Cover Image: The Broken Raven (Shadow Skye, Book Two)

The Broken Raven (Shadow Skye, Book Two)

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I read the first book, but because of so many details I was very distracted,  same with second book to much happening and so many details so couldn't finish the book.
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The Broken Raven takes place shortly after the events of The Good Hawk – Jaime, Agatha, Clann-a-Tuath, and Clann-na-Bruthaich are all struggling in various ways with their return home. Through the trials of attempting to regain their enclave from the Raasay people, Jaime and Agatha rely upon faces we’ve encountered before and new ones. I was glad to see the Bo Riders return, although not to the extent of the first novel. I was able to read the second book just as fast as the first; the action was reasonably constant, and switching between POV’s and their situations wasn’t grinding. There are a couple of other things I am interested in learning more about: the King of Norveg’s brother and the role he might play and the history of Skye and Inglund, specifically what the King of Inglund did to his own realm to achieve his goal.

This book is nearly three separate journeys – though their paths do merge. While unexpected, it was a welcome change that each protagonist stood on their own without the other main character’s support. It also allowed other side characters to shine and fill out the story more than they did in the previous book. I feel like Agatha took a backseat in this book and the trials she faces in this book were just less even though she grew as a person and learned some important lessons along the way. Jaime seems to have fallen into melancholy and believes he should look and feel more like a hero than he does – he doesn’t seem to realize that cunning counts as well. The Broken Raven also introduces a new main character – Sigrid, a young dreamhain from Norveg. She is rough and callused, it took me a little while to appreciate her, she became my favorite – I grew to enjoy her point of view and her often comical descriptions of things. Even though she was dealt a terrible hand she is willing to accept it for now without letting it destroy her outlook on life. If I were in her place, I would have more than likely made the same choices.

The ending of The Broken Raven was as unexpected as it was sudden. I knew the book wouldn’t solve everything, alas I wasn’t overly happy with the state of the issues at the end. I will wholeheartedly and anxiously be awaiting the final book in the trilogy, and even with the ending, I am excited to see what transpires. I would highly recommend this book (and series) to those who enjoy neurodiverse characters, mild LGBTQ+ elements, found family, fantasy/historical fantasy, middle grade, and animals. I would also recommend starting with The Good Hawk (you can read my review on the blog as well) – quite a bit of background information would be lost starting with this book first. A big thank you to Candlewick Press, Joseph Elliot, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read a digital ARC of The Broken Raven – all opinions are my own.
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This book was received as an ARC from Candlewick Press - Walker Books US in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. 

I was absolutely mesmerized by this book. I was nervous at first going into this book after learning the fact that it is book 2 of the Shadow Skye series and having not read The Good Hawk, I was nervous I would not understand parts of the story but boy was I wrong. After reading the first few chapters I was hooked and did not want to stop reading, All of the action, adventure, relationships, and drama just made you want to take a break and escape from reality. Also along for the ride, I could not help but get a little dungeons and dragons vibe from this book and if The Good Hawk has anything like that, I know I will be in for quite the ride. It is definitely a page-turning adventure and it will leave you finished when you are done.

We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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'The Broken Raven,' book two in the Shadow Skye trilogy by Joseph Elliott, mainly follows the journeys of three characters.. Agatha and Jamie of the Clann-a-Tuath and Sigrid a girl hailing from a far away group they refer to as 'deamhan.'

After having barely escaped Norveg after a vicious war, Agatha and Jamie return with their clan to the Isle of Skye to find their enclave lost to the people of Raasay. Temporarily taking up with another clan they freed in the process, their welcome is unstable at best. The leader and other elders openly debating whether or not they should be allowed to continue staying, aided in a bid to recapture their home, or just pushed out to fend for themselves.

Deception leads to the escape of dangerous shadow creatures called sgàilean from their magical prison, leaving everyone in Skye at risk of death. As Agatha and Jamie take different paths in hopes of saving lives, the stakes are rising elsewhere.

Sigrid, a girl with a wildly independent streak and a seemingly eidetic memory who's sold off by her mother to the cruel king of their lands, finds herself in the neighboring court of King Edmund of Ingland. Witness to the intricacies of a deadly alliance as it's birthed, she agrees to try to stop what's coming.. the genocide of those residing in Skye.

Admittedly, I felt like this story started out really awkwardly. After reading for awhile, I understood it was the author's way of infusing the characters not only with their distinguishable personalities, but also defining the people they came from. He was establishing a complete culture from their traditions to their social structures to their languages.

Truth be told, I even adjusted to them all bit by bit, but some were more difficult than others. Created languages sometimes just mess with my immersion, but that's a personal thing and I can't take away from the author for using them where they work well to indicate education levels, ages, and in this case even a wonderfully neurodiverse heroine. 

As for the story itself, I'm a bit conflicted. I think there were things the author did really well, such as the management of multiple narrators and the visual construction of the region of the world where the people lived. I could see it all mapped out so clearly, even with the travel across the seas connecting their villages.. and mad dash across vast lands to the Isle of Skye.

The main characters are all likeable enough. I was kind of fond of Jamie and definitely had a grudging respect for Sigrid and Agatha. I even rather liked one of the villains, the king of Norveg.. though I know I shouldn't have, still.. I enjoyed the fact he was multi-dimensional in nature.

Overall, though a lot of little things occurred, it just didn't feel like the scope of the tale was that broad. I would have liked to see more development with Jamie and the Bo Riders.. one in particular. And I think resolutions were sometimes had with a proverbial flick of a wrist, despite the length of time they might be spread over.

Possibly worth a read just for the more unusual elements though.
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Sigrid has recently got a tattoo. It's a Raven on her neck. Sigrid is looking for work on a farm digging up crops. Interesting stuff but got lost in the details.
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ARC provided by Candlewick Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Broken Raven is the second instalment in Joseph Elliott’s Shadow Skye trilogy and it is as captivating as the first one, if not more.

Sigrid is a twelve-year-old girl, gifted with phenomenal memory, who’s forced to become the eyes of the evil King of the deamhain who plans to seek revenge on the people of Skye. His hunger for vengeance and an obscure prophecy become the pillars of a vicious alliance between two dangerous kingdoms.
Clann-a-Tuath’s strenuous return to the Isle of Skye is spoiled when they discover that their enclave is in the hands of the Raasay people and that they have to rely on the generosity of their neighbouring ally, Clann-na-Bruthaich, for survival and a chance to retrieve their own home. To add insult to injury, the sgàilean are released from their magical prison and without a master to serve, they are free to destroy everything and everyone on their path. The shadow threat forces Jaime and Agatha to turn to new unexpected allies and old friends to defeat their enemies.

Middle books are usually the most boring in a trilogy, but Joseph Elliott continues surprising the reader with interesting new characters, compelling scenes and a perpetually engaging story. I’m really excited to read what the author has in store for the end of this adventure.
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