Blackwing by Ed McDonald

Posted October 5, 2017 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 2 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blackwing by Ed McDonaldBlackwing by Ed McDonald
Series: Raven's Mark #1
Published by Ace on October 3, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Set on the ragged edge of a postapocalyptic frontier, Blackwing is a gritty fantasy debut about a man’s desperate battle to survive his own dark destiny…

Nothing in the Misery lasts…

Under a cracked and wailing sky, the Misery is a vast and blighted expanse, created when the Engine, the most powerful weapon in the world, was unleashed against the immortal Deep Kings. Across the wasteland, teeming with corrupted magic and malevolent wraiths, the Deep Kings and their armies are still watching—and still waiting.

Ryhalt Galharrow is no stranger to the Misery. The bounty hunter journeys to a remote outpost, armed for killing both men and monsters, and searching for a mysterious noblewoman. He finds himself in the middle of a shocking attack by the Deep Kings, one that should not be possible. Only a fearsome show of power from the very woman he is seeking saves him.

Once, long ago, he knew the woman well, and together they stumble onto a web of conspiracy that threatens to unmake everything they hold dear and end the fragile peace the Engine has provided. Galharrow is not ready for the truth about the blood he’s spilled and the gods he’s supposed to serve…



Blackwing is an interesting debut which I found hard to categorize.  It’s definitely fantasy with a historical feel, but it could be futuristic apocalypse actually. The world building is in bits and dribbles as we have the view of the main character, Galharrow. Because of this, or just because it is the first book, I feel a lack of knowledge and the understanding comes slowly.

The story is grim, dark with quite a bit of action. There are magic users but otherwise the weapons seem to be arrows, swords and knives., which is why I say it feels historical.  The characters are mostly not as well developed as Galharrow. He hides some of himself and feels he has some great personal flaws with his past. I wouldn’t call him a hero but he is likable and relatable.

While out of my typical choice, I chose this as it sounded unique. The overwhelming and constant fight to survive in this world makes a compelling read. The politics of class are frustrating as always. I struggled a bit to understand some details as the world developed. I enjoyed the mystery, the battles, and the generally fast pace. I love magic and learning about it in this world was fun. Having a touch of romance and the connection of his small group of comrades was a real bonus and added so much. I’d recommend this if you like this gritty action, magic and a new world.


About Ed McDonald

Ed McDonald studied ancient history at the University of Birmingham and holds an MA in medieval history from the University of London. He is a keen martial artist and specializes in the Italian longsword.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • Anne: 2017 New Release Challenge

Posted October 5, 2017 by Anne - Books of My Heart in Book Review / 2 Comments

2 responses to “Blackwing by Ed McDonald

  1. This sounds interesting. I like the sound of it. I do really enjoy fantasy stories. I’ve been reading more and more of them lately. Great review.