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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Mixing Native American folklore and mythology with romantic fantasy, Jeri Smith-Ready's Eyes of Crow revolves around a courageous young woman who is forced to come to grips with her destiny -- even if it means losing everything and everyone she holds dear.
In a society where everyone has a totem animal and some sort of related magical ability, Rhia is connected with the Spirit of Crow, which gives her the terrifying power to not only see the intimate details of a person's death but also help their passage to the Other Side. But afraid to fully embrace her dark gift, it takes the tragic death of her mother to propel her towards her vocation -- and a future that includes hateful fanaticism, carnage and a looming all-out war.
Heavily inspired by shamanistic philosophy -- power animals, animal spirit guides, etc. -- it's no surprise that the Maryland-based author (and somehow, appropriately enough, Baltimore Ravens fan) is an avid animal lover, even fostering shelter dogs until they can be adopted. Bearing that in mind, any fantasy fan who enjoys novels strongly influenced by mythology and folklore (books written by Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Patricia A. McKillip, Juliet Marillier, C. E. Murphy, et al.) will enjoy this genre-blending hybrid, which is much more than just another romantic fantasy. The allegorical use of paganism and animism in particular underscores all-too-timely themes like religious prejudice, intolerance, environmentalism, etc. Like the aforementioned Dart-Thornton's epic Crowthistle Chronicles, Smith-Ready's Eyes of Crow is just the first installment in what could be an entertaining and profoundly moving series. Jean M. Auel meets Mercedes Lackey. Paul Goat Allen