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review 2015-02-26 01:17
Thoughts: Raven Flight
Raven Flight - Juliet Marillier

Raven Flight -- Juliet Marillier

Book 2 in Shadowfell trilogy

2013 Release -- Knopf Books

Young Adult, High Fantasy, Adventure, Magic, Romance



In a strange way, Raven Flight reminded me of an adventuring, single-player RPG. Specifically, I had thoughts of the Zelda games as I read about Neryn's adventure throughout Alban in search of the Guardians.

First, you've got the ultimate 'Final Boss' you must defeat; but before you can defeat him, you must journey through to different places and improve upon your fighting skills as well as acquire the different knowledge, means, precious items, treasures, etc. that are needed to fight the ultimate battle. You journey away from home and learn that you have the ability, that you are the one chosen to help free the lands. You then reach a point where you finally accept and comprehend (even if very little) the role you must play in this war. Then you are told by some prophet or some random higher being, that there are several trials you must accomplish, knowledge that must be acquired, treasures to seek... whatever it is. Then finally, you gather all of your strengths and use all means you have learned to defeat the 'Final Boss'.

I suppose the only difference so far is that Neryn doesn't have smaller, less significant, yet necessary 'Bosses' at different areas to defeat along her way. But if she did, that would be pretty neat.

I didn't pick up on this idea until after I started reading Raven Flight. I'm still not sure if it's the right comparison to make, but the thought came to me and it stuck.

The rebellion against King Keldec has taken a turn with a deadline in the midst and a secret weapon on the rebels' side. Neryn must now hurry across the lands of Alban to seek out the "Big Ones", or the four guardians of north, south, east, and west. As the Master of Shadows has mentioned, Neryn still has a lot to learn about her canny gift of being a Caller and in order to do so, only the Guardians can teach her.

Neryn, with a reluctant Tali as her guard, first travel to the west to see the Hag of the Isles before heading north to wake the Lord of the North. But their journey is a dangerous on with Enforcers about and common folk ready to betray any stranger at the sight of anything unnatural.

Meanwhile, the Good Folk, having agreed to aid in the rebellion's efforts, have already spread word from area to area. Uncanny beings of big and small are well versed in the goings on of their Caller as well as the rebellion itself. Though some are reluctant, the Good Folk do not hesitate to aid Neryn's journey through the lands with small bits of advice here and there, or simply just trivial gestures. Neryn is well on her way to learning and honing her skills as a Caller, though she still has one more Guardian to meet, as well as one other Guardian to find again.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's an adventure of a quiet kind, but there's an underlying tone of building excitement as the story progresses. Neryn's development is immense, though I would say that she was already quite well-developed to begin with. Tali stands out most of all as her character comes upon her own growth and transformation from being the harsh leader tasked with babysitting an amateur Caller, to acknowledging Neryn's strength and seeing her as an equal for their cause. Flint gets little time in this book outside of snippets here and there, but his presence is very much felt--though I can't say that much happens in the sense of character development for him since he continues to live his double life as a rebel spy and continues to drown in the misery of all he must do and all the responsibility on his shoulders.

The story progression feels like it's pacing forward nicely, although really, the only things that have happened is Neryn meeting the Guardians, learning that she already has what it takes to be a Caller, learning that she's already quite adept at using her gift, and then learning ways to better improve her skills. A lot of time passes by as Neryn is tested again and again, seemingly to further tout her claim as a Caller. A lot of time passes as she continues to struggle with her conflicted feelings about whether or not she should even use her gift in the first place and whether or not she can use her gift properly.

While it's a good virtue to have in a hero, sometimes you DO wonder why Neryn is still so hesitant and why it continues to take so many days just for her to figure out certain obvious tacts upon meeting the Guardians.

But anyway...

Final Thoughts: Adventures are my favorite types of fantasy stories and Raven Flight certainly hit upon all the perfect notes of an high fantasy adventure. Now that the setting is much more developed and much more matured from the events of Shadowfell I feel like there's a smoother progression in this second book for all the same ideals. The story certainly picks up more in this sequel than the pacing had been from the first book, which is rare considering the fact that sequels usually don't impress much.

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review 2014-09-25 06:49
Not quite as good as Shadowfell but still good
Raven Flight - Juliet Marillier

I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as Shadowfell but I still felt it deserved more than three stars. I'm not sure that the name really fit the story and also the first couple of chapters contained a lot of telling and recapping that I felt could have been done in a more interesting way. However, the story was still entertaining and generally well paced. I will definitely be reading the sequel.

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review 2014-09-14 22:44
A Shadowfell reread
Shadowfell - Juliet Marillier
Raven Flight - Juliet Marillier
The Caller - Juliet Marillier





Because The Caller was just released, I am rereading books 1 & 2 of this series! I didn't reread the Grisha series before the final book, & I feel like I really should have.


I had forgotten how this series begins without any preliminaries. Just, wham, and we're in the middle of the story.




Finished this one last night. It is sort of amazing how fast I can read a book that I've read before & I even pick up stuff I missed when I did the first read.




I still love this series, but there is A LOT of walking. It's sort of LOTR light, and echoes the Fellowship in that the characters are just constantly on a quest, evading capture, being followed, and generally freezing their asses off in bad camping situations. Also similar to the beginning section of The Deathly Hallows.


Juliet Marillier is such a gorgeous wordsmith, though. No one else that I am aware of writes quite like she does - she writes like a folklorist, and her world building is dreamy and magical. Neil Gaiman's Stardust has some of the same qualities, and Maggie Stiefvater as well, especially in The Scorpio Races. If anyone knows of writers who write with the same style, please, please, tell me. 


Finally, the characters! Ah, Flint, you tear my heart out. A younger Aragorn, maybe, or a younger Halt, from the Ranger's Apprentice, he is just wonderful. Heroic as hell. He is, in my opinion, a better character than Neryn because he is so complex and so conflicted. 


Hoping for one day, a single day, with the world to rights. A day when I need not worry about whether you are safe; a day when I can open doors and shutters and let the sun in. A day when there are no battles to be fought, when right and wrong are as clear-cut as light and dark.” Flint grimaced. “It will be a long time before we see such a day. Never, perhaps.” He went to fetch the kettle from the fire."




A good entry into the series. Less walking, although just as much questing. I really love the rebel band - Tali is a wonderful character and it is delightful to have Marillier write a female warrior to counter-balance Neryn. 


Neryn has grown on me. She is thoughtful and careful. I like the fact that she isn't arrogant about her gift, that she is grateful for it. The romance is still sweet and adorable. No graphic sex here (actually, no sex at all). Their is an acknowledged awareness that the consequences of sex are insupportable, that Neryn would be unable to do what she needs to do if she became pregnant. I admire Marillier for a realistic assessment of consequences in a fantasy world.


Neryn is a seeker of knowledge and help.


I want to learn. I hope you will teach me, and when I am ready, send me on to the Lord of the North. Even if it means losses and heartbreak, this is something I have to do. For Alban. For those already lost and ruined and broken. For all of us.


I also love the world-building and the Old Guardians with their different strengths. 


****By the way****

This book was my 150th book of the year! I have completed my challenge as of today, 9/13/14!








An initial bit of hope that Flint would be rejoining Neryn. Sadly, not to be. I am ready for Marillier to get on with it and get to the battle. Not up for a bunch of running around and talking to Guardians.


Fingers crossed for a satisfactory resolution!

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review 2014-08-23 20:16
Raven Flight
Raven Flight - Juliet Marillier

4,5 stars


I didn't like "Shadowfell" that much and went on a Juliet Marillier crisis, so I was scared of reading the second installment of the series. But, as it turns out, I had no reason to. Because Marillier didn't let me down again, and my faith in her is now restored and unwavering.


I'm still trying to process everything that happened in this book. It was action-packed, nail-biting and scream-inducing.


photo awesome_zpse5da28c2.gif


All that "Shadowfell" lacked. Yes, there was more Flint in the first book, but a lot more walking and slowly-dying. "Raven Flight" was a thrill-ride of nearly impossible tasks, where Neryn found herself racing against time to forge an alliance between the Rebels and the Good Folk and learning all that she could from the Hag of Isles and the Lord of the North, all in one year. And there is still a Guardian to be found, an attack to be planned, her homeland to save.


I'm so glad I waited to read this book, otherwise I'd be itching to read the sequel, knowing I would have to wait months for the release. That ending was evil and amazing. But I don't have to suffer much more, because "The Caller" is already out!


photo littlegirldancing_zps11e3d46a.gif


But seriously now. Prepare your tissues and your punching bags, because this series isn't going to let you go without a few bruises. You'll lose characters you love, learn to care for those you dislike, and find yourself feeling like a proud parent as Neryn slowly increases her strength, not only as a Caller, but as a person. I only hope she and Flint have the happy ending they deserve, along with Alban itself.

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review 2014-01-25 00:00
REVIEW: Raven Flight (Shadowfell #2)
Raven Flight: A Shadowfell novel - Juliet Marillier

Raven Flight definitely suffers from the dreaded "middle book syndrome." I know that this series can be riveting; I felt it when I read Shadowfell, and I felt it when I got to the last 5% of this book. But, everything leading up to the ending, with the exception of one pretty intense scene, can mostly be described by the word "meh."

You see, I had two major problems with Raven Flight - one being Neryn, and the other being the pacing. These problems are somewhat intertwined, as Neryn just isn't a strong enough character with exciting enough adventures to carry this book on her own.

The last part of the book blurb says, "What Flint learns from the king will change the battlefield entirely—but in whose favor, no one knows." I was hoping that this meant we'd spend more time in the book from Flint's point-of-view, but even though that happens, it can't be for more than 20 pages total, if that. (Also, that blurb is really unfair, considering "what Flint learns from the king" happens in the last few pages, and will clearly be pivotal to the next book, not this one.)

So, we're stuck with Neryn for most of the book, for better or worse, and I'd have to say that it's mostly for the worse. Whereas Flint is a deep and complex character that I want to spend my time with, Neryn is just vanilla - that is, when she's not frustrating the heck out of me.

For example, Neryn's constant angst over killing the enemy really bothered me. Not that I expected her to be a cold-blooded killer or anything, but she joined the rebellion, for lord's sake. Rebellion means war, which means death - so, it's okay for the deaths to occur, as long as it isn't her specifically causing said deaths? That seems pretty hypocritical to me. Then, when she did have to kill people out of necessity, men who would have raped and killed her and Tali, mind you, she anguishes over it.

I added a prayer for the men who had died or been forever changed here. They had performed their own act of violence. But, like the Enforcers who had fallen in last autumn’s battle, they had been sons, fathers, brothers, husbands. Someone would mourn their loss; someone had loved them.

They were would-be rapists and murderers; geez, forgive me if I'm not busting out my tiny violin. If Marillier wanted me to empathize with Neryn here, she should have made the men she killed less horrific at least. Especially when compared to Flint's burden of having to kill men who trust and believe in him, Neryn's angst just seems petulant in comparison.

Regarding Neryn and Flint as a couple, they are separated for most of the novel. The romance between them is very sweet, and I did really enjoy the brief moments they got to spend together. However, there just doesn't seem to be enough nurturing of this particular couple to make the level of intensity of their feelings make much sense, especially when Neryn is constantly proving that she lacks faith in Flint. (Yes, that's just another thing to add to the list of things that frustrated me about Neryn - she never seems to be able to trust and support Flint in the most crucial of moments.)

As I said above, I was also left wanting by the pacing of this book. Marillier's writing is often slow-paced, with her beautiful prose and wonderful story-telling being able to carry her sagas on their own merits. But, Raven Flight seemed especially slow, with really not much happening for the majority of the book, and without a strong over-arching story to really pull the reader through these moments. The ending to the book was jaw-dropping and intense, and there was one scene involving Flint's "Enthralling" that had me on the edge of my seat, but I wish more of the book could have been filled with that kind of energy.

With that said, I'm not scared off of the Shadowfell series for good, because I have faith in Marillier and faith in this series. I just hope that the next book shows major improvements from this one.

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