“The ravens protect the Tower. Without them, the kingdom will fall.”

26803755These Dark Wings (Ravenmaster Trilogy #1)
Author: John Owen Theobald
Publisher: Head of Zeus
ISBN: 9781784974299
Pages: 304
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Pick up a copy of These Dark Wings (Ravenmaster Trilogy).


12-year-old Anna loses her mother during a bombing raid and is sent to live with her uncle in the Tower of London. He is the Ravenmaster, and he will teach her to become the same. Belief is held that if the ravens ever leave, the kingdom will fall.

During a time of war, surrounded by Nazi forces, one by one the ravens begin to disappear and die. Anna must now find her courage and endure a city devastated by war in attempt to return what is left of the ravens to the Tower. The fate of Britain may very well be at stake.

My Review:

I received a digital copy of These Dark Wings courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, Head of Zeus. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to read and provide an unbiased review of this book!

These Dark Wings is written considerably well for the most part. Told in the first person perspective, this story is articulated in an extremely crisp manner through the eyes of our young heroine Anna Cooper. There is an empathetic tone yet conciseness present in the narration that I was able to develop a true appreciation for. It was nice to see the author easily avoided falling into a tale of pity as I imagine could easily be done in stories centered around young children during time of war. So for avoiding the soppy cry fest, I say well done sir!


The characters did however feel a bit restrained. This is where I began to encounter my first problem with the book. They lacked any form of true depth and aside from a few simple inserts of Anna’s basic, and I do mean basic memories. There was nothing to elaborate on. This was disappointing. I wanted to know more about our young heroine. There seemed to be this looming mystery for a while. I was expecting a rather large unveiling. And I received next to nothing.

I understand that These Dark Wings belongs to what will be a trilogy. So I was not expecting a serious finale, but the plot just seemed to linger on with no real destination after a while. It was a true shame. I was extremely hopeful with how easily the pages were flowing and how clear the author wrote. The overall synopsis is intriguing. I loved the concept of the ravens. I am pretty sure there is or will be much more symbolism here than I am picking up on at this point.

“Always there have been six ravens at thee Tower. If the Tower ravens fly away, the kingdom will fall.”
– John Owen Theobald, (Ravenmaster Trilogy #1)

But let’s get real. What the happened here?! This book derailed like a train out of Hell with only one speed. Slow motion.. There is nothing worse than watching a wreck. Oh, wait there is. Watching it in slow motion. Seriously lacking any real direction at this point. The end just sort of dumps in your lap, like “Here!! Surprise, it’s over!”. No final clarity and quite honestly,  I was left second guessing my own intelligence as I tried to read several of the final pages over. I wanted to convince myself that I missed “it”. Sigh, but “it” was not there.


So why 3 stars? Because I really do believe this author can write. There is the slim, and I mean very slim chance I nodded off a few times and skimmed something of significance. Although. I really cannot believe so. This is a trilogy though, so maybe it was an unfortunate case of very poor segue? Who knows, I will never. But if you are a fan of YA historical fiction centered around war or enjoy anything pertaining to World War II, maybe you will find something hidden within the pages of These Dark Wings that I missed.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐

2 thoughts on ““The ravens protect the Tower. Without them, the kingdom will fall.”

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