The Raven: The final stand. NOT EVEN DEATH CAN STOP THEM. The Unknown Warrior has spent last ten years mourning his dead - those of the legendary mercenary band, The Raven, who fell in battle.
As the reluctant ruler of Balaia, he has also presided over the gradual recovery of his land after the devastation wreaked by the Demonstorm.
The other survivor from The Raven, Denser, has spent those years rebuilding Xetesk to be the dominant college of magic. But something is wrong. The Elves are fleeing their homeland, as rumours of the dead coming back to life ...of something that has so terrified the spirits of the dead that they are returning to Balaia. And amongst them are The Raven's fallen. The legendary band are together again - just in time to face a battle that cannot be won ...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date: 13/08/2009
- Category: Fantasy
- ISBN: 9780575084865
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Review by C4RO
I had such happy memories of the 6 Barclay "Raven" books that I just had to get this to see what they do next.Admittedly, even reading the back cover synopsis I began to have my doubts. [Mild spoiler alert for the first 6 books] Barclay did a great job in the first books to kill off some of his best characters- that made a good impact. It also put the books a step above much of the usual swords+sorcerors material, where every character that gets described in more than 2 sentences survives with minimal damage (the 'A-team' method). I'm not sure why he decided to make the series continuation in progressional time (rather than say, an early or mid-life Raven adventures).So, does Barclay manage the "Dallas shower scene" resurrections in anything like a believable manner? Does the story work?Overall, I'm afraid not, although he did get close in a couple places, this is a disappointing book.The premise is that the land of the dead has been under attack by mana-hungry alien Garonin and now they are coming to the real world. Thus can all of the Raven dead come back as zombies into borrowed recently-dead bodies. Various wrong bodies. No hilarity ensues. The rest of the book they must fight the Garonin and find a different dimension to retreat into.Where the zombie-Raven had potential grudges from their death events having clear blame, it was all rather unsatisfactorily skirted over. Where elf brothers/ mage wives are involved, again, this book barely acknowledges deep previous relationships. I laughed out loud when the husband/ wife discussed their dead daughter, very poor. It is as though someone took potted biographies of nearly every single character from the first books and then only used those bare facts. No real characterization or development comes through in this book at all. All of the characters you loved disintegrate to their most two-dimensional stereotypical catchphrases and attributes. There is some inter-dimensional travelling that is also not greatly expanded, all left to the "woo". If I could re-write this book, I would take out the apparent need to name check EVERYTHING from the first 6 books. Also maybe the older dead souls could have lost the strength to return? (thus stopping the quick write/ rekill of characters it feels he didn't know what to do with). I think we could have done without the dragons/ elves/ interdimensional parts of the storylines and in particular the Protectors and dragons are shoehorned in, just for the namecheck. The battles are well written and interesting but I do believe less could have been more for this book.If you've enjoyed the first 6 it may be best to leave it at that. Even 2.5 stars is more wishing on what this could have been. I accept that I'm out of step with the majority opinion here; I've not read any poor review of this book anywhere online yet.