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Literature / Chronicles of the Raven

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Chronicles of the Raven is a trilogy of fantasy novels (Dawnthief, Noonshade, and Nightchild) by James Barclay. It was followed by a quadrilogy called Legends of the Raven consisting of Elfsorrow, Shadowheart, Demonstorm, and Ravensoul.


Chronicles of the Raven contains examples of:

  • Badass Army: The Xeteskian Protectors. They are individually highly skilled warriors, and partially psychic, so each knows exactly what all the others are doing and feeling. A few dozen have been known to hold off (or even defeat) massive armies of normal soldiers.
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  • Barbarian Hero: Hirad Coldheart certainly fits the bill. He is somewhat more thoughtful and patient (up to a point) than the usual examples. He wears lots of furs and leather, though, and fights in the manner of a berserker. Swords, axes, bare fists, even teeth are some of his weapons of choice.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Every member of the Raven dies in Ravensoul. Many, many innocents also die, although some escape to a new world. The continent on which most of the story takes place is almost completely obliterated. The spirits of the Raven members are assigned to defend the portal through which the rest of the population escapes, though, so at least they are all together in death.
  • Functional Magic: A combination the Rules Magic and Elemental Magic varieties. Long study and preparation are required, but ultimately spells are triggered by saying the name of the spell. Most of the common ones cast involve one element or another (e.g. Earth Hammer, Hot Rain).
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  • Mama Bear: Erienne in spades. Most of the book Nightchild is devoted to her role as this. Friend or foe, warrior or mage, nothing will prevent her from protecting her and Denser's daughter.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Erienne's children are held hostage by the Black Wings in order to force her cooperation. When she refuses, both children, and her husband, are murdered in a fairly gruesome fashion.

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