I confess I'm a great fan of Juliet Marillier's novels and this one didn't disappoint. It is full of meticulous world building with realistic and believable characters and is beautifully written as well. Raven Flight is set in a past time in a land full of magical creatures and crammed with dangers. There's a good balance between the tension of a hostile land where no-one is to be trusted and the quieter periods of life in the rebel camp and when Neryn is learning her craft. At the same time the author doesn't shy away from the effects of war and the terrible consequences it can have.
Neryn's growth in magic and in herself is a large part of this novel and we see her mature from the frightened girl of Shadowfell into someone much more adult in her attitudes and understanding. I like Neryn a lot. She has enormous empathy and her Gift gives her added depth as she manoeuvres her way between the different needs of the rebels and the Good Folk to enable them to work together.
While Neryn is the main character, Tali, one of the rebel leaders, takes a major part in this book as Neryn's guard while she seeks out the Guardians. Tali is a complete contrast to Neryn and this adds much to the story. Where Neryn is gentle, kind and thoughtful but with a deep inner strength, Tali is a physically tough, skilled warrior who can outfight almost anyone. She is full of righteous anger but is also intelligent and caring and she, too, grows as the women journey together.
I am totally hooked on Neryn's story and could hardly wait for The Caller, the final book in the trilogy, to come out. It has and I'll review it soon. For now let's just say I certainly wasn't disappointed.
Published in Australia in 2013 by Pan Macmillan Australia, Raven Flight is available both as a hard copy and as an e-book.
Juliet Marillier's website is here and she is also on Facebook.