good Folk who live there to come see her, but they totally don’t want to, so she has to call them. Together, they strategize and then Neryn leaves Shadowfell to go to the Isles to learn magic from the Hag, along with Tali for protection. She also meets another guardian. Sad things happen. And well, a lot of this book is journeying and waiting and learning. This is totally fine, but for me, I don’t know, I just felt that something was missing from Marillier’s latest young adult book.
I still like Neryn as a character, I mean, she’s very inoffensive, at least to me. I liked that she was kind and self sacrificing. I liked that she works hard to accomplish her learning. I also liked that she is growing stronger by exercising and doing drills for Tali. However, I kind of would have liked it more if Neryn had some fatal flaws, or at least some vulnerabilities. It just seems like she’s a little too perfect and sometimes that gets boring when you don’t have a TON of conflict going on — as with this book the conflict is alluded to, and it’s outside, but like, Neryn is taking her sweet time to learn the fine art of Calling.
Speaking of Calling, in Raven Flight, the world building from Shadowfell is expanded upon and we get to meet more guardians. We get to learn more of the various chieftains. We learn how Keldec has managed to keep such a tight reign on his kingdom. And! More of the Good Folk show themselves. I definitely loved the bits with the guardians, but eh, I could have done with a lot of the journey part in the middle. The best guardian comes toward the end with a great back stoy and one that I just thought was sad and poetic and more interesting than, say, the Hag of the Isles.
There is like no kissing in Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier. It does not even have the characteristic tension that I’ve come to love with Marillier’s plots where you just keep shipping the characters and there’s this awesome slow build. Nope. I mean, Flint and Neryn already love each other, BUT because Flint is elsewhere, and Neryn is off on a wild goose chase, they get like 5 pages of time together. I mean, there’s some kissing, but not nearly enough for my flails of excitement.
I guess the reason I am not sold on this latest installment is because it took me FOR EV ER to read, like two weeks which is an obnoxiously long time for me. I just felt the pacing was so slow. It seemed like there wasn’t a lot of action to drive the characterization and the story until the end. I don’t know. I just, I disliked that the focus went from the awesome rebellion to Neryn learning Calling. I never got invested enough to really care, so I am just going to write this one off as a dud and hope that book three is back on track with my reader expectations.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher
Other reviews of Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier:
The Book Smugglers – “the writing in Raven Flight is near flawless”
Bunbury In The Stacks – “my dislike of Neryn makes it difficult to enjoy this story”
Book Revels – “an engrossing follow-up”