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Will is a library manager and an adjunct instructor of English. He graduated from the University of Auckland, New Zealand with a Master of Arts in English. His extensive work on Tolkien inspires an independent writing career in dark speculative fiction. He lives with his wife, dog and Quaker parrot on Long Island, New York.
on July 13, 2016 :
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)
on June 11, 2016 :
To quote Erin Miller 'He better release the next one soon' look forward to 'Ravens Bane'.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
on Aug. 09, 2015 :
Ravens in the Sky is a captivating book with the main character who is a detective wizard named Irulen. It's refreshing in that the characters aren't typical fantasy stereotypes and there is a play on their psyches which adds more to this well written book.
Mr. Bly combines realism in that Irulen's magic is finite and presents challenges for each character contained therein. Although it takes place in a fantasy world, each character has a bit of something each reader can relate to, at least if you have a dark past... Still, the characters are enjoyable, the plot was amazing, and he did leave it on a cliff hanger so he better release the next one soon!
With that said, this tiny review doesn't do the book any justice and really, just go read it!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
on May 21, 2015 :
Ravens in the Sky is a fascinating fusion of divergent genres. Will Bly takes the haunted, quick-witted, dark humored private detective that you might find in a Raymond Chandler novel, and casts him in the role of a Tolkien-esque wizard. The result is an ingenious blend of noir detective story and sword and sorcery high fantasy. The themes in the book are as dark as the humor, so this is certainly not a children's book, as their is a fair amount of violence, gore, and sex. But for the adult or young adult fantasy reader, Ravens in the Sky provides an intriguing mystery, an interesting array of complex characters, and a riveting story... all within a blend of serial killer/monster horror, dark mystery, and classical high fantasy. A very good read!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on May 21, 2015 :
What a great read from a young writer. The story follows a magician who is also a detective. In this universe, some people are born with magic, but they only have a limited pool to use during their lives. It's an interesting concept and presents a lot challenges for our hero, if you could even call him a hero. He is definitely flawed, just like the rest of the characters in this book. For each main character we not only see their flaws, but get a glimpse into the past of where they originated, and how it makes them into who they are today. I've already recommended this book to friends and you should read it as well!
(reviewed 18 days after purchase)