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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 20 February 2003
I first read DawnThief and the first thing that struck me was the ammount of tradgedy wrapped up with the heroism, James Barclay writes disaster beutifully using individual charecters unrelated from the central plott to illustrate suffering.
This book is everything the presedecessors were and I have a massive ammount of respect for James Barclay for not taking the easy way out. It would be very easy to have everything go right for his charecters but in real life everything doesn't go right. Happy co-incidences abound and in one piece of the excellent dialogue exhibited through this book one of the charecters comments on this.
NightChild was traumatic and Elf Sorrow is no exception, expect death and pain for the people of this world though through it all one force keeps fighting The Raven so much more than a mercenary band contains a group of diverse individuals the barbarian Hirad, The Unknown Warrior, Denser, the shape changer Thraun and others from completly different backgrounds but all of one mind, all Raven.
This book is a classic and as I say the dialogue is excellent, when Hirad talks of his belief in the Raven its like he is addressing the reader directly, hats off to James Barclay and looking forward to the next one, though please don't take the easy way out!
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on 9 September 2002
Barclay starts a new series and the Raven meet their biggest threat yet in Barclay's best book yet. And we get to find out more about the elves - a whole continent of them. And boy are they mean; some of the best described, most purely lethal fighters I've come across in any fantasy. As always Barclay describes the action brilliantly and with the elves introduces some brilliant new characters and concepts. The Clawbound and the Tai Gethan are so cool! You'll know what I mean when you get to them. The book ends on a bit of a shock but I'll be back for more.
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on 5 September 2002
Lets get one thing straight, the only reason this didn't get a five star rating from me is because it isn't quite as good as it's predesessor "Nightchild". This is an excellent book and I read it almost non-stop until I finished it. James Barclay's first two books in the series were good but not excellent, however with his last two books his style has improved and the weaknesses have all but gone. I cannot recommend the chronicles of the Raven enough, they are excellent and seem to go from strength to strength. Set about six months after Nightchild the characters are still dealing with the events of that book; however things move swiftly on and things become more and more confused. You know full well who the heroes are, but are the villains really that bad? are they evil at all? This isn't straight foward good vs evil. Also the elves are fleshed out here, in previous stories they seemed just like humans with pointy ears. I have to say the elves are the best I have read in any fantasy series, James Barclay avoids alot of the usual elven cliches. These are hardcore elves with axes to grind. As usual the heroes are as mortal as you and I, another of Barclays strengths. If you have read the others you won't be disappointed, if you haven't try them, and persevere with the first one, you will be rewarded.
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on 22 October 2004
If you're going to read fantasy novels, I think you have to accept that normal rules do not apply. Out here in the literary badlands (where men carry swords, and woman carry warhammers, where wizards, mages, magic-users, sorcerors, thaumaturgists, necromancers and conjurers lurk in every woodland cottage, where inns have straw-strewn floors, where the standard currency is the gold coin, where every state is a monarchy) psychological acuity is regarded with suspicion, social commentary as a priggish conceit, beauty scarcely considered worth taking a swing at, innovation the work of the devil (who, presumably, can only be killed with a special magic axe) and, most oddly, but most definitely, imagination is rarer, and far more precious than diamonds.
What we have instead are ripping yarns: action, pace, cool props, special effects, a little romance. Let these be our watchwords.
Elfsorrow: a thimbleful of real quality and an ocean of swordplay make it perfectly good fun. Its one bought (rather than borrowed) joy, is the sense it gives of a computer or pen-and-paper RPG which one of the players enjoyed so much he couldn't leave alone. When you're 12, and sitting around in your bedroom, "Hirad Coldheart" and "The Unknown Warrior" seem like pretty cool names for pretty cool guys who would know what to do if someone took their lunch box and threw it in the bin, etc. Also, the fact that a small group of "mercenaries" have a wildly disproportionate effect on national events and are often faintly surprised about it themselves was, I thought, genuinely and consistently funny.
It's fine. It's quite good. It's got elves, and armour and fighting and killing, and magic, and moments that are a little better than you think they're going to be. Read it if you like that sort of thing.
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on 2 March 2015
Always been a fan of James Barclay. Enjoyable read and seemed to get a lot better the further you get in. Just don't do what I did and check out how much the 2nd book is before finishing this. The premise on the back gives away a lot of the surprises of the ending of this one.
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on 5 November 2005
In a genre cluttered with too much recycled crap, Elfsorrow is a breath of fresh air. Barclay writes with a very distinctive style that hooks you from beginning to end. With lovable characters and a clearly defined world, this book makes me want to read it hundreds of times.
It is the start of the 'Legends' series, but there is a preceding 'Chronicles' series that should be read too, however you do not necessarily need to read one before the other.
Just make sure you buy this book, as it is a must read and you will come back to it time and time again.
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on 30 November 2003
Unfortunately this is the only book of The Raven I have read, so my understanding of the characters, world and previous storylines was as limited as can be!
But that didn't stop thoroughly enjoying one of the best fantasy books I have ever read!
The characters are strong, and unlike many fantasy novels, are not too complicated that they require a week of backgound reading to get into and understand. This is not to say that Barclays characters are weak. Far from it, within a couple of chapters you already feel you know the character.
The character development is superb, as is the storyline, with a genuine feeling of uncertainty concerning the fate of the group.
A gripping and entertaining story. Time to get those other books then...
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on 31 December 2011
I was looking forward to finding out what happened after Nightchild and I wasn't disappointed. I love the fact that James Barclay isn't afraid to take a few chances and everything isn't always alright at the end. I loved the Chronicles of the Raven (although I found Dawnthief hard to get into once it got going I couldn't stop reading) and I'm looking forward to Legends of the Raven
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on 27 May 2006
I first read this book when i borowed it from the library i found it absolutely brilliant. So good in fact that i kept renewing it untill i finally bought it myself. I was in awe over the way Barclay had managed to write such an amazing story. He keeps the book moving quickly but it is so well written that you dont realise its the end untill its on top of you. Then your like nooooo you cant end it now.

The only problem i had the first time i read it was, that i didn't realise that it was the first book in what counts as the second series, so some of the things written left me feeling slightly confused. Despite that i absolutely loved this book.

I cried and still do every time i read the end. I couldnt belive he had just killed one of my favoite characters. Yet althouge the end is sad it not that way through the whole book. Even if you hate sad endings you will truly love this book i know i did. There is a sence of tragedy waiting around the corner but ther is also romance, freedom, friendship and courage. This is a magnificent book, a true epic and i loved every moment of it and stil do. If you have read any of his book you will know just how good an auther he is. But James Barclay has managed to outdo himself here.
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on 24 September 2011
I have enjoyed the stories of the Raven. This one was really sad as the Elves were subject of the ambitions of the Mages. Have we seen somewhere else the world's giants running rough shod through rainforest for their own ends? The Raven overcome the odds to save the Elven race from final annihilation. A fault, if there is one, is the over described sword fighting. What will the outcome of the One transfer be? I shall have to move on to Shadowheart. Icarus
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