Onto the third part of my reread of the series which inspired my handle, I reread The Crow. The third book of Pellinor focuses on Hem, Maerad’s brother whom we meet in the first book. In this we learn more about his time traveling southwards as well as more about those who travel with him.
After such heavy focus on Maerad in the first two books, this is a definitive change of pace as we explore the southern reaches of Edil-Amarandh and the deeply entrenched reaches of the dark which lie there. Hem is travelling with Saliman, another Bard we met in The Gift (or The Naming in the US) to the Bard’s home city of Turbansk in order for Hem to learn the basics of barding at the school there. Of course nothing could ever be this simple, and instead the forces of the dark come rushing in, leaving Hem in danger when they once thought that was Maerad’s role.
When I re-read these books more as a teen, this was definitely my least favourite and probably the one I re-read the least. I was not interested in Hem’s point of view for the story at all and because of that this re-read was quite different to the previous two for me. The first two books I know inside out, but this one there were so many aspects and plot points that I just couldn’t remember from whenever I last read it, probably almost a decade ago now. I went into this book anticipating to not really adore this one, but I was so surprised and this turned out to be a fast favourite! I’m not sure what’s changed between when I used to re-read these frequently and now but I absolutely adored reading from Hem’s pov. Not only does this of course add more dynamics to the world building within the book, but I also found myself deeply caring for Hem and his companions and on the edge of my seat at any tense moments. Of course out of the main characters I knew who would survive because they’re in the next book, but with the secondary characters who I suddenly cared about I had no idea if they would live or die and the suspense would kill me each time!
This one book spans so many different aspects of this story, from the basic lore of the world and the schooling and daily life, to underground communications, dealings with the dark, enslavement and love. I’m still so surprised that this is a “discovery” for me and I’m ridiculously happy I decided to do this re-read! Once again, this is essentially impossible to talk about in any real depth without spoilers but I urge you to go and check out the first book in this series (The Gift/The Naming) because the emotional impact of these young adult books is still strong with me today as an “adult”.
This is also leaving me really excited to read The Singing, the fourth and final book in the series, because that book switches between Maerad and Hem’s points of view and I have a feeling I’m going to appreciate that so much more this time than I have since I first read the series!