Release date: January 12th, 2021
In the heart-pounding second book in the Shadow Skye trilogy, unlikely heroes Agatha and Jaime must fight for their clan’s home when a new danger comes to the Isle of Skye.
After their escape from Norveg, Agatha and Jaime return with their clan to the Isle of Skye to find that their enclave is now in the hands of the treacherous people of Raasay. They find tenuous shelter with another clan, but disaster soon strikes when the terrifying shadow creatures known as sgàilean escape their magical prison and wreak havoc across the island. Now Agatha and Jaime must call on old and new allies to fight this threat. In the meantime, a ship from Norveg sails for the court of King Edmund of Ingland, where a dangerous alliance is forming, and Sigrid, a girl with an extraordinary memory, works to free herself from the clutches of a cruel king. All three protagonists must summon their particular powers to save the island from the horde of dark creatures and foil the plans of two vengeful monarchs.
Kirkus Reviews called The Good Hawk “a page-turning adventure” and Agatha an “original protagonist.” This second book in the Shadow Skye trilogy continues to expand the definition of hero as its neurodiverse heroine tackles ever greater challenges in a thrilling middle act to the battle over the fate of Scotia.
The Broken Raven takes place shortly after the events of The Good Hawk – Jaime, Agatha, Clann-a-Tuath, and Clann-na-Bruthaich are all struggling in various ways with their return home. Through the trials of attempting to regain their enclave from the Raasay people, Jaime and Agatha rely upon faces we’ve encountered before and new ones. I was glad to see the Bo Riders return, although not to the extent of the first novel. I was able to read the second book just as fast as the first; the action was reasonably constant, and switching between POV’s and their situations wasn’t grinding. There are a couple of other things I am interested in learning more about: the King of Norveg’s brother and the role he might play and the history of Skye and Inglund, specifically what the King of Inglund did to his own realm to achieve his goal.
This book is nearly three separate journeys – though their paths do merge. While unexpected, it was a welcome change that each protagonist stood on their own without the other main character’s support. It also allowed other side characters to shine and fill out the story more than they did in the previous book. I feel like Agatha took a backseat in this book and the trials she faces in this book were just less even though she grew as a person and learned some important lessons along the way. Jaime seems to have fallen into melancholy and believes he should look and feel more like a hero than he does – he doesn’t seem to realize that cunning counts as well. The Broken Raven also introduces a new main character – Sigrid, a young dreamhain from Norveg. She is rough and callused, it took me a little while to appreciate her, she became my favorite – I grew to enjoy her point of view and her often comical descriptions of things. Even though she was dealt a terrible hand she is willing to accept it for now without letting it destroy her outlook on life. If I were in her place, I would have more than likely made the same choices.
The ending of The Broken Raven was as unexpected as it was sudden. I knew the book wouldn’t solve everything, alas I wasn’t overly happy with the state of the issues at the end. I will wholeheartedly and anxiously be awaiting the final book in the trilogy, and even with the ending, I am excited to see what transpires. I would highly recommend this book (and series) to those who enjoy neurodiverse characters, mild LGBTQ+ elements, found family, fantasy/historical fantasy, middle grade, and animals. I would also recommend starting with The Good Hawk (you can read my review on the blog as well) – quite a bit of background information would be lost starting with this book first. A big thank you to Candlewick Press, Joseph Elliot, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a digital ARC of The Broken Raven – all opinions are my own.