Book: Eyes of Crow
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Series: Aspect of Crow Trilogy, Book 1
Lately I've been in the mood for fantasy, but not just any fantasy. I've wanted something with a strong protagonist (female), understandable mythology, a little romance, some action, and a good book--all wrapped into one. Mostly, I've come across books with some of those qualities but not all, until Eyes of Crow.
In a world with a culture somewhat reminiscent of early Native American, where animal aspects are bestowed upon each of the people of this culture, Rhia of Asermos has been given the rare aspect of crow. Rhia's aspect is a hard one to bear, for the crow ushers in death. Rhia has a hard time dealing with her aspect and she struggles with knowing too much about the eventual deaths of those around her. This takes a toll on her and Rhia delays her bestowing and the first phase of her gift, fearing what full use of her powers will entail. But when her decision proves to be a hurtful one, Rhia realizes that she has to now face her bestowing and all that will come with it in order to be helpful to her people.
Since the crow aspect is rare and there are no other crows in Asermos to train her, Rhia has to travel to Kalindos to learn under the tutelage of a third phase crow woman. This change isn't that easy for Rhia, as the cultures of the Ascermons and the Kanindon's differ vastly, but she is able to find a friend and lover in Marek, a troubled wolf aspect. Still, it is Rhia alone who must face the gift she is reluctant to embrace. And with the foreign Descendants preparing for war against her people, Rhia and her gift are needed now more than ever.
The world that Jeri Smith-Ready has created is wonderfully realized in Eyes of Crow. Intricate in detail, yet still easy to understand, the mythology comes together flawlessly, lending to the story in rich detail. The relationships between the characters, especially those between Rhia and the men in her life--her brothers, father, her childhood sweetheart, and the poignant romance between Rhia and Marek--all leap from the pages. Though the third person narrative is inclusive to only Rhia, none of the other main characters come off as less than three dimensional.
Eyes of Crow is very much about Rhia's journey in finding herself. She starts out timid and afraid of her aspect and as the story progresses she becomes stronger and more self assured. Through reading about Rhia, her fears became my own, as well as her achievements. I wanted her to succeed and find strength in her aspect. As I clung to the book hoping for an outcome worthy of the character Rhia grew to be, I was not disappointed.
The book ends on a bittersweet note that fit in line perfectly with the story as a whole. Eyes of Crow was a fantastic Fantasy Romance, one of the best I've come across. Grade A+.