book review, book tour, fantasy

Launch Day: Crowtower by David Rae

It has arrived! Released today from Brain Lag, Crowtower is the absorbing and mind bending sequel to Crowman.


About the book

All things must die. If death will come regardless, then we do not need to fear it or to run from it. We can live instead.

The priests of Vatu are locked in an endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Their constant reincarnations are defined by service to the dark spirit, hatred for each other, and ruling the world of eternal night in which they live, broken only by a single day each year when Vatu releases the Sun. They have suffered and enjoyed this existence for millennia, for an eternity… until now.

In the Tower of the Sun at the centre of the world, the reborn Utas returns to fulfill his destiny to become High Priest. He has scarcely completed his education, however, when a shocking secret of his resurrection emerges. Now questioning everything he knows, he takes a path never before followed in his long existence. Yet darkness and pain still shadow everything he does, and all his attempts at freedom seem only to lead back to Vatu.

Can Utas ever escape hatred and death, or will darkness forever rule his heart as it does the shadowed land?


My review

Set before the events of Crowman, Crowtower is the story of Utas, the High Priest of Vatu, and the endless cycles of his life within the tower in a land of darkness when the sun only shines for one day every year.

There is something about Rae’s writing that draws me in, no matter which of his works I’m reading. There’s humor, yes, and a grounding in reality that makes me feel the soil beneath my feet and suspends my disbelief. There is also always an element of something deeper that fleshes out the world and characters into three dimensions and lets my reader’s mind soar into the intellectual and spiritual spaces, providing a satisfying experience.

Crowman is one of the most unique novels I’ve read. Part fable, it presents an extraordinary world and the people who struggle to exist within it. At times those characters are archetypes, at others they’re breathing, bleeding friends. It is a masterpiece.

Rather than following on directly from the end of Crowman, Crowtower takes us back in time to learn more about the major players and the dynamics of the world they’re all trapped within. I found the narrative more accessible than its predecessor, but the scope of this novel is turned up to 11.

We follow Utas, high priest to the god of darkness, Vatu, caught in a cycle of death and rebirth, constantly the favorite child, constantly hated by the other priests who are also doomed to this nightmare.

In Crowman, I felt I was part of the everyday folk, merely trying to survive and having no control over a world run on the whims of the rich and powerful living in the city of the sun.

Crowtower shows the other side of this story, depicting the struggles of the ones who make the world and call the shots. It’s a very different dynamic, going from the powerless to the powerful, and it creates a totally different tone to the story, along with new problems and conflicts.

I loved the explorations of free will in this book, along with the themes of identity and personable responsibility. This is a very spiritual book, and I found it very intellectually satisfying.

Rae’s writing is spot on. His beautiful descriptions combined with succinct prose means he juggles complex ideas, symbolism and action without losing the reader.

I enjoyed being back in this world, and I loved learning more about it and the characters, but, while I sympathized with Utas, I can’t say I particularly liked him. Unfortunately, this left me detached from his story at parts in the second half of the novel where I felt the pacing slowed and there was some repetition of his dilemma.

However, overall I enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading both it and Crowman in preparation for Crowbait, the final installment in the trilogy.

I award Crowtower

Crowtower is available for $4.63 ebook and $14.99 print book on Amazon.

Thank you to the author and Brain Lag For provided me with a free ARC of this book. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.


About the author

David Rae lives in Scotland in a world of his own; a world of wonder, a world where hoards of workers spill out of factories, a world where fog and smoke shroud all kinds of creatures, a world where ruined castles, factories and houses were haunted by ghosts, gangs and memories. He lives in a world where witches have been burned at the cross and martyrs have been hung on the Gallowgreen. And he tries to write and tell people all about it.

Find out more about David Rae on his website, Amazon author page, twitter profile and goodreads page.


Click here to read my review of Crowman.

Click here to read my review of Midnight in the Garden of Naughty and Nice here.

Click here to read my review of Ruth and John Getting to Know You here.

7 thoughts on “Launch Day: Crowtower by David Rae”

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