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Monday, June 17, 2013

Review - As The Crow Flies

As the Crow Flies is a solid, entertaining epic fantasy.  It hits all the right notes at exactly the right time. I can easily recommend this took to anyone who likes the fantasy mixed with comedy, tragedy, magic, dangerous heists and, yes, a dragon.

I received As the Crow Flies in exchange for a review. That means I have to read the book whether I like it or not. I read through fairly quickly mostly because I couldn't put the book down.

Brief Synopsis

Crow is a thief pulling one last heist before he retires with the lover of his live, Tarsha. Unfortunately for him, realizes after the fact that he stole from a wizard, Baron Duzayan. Tarsha is captured and Crow is poisoned. To free her and get the antidote he must do the impossible: steal a dragon's egg. Duzayan doesn't trust Crow, of course, so he sends along Tanris, a member of the city guard who has hounded Crow for years.

What I liked

Let's start with characters. As the Crow Flies is written in first person subjective. We hear the story through the mind of Crow. He is a fully rendered, complete character. He's humorous and witty as befitting a thief. However, he's also not as strong and ruthless as he likes to think he is. He's flawed but incredibly likable. I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him I love him. I dare you to feel differently.

The plot is handled well. Like most good fantasy stories it is a classic tale told through fresh eyes. Pacing is also handled well with no real "dragging" points. As a writer, I also appreciate the way Lythgoe follows Chekov's "Gun on the Mantlepiece" . It states that if you introduce something early in the work it MUST be important for something later on. Without giving any spoilers I can promise you every single thing that is introduced it important. She also occasionally reminds the reader of items that will become important later just so you don't forget them.  It never feels overdone or unnatural. Instead it helps build tension and remind the reader of the stakes.

The ending is also completely satisfying. Every significant question raised in the book is answered and every character has a well-defined ending. That doesn't mean everyone lives happily ever after but you definitely know what happens. It also asks a few other questions which leaves me hungry for more Crow stories in the future.

Lythgoe also expertly works in worldbuilding information. She never veers into endless paragraphs of exposition. Instead, every time she reveals worldbuilding information it is believable and in context. She reveals enough to give you the scope and flavor of the world without turning it into an almanac.

What I didn't like

Some of the writing, specifically in the first 1/4 of the book, could use another edit. Several paragraphs are not as tight or cohesive as they could be. I noticed two spelling errors and there were a few formatting issues. The formatting issues could be related to the method in which I received the book and may not occur if purchased directly through Amazon.

However, none of the issues were significant enough to bring me out of the story and diminish the experience.

In Conclusion

I strongly recommend As the Crow Flies to any fans of fantasy. I also recommend it to writers of fantasy to use as an example proper worldbuilding, pacing and execution of Chekov's Gun.

Robin Lythgoe - Author of As the Crow Flies

Author's Website:
Goodreads: Author Page on Goodreads
Amazon: or
Twitter: @RobinLythgoe
Facebook: Facebook Site Here

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