The Seventh Crow begins when Rosinda, taking a perfectly ordinary route from school, is spoken to by a crow who tells her that her aunt has been kidnapped and she must go home. Rosinda, already shocked that a crow is talking to her, then has to deal with the fact that home is not her aunt’s cottage but in Ysterad, another world entirely. Having lost most of her memories, Rosinda now has to navigate this other world and foil the four gods of war who would plunge the world into battle.
For a story about saving a world and recovering lost power, The Seventh Crow is oddly leisurely. Rosinda always has help just when she needs it, recovers her memory, and learns a whole new magic skillset with remarkably little trauma. There are occasional missed meals, but by and large, everyone gets enough food and sleep, and there is seldom any sense that Rosinda might not succeed in her quest. The four war gods are given very little characterization: Sekhmet shrieks and Mars polishes his armor. Morrigan and Tyr get a tiny bit more right at the end, but it is never enough to make them seem truly dynamic.
On the plus side, I think Rosinda’s sudden, easy access to great power only troubles me because I am an adult reader who has many, many fantasy books behind her. I do not think my twelve-year-old self would have minded at all, and I know she would have adored the talking crow, Traveller, and the cat, Filara. Both animals have plenty of personality, with Traveller displaying the something of the uncanny nature expected of crows while still being Rosinda’s friend. Filara, of course, is a cat: She always knows best and lets everyone know it.
Ysterad also has a good variety of peoples and environments and, thanks to their quest plus a little magic, Rosinda and her friends make a good general tour of the area, taking readers along through this new world.
Overall, I would recommend The Seventh Crow to readers between eight and twelve who like quieter reads and prefer exploration to battle.
The Seventh Crow comes out July 15, 2015 from Dreaming Robot Press.
You can read the first chapter of The Seventh Crow on Dreaming Robot Press