But when she finds refuge at the rebel base of Shadowfell and discovers her canny gift as a Caller, she feels the first stirrings of hope.
Now she faces a perilous journey with the rebel Tali and the Good Folk, who shadow her steps. She must find the three Guardians who can teach her how to use her unwieldy gift – one that it is rumoured could amass a powerful army.
Can Neryn master her magical power to save Alban from King Keldec’s stranglehold?
Or will she be too late?
When I read Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell last year, I really enjoyed it. However, reading it again before opening Raven Flight I did find the progression of the story rather slow. This was understandable for a novel that centres around the slow development of trust between two people who have little experience of it, and a journey across a dangerous landscape. It made me a little worried about Raven Flight, though.
As an adult reader (and avid fan of Juliet Marillier!), I still enjoyed Shadowfell, but as a teacher librarian who is trying to promote the novels to students, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to convince my students to A) pick it up, and B) keep reading.
Raven Flight quickly allayed any such doubts.
This was a fantastic novel, both in its own right and as a sequel. I found myself mesmerized by a novel that was equal parts adventure, fantasy, quest and coming-of-age novel – with just the right amount of romance! Marillier is a master storyteller, and whilst Shadowfell may have gotten lost in the long journey which Neryn undertook, Raven Flight continues that journey at a pace which is captivating and entrancing. I definitely didn’t want to put it down!
Rating: 5 out of 5
As a writer steeped in the tradition of folklore, Marillier can be counted on to create a world and a story that are filled with three-dimensional characters. Characters who draw you in to their lives and their experiences, who make you love them and hate them (sometimes in equal measure!), and who you cannot help but root for.
The characters we were introduced to in Shadowfell develop further in this novel, and it is in Raven Flight that they truly come into their own. Neryn is the kind of female character Marillier writes so beautifully: strong without being too strong; uncertain yet willing to step forward to do what needs to be done; courteous yet determined to get her way. I loved her. The rebel Tali is another such character, yet all together so very different from Neryn. I found that the two women complimented each other really well, even if it did take them some time to realise it…
And Flint! Marillier nearly always has me falling head-over-heels for her male characters – I can see myself coming to really love Flint. He’s got that dark and mysterious, troubled past filled with secrets thing going on. Though maybe Flint is just a little bit too dark, even for me! I am really interested in finding out how Flint’s storyline will develop…. As well as how the future of Tali, Neryn and the other rebels will unfold. The January publication of book three, The Caller, could not come soon enough!
Overall, this is definitely a series that teens should read! This is a series that tells a wonderful fantasy tale, set against an important moralistic lesson. The main characters here face uncertainty and their own distrust; they make hard decisions (terrible decisions!) that take them away from those they love, from a normal life; they fight for what is right, not dreaming of any reward; and they do this all bravely, and selflessly. These are the characters our teenagers should be looking up to.
But aside from that, Raven Flight is just a really good book! Whichever way you look at it!