As the Crow Flies by Robin Lythgoe

As The Crow Flies

Summary

Robin Lythgoe - As The Crow FliesThis tale commences with the protagonist,’The Crow’ narrating his own story as he sees it, with a supercilious attitude to his life and his situation. The fast paced action springs to life as Crow tries to escape from his latest bout of thievery. Not the smartest person to steal from, a notorious Wizard that is masquerading as the mysterious Baron Duzayan. But, the things men do for love, you see, they must show their metal and build bridges, thinking this is how to win loves heart. In this case it lands the Crow in a compromising and deadly position whereby he must work for this Baron and take on a perilous journey with his nemesis Tanris. A strict no nonsense military man that is also tangled in this sticky web. Tanris has been trying for years to capture the elusive crow. He is the only blemish on his near perfect military record and will do anything to wipe this slate clean.

The journey is full of surprises and entanglements which leads to the introduction of many support characters. These consist of sorcerers, ancient ghosts from the past, the wise but foolish sidekicks, the young innocent, the hypocrite, the religious fanatics, the followers, the common enemy and the cannon fodder. This enables scenes with the usual magic, mayhem, mythical creature’s, unanswered questions and fears, displays of vulnerabilities, weaknesses and strengths of character. There are demonstrations of purity of goodness and the other end of the spectrum of humanity. Great action sequences secrete themselves throughout the story, where usually the hero ends up the worse for wear.

There is the main plot that of the crow and Tanris journey, but woven into this is the subplot of the Baron Duzayan’s mystery. The story line has a familiar tone to it, orphan boy raised on the streets, a loveable rogue, takes on a task over his head, chased by the hard line military man, but this is where it stops. The plot then diverts to uniqueness and originality in thought, it is both refreshing and stimulating to the mind. The puzzles are intriguing as the reader is fed bread crumbs throughout, keeping you turning the pages in anticipation and wonder. Believability, well, that is a fine line, escapism in purpose and intent? This reader reserves judgement on this, after all it is fantasy.

There is equal balance between plots and the plethora of characters where they are infused into a world that is rich and inviting for the reader to explore. The introduction of the self narrating was handled expertly and then seamlessly throughout the story it transfers from narrative to descriptive to conversational writing styles in no particular order. The expert word building and sentence structure allowed for the styles to blend so well, there are enough voice, tone and delivery differences within each of the characters to allow for delineation.

The main characters Crow and his inner circle/team would grow over the journey into well rounded three dimensional characters. However the protagonist is a contradiction to this thought. Although, yes he matured, learnt some harsh lessons, started growing a conscience, found friendship and perhaps love, there was his one trait that remained static, that of relieving everyone of their possessions if it suited his needs. This innate need of this drove this reader to distraction at times.

The intellectual, emotional and aesthetic qualities of the writers’ style allowed for great flow and rhythm for this story, where time rich bantering between the main characters, infused humour and wit with some laugh out loud moments. This reader loved the simplicity of the support characters names, i.e. Girl, Cat and Not an egg. The last one still has this reader shaking her head in disbelief, and as Tanris discussed, it is embarrassing for a baby male dragon to be known as Egg! The characters all maintained their likeability especially as friendships grew, first out of necessity, then from respect and finally from compassion, warmth and love. The journey within this book showed human failure with social and moral issues, at times mirroring today’s plights.

It was easy to be drawn in and feel part of the story not just an observer. Well written, very enjoyable and waiting for the next adventure of the crow and his trusty sidekicks.


Review

Criteria Relevant information Mark
1. Perception:

  • Believability
  • Correct science
  • Correct fiction facts
  • Society makes sense
  • Type of writing, smooth flow/ how is the transition from Descriptive to Narrative.
  • Believability, well, that is a fine line, escapism in purpose and intent? This reader reserves judgement on this, after all it is fantasy.
  • Society at times mimics the worst side of humanity with small smatterings of goodness.
  • The intellectual, emotional and aesthetic qualities of the writers’ style allowed for great flow and rhythm for this story. . The introduction of the self narrating was handled expertly and then seamlessly throughout the story it transfers from narrative to descriptive to conversational writing styles in no particular order.
5 Stars (5 / 5)
2. Grammar :

  • Spelling errors
  • Syntax/ Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
  • Laziness/Sloppiness
  • Format issues, missing words
  • There was expert word building and sentence structure throughout the book.
  • No problems with grammar.
5 Stars (5 / 5)
3. Characters:

  • Too many with some forgotten
  • Complexity/Roundness
  • Growth pattern
  • Speech pattern in keeping with character
  • Likeability/originality
  • There is equal balance between plots and the plethora of characters where they are infused into a world that is rich and inviting for the reader to explore.
  • The main characters, Crow and his inner circle/team grew over the journey into well rounded three dimensional characters. The outer support characters maintained a two dimensional persona, whilst the cannon fodder remained static.
  • All speech patterns were in keeping with their characters
  • The characters all maintained their likeability especially as friendships grew, first out of necessity, then from respect and finally from compassion, warmth and love.
  • The antagonist was well rounded and he was a great evil wizard.
  • The story line has a familiar tone to it, orphan boy raised on the streets, a loveable rogue, takes on a task over his head, chased by the hard line military man, but this is where it stops. The plot then diverts to uniqueness and originality in thought, it is both refreshing and stimulating to the mind
5 Stars (5 / 5)
4. Plot /Story line:

  • Crafting of plot/plots
  • Complexity
  • How do they converge
  • Humor/Tragedy was it real to reader
  • Ending
  • There is the main plot that of the crow and Tanris journey, but woven into this is the subplot of the Baron Duzayan’s mystery.
  • The complexity arose from the mystery. The puzzles are intriguing as the reader is fed bread crumbs throughout, keeping you turning the pages in anticipation and wonder.
  • Humour was simplistic in nature and thoroughly enjoyable. There was witty banter between the main characters. The tragedy was felt through the word building.
  • The ending was rounded up nicely and leads to speculation of further adventures to come.
5 Stars (5 / 5)
5. Bigger Picture:

  • Reader involvement
  • Social/ethical dilemmas/morals
  • Order of story does it work
  • Did the reader enjoy it/Do you want to read more
  • Plagiarism
  • It was easy to be drawn into the story line as a side character not an observer.
  • There were a few social and moral dilemmas, mainly to do with failure of humanity.
  • The flow of the story was continuous.
  • The reader thoroughly enjoyed this adventure and eagerly awaits the next book.
5 Stars (5 / 5)

Overall Rating

  1. Star Poor
  2. Stars Needs a lot of rework to make it better
  3. Stars Good but has some problem areas
  4. Stars Really good just couple problems
  5. Stars Excellent
Perception:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Grammar:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Characters:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Plot:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Big Picture:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Average:5 Stars (5 / 5)
Overall
5 Stars (5 / 5)
Excellent

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Genre: fantasy, fantasy adventure