Black Feathers - Joseph D'Lacey The birth of Gordon Black signifies the end of the world. Year after year following his birth, the world slides into more and more poverty and destruction. People call it the Black Dawn and the Crowman becomes its symbol. Whether the Crowman is a harbinger of the final end or the saviour of the world, no one is certain, but when the Ward goes after a teenaged Gordon, they are certain that the Crowman must be stopped by any means and that Gordon, tasked by his family to find the Crowman, must be captured. Meanwhile, in the post-apocalyptic future where life has reverted back to a time before technology with remnants of the old world buried, a young girl named Megan is summoned to take her place as the first ever female Keeper. Her task? To write the Crowman’s story.

This book is a cautionary tale (that occasionally gets a bit too preachy in its warnings against our reliance on technology and modern comforts and convenience, etc) and is told in a very unique way with very interesting characters. Gordon’s journey is intriguing, and I liked the way Megan’s role is worked in, with her seeing the events of the past in order to record the dark and painful tale of the Crowman.

The Crowman himself is a fascinating character. Is he a creature of good? Is he evil? Throughout the book, we get glimpses of his development and his influences on the world, but we’re never quite sure of his purpose and how he will decide the world’s fate. Is the world’s fate a decision for him to make? Or is the Crowman simply just doing his part in an incomprehensible cycle?

I was not overly fond of the Ward. The Ward represents the ruling party who wish to maintain control throughout the chaos and the Crowman is a threat to their hold on everything. They are Big Bad Corporations, The Man, Big Brother and every other example of oppressive regimes that we’ve seen in the past. Personally, I would have enjoyed their part more if they weren’t represented in such a heavy handed manner. In a time of chaos, it is understandable that there are those who try to control and take advantage. But those trying to maintain order and fairness, such as not allowing people to hoard food while others starve, is not necessarily evil. I would have liked it if the purpose of the Ward was as ambiguous as that of the Crowman.

Overall, I enjoyed Black Feathers. It was very good, but there’s a “but” floating around in my head somewhere that I’ve yet to put my finger on... Whatever that may be, for better or for worse, the book has stayed on my mind since finishing it, and I definitely approve of a book that keeps me thinking long after I’ve finished reading the last page.

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