I love urban fantasy. It’s a good resting genre for those who love fantasy in general. And when it’s not too good in plot – it usually compensates in settings and/or backstory. “Ferals: The Crow Talker” by Jacob Grey (ISBN 978-9955-23-901-7; 295p.; Goodreads) is not a pure urban fantasy, but the fantasy part in it compensated well for everything. Truly scary bad guys, wicked “Dark Lord“, and one or two measured plot twists. I’d say this book is Nicholas Flamel meets Ranger’s Apprentice, if I had to compare it to anything.
Caw is this young orphan boy living with three crows out in the abandoned park, in a nest he made himself. He keeps having nightmares of his parents pushing him out of the window when he was but a little child, and crows carrying him away. The question of why they did so bothers him night and day. Yet soon a distraction like no other strikes. Dream changes, and becomes even more of a nightmare than before, for in the background there stands a pale tall man, surrounded by spiders, eyes black as the void. And the nightmare soon becomes reality, when the white crow, who was both mute and blind, speaks a warning: Spiders are coming, and we’re their prey.
First half of the book is not the easiest to pull through, since plot has to be explained via that time, only natural. We’re introduced to the world where among regular people walk those who speak and command other beings. Caw being one who can speak to the crows. Situation we’re hurled into soon demands others of this breed to be found, and there is where the fun begins in earnest. We learn of great war that turned their city into the ruins they live in now. We learn who did it, and how is it possible that the long dead man is a threat to the world again.
So all in all, I did like the book. Can’t say it’s my new favorite, but definitely something I would willingly look into. I am very happy we received a translation of the first book already too, since we definitely don’t get enough of this type YA urban fantasy in our shelves (I guess it could be categorized as children’s book too, since it’s child-safe, unless they’re afraid of spiders). I’ll give it 4 out of 5, but expect rate to go higher as books cease needing to explain what’s going on.