Saturday, 18 June 2016

Book Review: Crow Moon; Anna McKerrow.

After raving reviews from Lucy Powrie (Queen Of Contemporary) on Twitter and he blog, and receiving a copy of 'Red Witch' to review, I really wanted to try this series out. In short, I liked it and see a lot of potential, though perhaps didn't fall for it as much as I hoped. Also, it's my Key Word challenge entry for this month!

SOURCE: Netgalley
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: Crow Moon
AUTHOR: Anna McKerrow
SERIES: Crow Moon (#1)
PUBLISHER: Quercus Children's Books
PAGES: 384
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopian


RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

Blurb:
Danny is a fun-loving 16-year-old looking for a father figure and falling in love with a different girl every day. He certainly doesn't want to follow in his mum's witchy footsteps.

Just as his community is being threatened by gangs intent on finding a lucrative power source to sell to the world, Danny discovers he is stunningly powerful. And when he falls for Saba, a gorgeous but capricious girl sorceress, he thinks maybe the witch thing might not be such a bad idea...

But what cost will Danny pay as, with his community on the brink of war, he finds that love and sorcery are more dangerous than he ever imagined?

What I Liked:
  • I was impressed by the aspect that I was most looking forward to about this book: the magic. I read Cate Tiernan's 'Sweep' series a while back and really loved the way that Wiccan/Pagan magic worked so I was happy to read another book that centres around the subject but this time set in England. McKerrow knew her stuff, I learnt a lot! The setting of Cornwall/Devon is perfect too and I think that McKerrow really built the world nicely, combining the fantastical with an almost Dystopian plot-line. It was original and fresh, like nothing I'd ever read before.
  • The plot was pretty good for this one. It was paced well and contained a multitude of twists and turns, combined with characters that were complex and morally ambiguous. I liked that they all had flaws and yet were still likeable: Danny is frustratingly awful to girls yet hilarious, Saba is intensely captivating yet selfish, Demelza is hard-working and passionate but short-tempered and tough to crack (I really connected with her especially). YA so often holds 'perfect' characters that are either wonderful or awful. I liked the in-between found here.
What I Disliked:
  • For me, there were a few flaws to be found in this book that meant I didn't fall head-over-heels like I'd hoped. To begin with, while I liked McKerrow's writing, I found that she had a very 'tell don't show' style. That means that rather than showing me her character's personalities through their actions, she would explain them instead and I was forced to believe it despite at times there being evidence to the contrary. Lowenna was the greatest example of this, described as a woman who would go to any lengths to protect her community and way of life yet when she chose to ignore Danny's visions (that she had previously stated were important) I didn't see that at all. It was frustrating because she'd argued with Zia on the subject just chapters before. I would have preferred to have Zia herself actually use old-world Cornish phrases in her speech, rather than being told that she 'always does' (she doesn't in the book...not once). 
  • One of the biggest annoyances in this book was the lack of consistency. The reader is informed that those born in the Greenworld (like Danny) know virtually nothing about the Redworld outside of their villages. However, I lost count of how many pop culture references Danny made during his narration. These are things he shouldn't have known about, especially as the witches had to teach him so much about his community which he grew up in. I just didn't quite buy his allusions to Narnia and Wee Willy Winkie, when he was so clueless about magic...especially considering his own Mother is a witch.
Overall Conclusion:
As you can see, mixed views on this one. On the one hand, I really loved the world-building and originality of the plot-line! McKerrow clearly knew what she was talking about witch-craft wise and I loved her references to Cornwall and Devon. Her writing was pretty good too, and the pacing of the plot had me fairly hooked from start to finish, especially when coupled with complicated personalities in her characters. I just wished that she'd spent less time dumping so much information on me about everything and shown it to me through the actions of her characters. The huge information overload made her character's conversations feel very forced and some of the facts presented didn't match up with what was happening as a result plot-wise.