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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Songboy, at last out of the foretimes you come. I have waited for thee long."
Vivid imagery, beautifully described landscapes and a powerful story line; Croggon's third instalment in the Pellinor series is a tale of heightened emotions and great human endurance in the face of an ever growing threat from both "the evil within", and the armies of the Nameless.

"In the darkness the Light shines more brightly", here indeed is a tale riddled...
Published on 30 July 2006 by R.B

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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start
This is a continuation of Maerad the magician bard's struggle against evil with her charismatic and endearing mentor, Cadvan. This time the story is told from the angle of her brother, Hem.

The Gift was a very good start but The Crow is now the third installment to the Pellinor trilogy and the story is left hanging... still awaiting the conclusion of the...
Published on 24 Mar 2007 by Cherry


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Songboy, at last out of the foretimes you come. I have waited for thee long.", 30 July 2006
Vivid imagery, beautifully described landscapes and a powerful story line; Croggon's third instalment in the Pellinor series is a tale of heightened emotions and great human endurance in the face of an ever growing threat from both "the evil within", and the armies of the Nameless.

"In the darkness the Light shines more brightly", here indeed is a tale riddled with great darkness and loss and fear. We follow Hem, brother of The Fated One, Elednor- The Fire Lilly of Edil-Amarandth, prophesied to bring about the downfall of the Nameless One in his darkest rising, on his journey South to the ancient and extravagant city of Turbansk with his mentor Saliman.

Hem in the opening chapters of the book appears as a troubled adolescent, questioning who he is, what he wants from life and where he belongs. This contemplating of his existence, doesn't last long however as Turbansk comes under the threat of the Black Army and Hem finds more pressing matters of concern outside his bubble. He is forced to strengthen and toughen his will as he looks after the victims of war from neighbouring regions. Through this work and a quite contemplation of the horror's that have afflicted him throughout his young life, Hem comes to realise that he too must contribute to this crusade between Light and Dark. Together with the fiery Zelika, Hem spies on the horrifying child armies of the Nameless that break the will of the men fighting against them through their savage ruthlessness and brutality, and enters he the capital of the Dark: Den Raven itself.

I admit that on first picking up this novel I found it hard to get into- I was too drawn into the world of Maerad to care much for the seemingly petty problems of her "baby brother" (as the novel progress', this thought is eradicated and I thoroughly enjoy the novel). This is one of the reasons the novel receives four stars rather than the five that I otherwise would have awarded. The other reason for this is the mere fact that I found its predecessor, "The Riddle", a more action packed read and so had to place it a rank lower in brilliance.

Croggon writes like a master story teller, slowly building tension and atmosphere as the terrifying nature of a war that threatens to destroy all that is sacred and beautiful in the worlds of her characters. Some of the best passages in the novel are during the time in which Turbansk is besieged by the black army. Here Croggon's writing is full of emotion and vivid description. The air within the city is vibrating with expectation and the sound of the Black Armies braying trumpets, "This lent life a new, vivid urgency" writes Croggon, and Turbansk's beauty seems to "glow with a poignant intensity" in this new climate of fear.

This is a series inspired- as are many others- by the works of Tolkien, the father of modern fantasy. However, Croggon has an originality that many of her contemporaries lack: her novels- and the Crow especially, draw on powerful parallels between the world of the Balance and the Bards and our own. The struggle's and wars that rage in the novel are much like the one's that tear the breast of the earth today; however politics aside, Croggon paints a picture of the ugly demon that is war and its tragedies. Through characters in the novel we see what war can do to ordinary man and child and the strength and resolve with which war's survivors must live in order to carry on their lives in its aftermath.

The Crow is a novel about people and relationships and the great catastrophe of war that even today threatens all that is fair and beautiful in our world. There is a wisdom in the novel that refers can benefit us all if only we cared to take it on board and learn from it: "It may be a question of whether to use the weapons of the Dark in order to worse the Dark...but how can we say that we fight for the Light, if we show ourselves no better than the dark?"
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprised?, 9 Oct 2006
When I first read this book I was surprised at how abrupt (and complete) the shift from Maered (the heroine of the first two books) to Hem was. After being drawn completely into Maered's story, the shift in focus actually made me initially dislike this book. I've read it through many times since then, and although it still irks that I have to wait to find out what happened to Maered, this is still an amazing story!

While his sister searches for the Treesong in distant lands (which we read about in "The Gift" and "The Riddle"), Hem is slowly and reluctantly forced into a war where even children must fight one another to keep their freedom.

Croggan has created a world where music, magic and love are all as important as one another. She doesn't depend on elaborate magical powers, or open warfare, to make her stories exciting- although a good dose of both of them makes these as appealing to fantasy devotees as ever. Instead, the stories are carried by the very real people who live in the pages- people who aren't smarter, or more canny, or more beautiful than the next, but who face their problems in ways that we can relate to.

The whole series so far is very well written and entertaining.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and harrowing, 15 May 2007
By 
Another stunning novel from Alison Croggan in the Pellinor series. This one may be more accessible to younger male readers, since it relates Hem's story so takes a more masculine perspective. Parts of it are quite harrowing, such as the child soldiers, and certain character deaths. It has the same epic, sweeping sense of darkness as Tolkien and other leading fantasy writers.

I would like to recommend to those who have already read The Gift and The Riddle that they re-read them after The Crow. I hadn't realised how carefully structured and planned this series is, and reading them a second time was not only a delight but also illuminating in terms of plot and character. They are amazingly re-readable and are greatly enhanced by The Crow, partly because it is contemporaneous to The Riddle.

Also there are sample chapters from the as yet unpublished fourth book, The Singing, on Alison Croggan's site, as well as sample chapters from the first three novels. They will give potential readers a proper taste of what the series is like, so you really can try before you buy. The only sad thing is that it seems as though the fourth book may be the last; I had hoped it would be a pentology.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 4 Jun 2007
I have enjoyed all three books so far, although I thought this was the last one in the series.

At least now I have another one to look foreward to. It is called the singing and is due for release mid 2008
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!, 5 Sep 2007
I love how this book focuses on Hem and his journey with Saliman. Some parts of this book are quite disturbing and really get your emotions running and your heart pounding.

After finishing this book i really felt the importance of Hem as a character, whereas before he had been slightly brushed to the side.

One of the best fantasy books that i have read in a long time, this really reminds me of tolkein, in the creation of the monsters, landscapes and languages.

All i can really say is that i cant wait for the Singing to be released, not quite sure how i will cope untill then!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best so far!, 19 Sep 2008
What a book! Of the trilogy to date, this, in my opinion, is clearly the best.

While this differs from the two previous books, it is, I believe, for the better. The Crow focuses on Hem in the South of Annar, preparing for war, and it takes place at the same time as Maerad's events in the North (as shown in The Riddle). I think that Hem is a more accessible character than Maerad - but that might be because Im a male! I certainly felt more attached to Hem than I had with Maerad; I felt emotionally involved with Hem, willing him to succeed in his quests - finding Maerad, spying on the dark and simply staying alive. Furthermore, Hem is a very loveable character, which makes it easy for everyone to feel attached to him.

There is generally more action in this book than the previous two - I felt that the previous books had maybe dwelled too long in certain places - with the city of Turbansk facing war and inevitable destruction. A slight criticism would be the length of time focused on Hem inside the camp, but this is may be necessary to create an overall impression of the awful conditions that the 'snouts' had to face.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable read, with plenty of action and it ends at just the right time - willing the reader to continue to the series finale in 'The Singing'. If you like fantasy novels and you have read the previous two books in the series, then this won't disappoint - bring on Book Four!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You will never put it down!!!, 8 July 2006
By 
I had long awaited the 3rd book of Pellinor and i was not disappointed. It's full of all the thrills and twists you expect from a Alison Croggon book. Maerad is still in persuit of the mysterious Treesong and her brother Hem continues to dwell on his mysterious past and looks towards an uncertain future. This book is all about Hem's adventure and what part he must play in Maerads task. An absolute dream to read. I cant wait for the next instalment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little long, but provides unexpected layer to the story!, 15 Aug 2012
By 
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An endearing and captivating story of a foretold quest, in an imaginative and cultural world long gone.

As stated by a few others reviewers, after my excitement and admiration for the first two books, if truth be known I was a little miffed to discover that the third book was all about Hem

- although in Croggon's defensive it could be said that that is the sign of an excellent author, if she can build up the reader's feeling of anticipation and care for the characters!

It starts as an evaluation of young Hem's troubled past, and as a result, his struggle with fitting into everyday Bardic society. There is an unexpected arrival, with Hem's discovery of Irc, who grows to become not only his friend but an entertaining and cunning personality within the story... admittedly, hearing that a mere crow makes this kind of contribution sounds ridiculous but somehow....it just works!!

I would say there are four main milestones in The Crow - the siege and escape from Turbansk, the quest in Dagra (bad guy central), Hem's fear of losing two people in particular, and his link to the Elidhu (the powerful elemental beings who have long withdrawn from their world) which kept my interest.

There are a lot of good points throughout it, especially with Croggon's moving descriptions of the now desolate Turbansk, the Black Army and the importance of Elidhu (which we find out is very important) but I can't help thinking parts of it were a little slow in happening - the only thing that stopped me from awarding a 5/5.

But for those who already love the Pellinor series, it is most definitely a must-read!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best one yet!, 6 Nov 2010
This book was brilliant...it's told from the pov of a different character to the last 2 books. The only complaint I would have had about the last 2 would be that Maerad irritated me at times- so that was sorted :)
Although it's often in the teen section it's fairly violent in parts, and very creepy. I was gripped from start to finish- there's lots of suspense. There are also a lot of Tolkienesque elements to this story, including a section reminiscent of Moria. That is definitely a good point for me :)
I love that way that the story runs parallel to the second book- very clever.
A true epic. I've already ordered the next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 22 Sep 2007
By 
Nicole M "Nicole" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
When I first heard that this book was about Hem and not about Maerad, who I had grown to like as a character, I was a bit put off but it was amazing. It was just as good as the first 2 books and leaves a cliffhanger for a 4th book which is great. Highly recommend it.
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The Crow: The Third Book of Pellinor (The Books of Pellinor)
The Crow: The Third Book of Pellinor (The Books of Pellinor) by Alison Croggon (Paperback - 7 Jun 2012)
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