Mark Stay, The Crow Folk (2021)

This is one of those books whose cover was calling out to me at the bookshop. In my edition, there’s a subtitle: “June, 1940. Rationing. Blackouts. Witchcraft.” which was really brilliant. And it’s true, there’s all that. But the execution? Not so much, or at least, not for me.

Faye Bright is the 17yo daughter of the publican in a small British village. She helps her father out and is eager to do her bit for the Home Front if only the men would let her. Her mother died when she was young, and now Faye has found a notebook of hers, which reveals that Faye’s mother might have been… a witch. The village gets under attack, not from German bombers, but for a bunch of creepy scarecrows that seem to have come alive.

It might be only me, but the book rubbed me the wrong way. It’s neither here not there. I couldn’t make up my mind if it was for adults, children or YA. The main character is supposed to be 17, but I couldn’t believe in her. The magical world that is presented here doesn’t make sense to me, and is just juxtaposed next to period details of World War 2, it could easily have taken place at any other moment in time. The bad guys are creepy, but the danger isn’t quite clear, and the war’s dangers are rather abstract too.

Well, guys, I was not convinced. If you want witches and creepy atmosphere in a rural British setting, I’d recommend The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman. It’s a lot darker, even without the need of blackout wardens.

3 thoughts on “Mark Stay, The Crow Folk (2021)

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