“The Merciful Crow”, by Margaret Owen, follows the recent trend in young adult literature of exploring the struggles experienced by the underprivileged and underrepresented portions of society. The book follows the story of a young girl named Fie whose caste, the Crows, is considered to be the lowest of the low in their society. Despite being the only caste that can grant mercy to those suffering from the plague devastating their nation, the crows are looked down upon by all the other castes and are constantly cheated, tormented, and even hunted by the other members of their society. Then, one day, the Crows fall into line with the young prince of the region who has faked his own death in order to avoid an untimely end at the hands of a despotic queen. Yet, despite his promises, can the prince actually help the crows, or will all their work and sacrifices once again be for naught?
“The Merciful Crow” is a good book, though it is not the best I have read as of late. It took me quite some time to get used to the vocabulary Owen uses, and to wrap my mind around the world she creates. That said, Owen does do a spectacular job of exploring the trials experienced by the underprivileged, and of relating a real sense of their struggle to the reader. (Perhaps the best I have yet read!) By the end of the book, I was hanging on her every word and really feeling for the Crows. Fans of Tomi Adeyemi will revel in this book, and may even appreciate it a little bit more than “Children of Blood and Bone”.