Dawnthief: Chronicle of the Raven by James Barclay (review by Amelia H. ’19)

Dawnthief: Chronicles of the Raven: Book OneDawnthief: Chronicles of the Raven: Book One by James Barclay
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Dawnthief is a fantasy novel centered around a group of warriors called the Raven, who are tasked with helping a mage save the kingdom from evil creatures called the Wytch Lords, who are assisting barbaric tribes in invading the kingdom. The characters on the whole seem to be motivated solely by what will drive the plot forward. The Raven is joined along the way by a notable cast of characters including numerous people who turn evil for no discernible reason, feuding barons whose conflicts are given more paragraphs than they deserve, and women whose importance to the plot depends on their relationships with men. Indeed, the only woman particularly central to the plot is relegated to being a healer even though she has the same warrior capabilities as the men in the Raven, and it is vaguely mentioned that she will have amazingly powerful children, which is why she is important. There are elves, indistinguishable from humans except for being able to see in the dark and being referred to as elves. Additionally, the prose is clunky, with awkward phrasing that disrupts the flow of the writing, inconsistent dialogue, and inaccurate wording. Dawnthief is an interesting concept, carried out very poorly. – Amelia H. ’19

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