Ravens in the Sky is a very fun dark tale of mystery and adventure. It doesn't fall into the trap of unnecessary background and world building that drags down many fantasy novels - it grabs you and jumps right into the story and the characters.
The characters are fantastic, interesting, well-developed and sympathetic in their own broken ways. The primary protagonist, Irulen the wizard detective is a haunted wanderer with a dark past, a sharp mind and a witty tongue - all great elements to a memorable hero/anti-hero. Those skills serve him well as we follow him through his various mysteries, which is another wonderful point to the story I truly enjoyed. Much of the time the book reads as a murder mystery, which is another genre I love and is a pleasant departure from the stereotypical "chosen hero goes a quest to save the world" motif.
That's probably my biggest compliment to this book in fact; in many ways it doesn't read like a regular fantasy novel. Some of the tropes and trappings are there, sure, but the author isn't bogged down by them. The characters speak in a fairly modern speech pattern (though many of them are oddly obsessed with testicles) which is not anachronistic because it's just how Mr Bly sets up the language of his secondary world. As previously mentioned, there is no earth-shaking conflict the hero must overcome, no evil army to dispatch (though villains and creeps abound), no prophecies to fulfill. The characters really feel like just regular folks traveling through this world with their own personal goals and issues to deal with.
The only drawback is that the main storyline takes a while to get going, but this a minor quibble as there is lots going on to keep the reader busy (there's even a brief zombie uprising!). Again, this stems from the fact that these are living characters in a living world that aren't "destined" to do anything. Stuff happens around them, and it takes awhile for all the plotlines to come together. It's a very neat piece of storytelling, honestly.
So yeah, a dark murder mystery with nuanced characters in a vibrant but not bloated fantasy world? I could get used to this. Get back to your word processor, Mr Bly.
(reviewed the day of purchase)