Monday 3 June 2024

Book Review: In the Hour of Crows by Dana Elmendorf (Fantasy)

In the Hour of Crows
Dana Elmendorf
4 June 2024
eBook - PDF
ARC via NetGalley

In a small town in rural Georgia, Appalachian roots and traditions still run deep. Folks paint their houses blue to keep the spirits way. Black ferns grow, it’s said, where death will follow. And Weatherly Wilder’s grandmother is a local Granny Witch, relied on for help delivering babies, making herbal remedies, tending to the sick—and sometimes serving up a fatal dose of revenge when she deems it worthy. Hyper-religious, she rules Weatherly with an iron fist; because Weatherly has a rare and covetable gift: she’s a Death Talker. Weatherly, when called upon, can talk the death out of the dying; only once, never twice. But in her short twenty years on this Earth this gift has taken a toll, rooting her to the small town that only wants her around when they need her and resents her backwater ways when they don’t—and how could she ever leave, if it meant someone could die while she was gone?

Weatherly’s best friend and cousin, Adaire, also has a gift: she’s a Scryer; she can see the future reflected back in a dark surface, usually her scrying pan. Right before she’s hit and in a bicycle accident, Adaire saw something unnerving in the pan, that much Weatherly knows, and she is certain this is why the mayor killed her cousin—she doesn’t believe for a moment that it was an accident. But when the mayor’s son lays dying and Weatherly, for the first time, is unable to talk the death of him, the whole town suspects she was out for revenge, that she wouldn’t save him. Weatherly, with the help of Adaire’s spirit, sets out to prove her own innocence and find Adaire’s killer, no matter what it takes.


I really enjoyed In the Hour of Crows. The story's premise and characters caught by interest right from Chapter 1 and maintained it until the end. I thought the world building for the magical realism/fantasy elements in the tale were nicely handled, with information slowly filtering through the text as needed. Weatherly's development throughout the story was also beautifully told. I had thought I was going to experience a little shimmer of disappointment at the end, but then a fun twist in the final pages set things to right for me. Overall, I am giving this book 4.5 stars and I recommend it to fans of fantasy with a lighter touch but an occasional dark edge.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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