Black Feathers by Joseph D'Lacey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In a time much like ours, the world is falling apart and Gordon Black is on the run for reasons he doesn't completely understand. In the far future, a girl named Megan Maurice finds herself chosen to learn the Crowman's story. Is the Crowman the world's savior or its destroyer? And what is the connection between Gordon and the Crowman?
Wow. If I knew how great this book was going to be when I bought it, I wouldn't have let it linger on my to-read pile for so long.
Black Feathers tells two stories, one featuring Gordon Black in a world that's quickly going to hell in a hand basket because economic and environmental collapse and another featuring Megan Maurice in a world that's almost medieval in tech level, centuries after the events in Gordon's tale. There's a lot going on so I don't want to give too much away.
Gordon is on the run from The Ward, a bunch of heavies that have risen up and taken over when things started going south. The Ward are slowly gaining power and fear Gordon for reasons he is initially unaware of. Megan has been selected to be a Keeper, someone who learns and tells the Crowman's tale and has special nature-priest abilities.
Gordon and Megan are both compelling characters. Gordon's loss drives him toward a destiny he isn't very sure of and Megan's role as the next Keeper helps fill in some of the gaps in Gordon's tale and hint at things to come.
The two settings are well developed. The Black Dawn, the near future of Gordon's time, is all too believable with food shortages and martial law. Megan's time, the Bright Day, is a simpler time of people living in harmony with nature in the ruins of the past. Megan's time reminds me of the world of Gathering Blue while Gordon's, although nearly the present, definitely has a dystopian feel.
The book has a strong ecological message: If you don't treat the Earth well, she's going to settle your hash. With the two young adult protagonists, this could be classified as a YA book but it lacks the tedious love triangles and teen angst so I can see why it isn't marketed as such.
If I had to gripe about one thing it would be that I have to wait for the concluding volume in the series, The Book of the Crowman, to see how things shape up.
Nothing like a really good book to make you see how crappy a lot of the things you read are. Five stars!
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