Blackwing by Ed McDonald

Sneaky Burrito

Crazy Cat Lady
Staff member
I finished this last night. It was totally my kind of book.

There is a definite bleakness there that is reminiscent of R.S. Belcher's writing (especially the Golgotha books), and there were also elements (though not the writing style) that reminded me of Glen Cook. Plenty of gore if that's your thing. There's a mystery element and, although I see there is a sequel coming out in 2018, this was self-contained. Lots of loose ends from early in the book were actually wrapped up by the end. (I think there's a lot more to explore about the world, and there should be an overall series arc that will come to completion at some point down the road.)

Anyway, I was a fan of this on a number of levels. I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone, but it worked for me. 9.5/10


Journeyed there and back again
Just finished this. It took a while because the story is so bleak, I needed breaks. Ed McDonald is obviously a major talent and now I know why he became rich with his first book contract.

I'm going to coin the term bleak fantasy. It's like grimdark but there's no relief from the despair and the only thing to look forward to is the momentary end of the bad things happening to the protagonists. The pause that doesn't refresh, it just delays the next misery.

This book is about the Misery, a wasteland created by the magical wars between human wizards and the Deep Kings, beings whose origin and nature are still not clear. The history of the world seems to be periods of conflict between lulls in the fighting which allow the citizens to realize again how bleak their lives are.

Another example of bleak fantasy is The Vagrant, but that's a happy tale compared to Blackwing. Read it to get acquainted with Ed McDonald but not to be uplifted. All bleak, all the time.


In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
Reading this right now (60%). It's pretty damn good. The quality of writing is very high for a debut.
I particularly like the magic system as well as classification of magical beings.
The world is bleak as kenubrion says but it's very well done.

The bad guys remind me of gods in Malazan books.
And the "nameless" of Malazan ascendants.


In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
Finished it last night. I didn't want to go to bed before I did, it was that good.
Imo this is a must read if you're an Abercrombie or Richard K. Morgan fan.

I liked pretty much everything in this book. I especially enjoyed the main character as well as the way action scenes were written. I like the style of magic that was used here. I liked that the bad guys are kind of Cthulhu-ish in their nature.
I look forward to the sequel.

9/10 from me.

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I'll have to give this one a try. Thanks for the recommendation Kenubrion and Alucard!