Discussion Post: The Crow (Books of Pellinor #3) by Alison Croggon


Hardcover, 511 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Candlewick Press

Hem is a weary orphan whose struggle for survival ends when he is reunited with his lost sister, Maerad. But Maerad has a destiny to fulfill, and Hem is sent to the golden city of Turbansk, where he learns the ways of the Bards and befriends a mysterious white crow. When the forces of the Dark threaten, Hem flees with his protector, Saliman, and an orphan girl named Zelika to join the Light’s resistance forces. It is there that Hem has a vision and learns that he, too, has a part to play in Maerad’s quest to solve the Riddle of the Treesong.

Chapters to Read Per Week:

Week 1: Chapters 1-6
Week 2: Chapters 7-12
Week 3: Chapters 13-19
Week 4: Chapters 20-26

Let the discussions commence. The usual rules apply. No spoilers or if you are going to be talking spoilery things, make sure to say so right at the very beginning.

26 responses to “Discussion Post: The Crow (Books of Pellinor #3) by Alison Croggon

  1. I believe I am at Chapter 5, and while I am enjoying this, I am having a hard time hearing this as an 11 year old telling the story. He sounds so much older.

    Love the crow, though. I love when I hear him (or her) talking. Reminds me of how my chickens think.

  2. Since this is the second week, and I have just finished Chapter 12, I wanted to put my thoughts down.

    I think it is interesting that there is so much travel through tunnels, in this series. I’m wondering if it is an analogy, or if the author just loves to describe traveling through tunnels. :)

    I like that Hem is starting to grow up. Now that I realize he is 12, I sort of have him figured out a little better, as I remember being 12, and how you feel so grown up and yet everyone treats you like a child.

    I also think it is interesting describing the feeling of being in a besieged city. Although I have not been in one myself, I have heard and read about accounts of what it is like. We think that war brings total description, and while it does, there is that time, before, when things are crumbling as the war comes closer and closer. Well described.

    • I’m so behind, Laura. I’ll be scrabbling to catch up but for some reason, I’m finding it difficult to immerse myself in Hem’s narrative. Maybe because I’m so anxious to get back to Maerad.

  3. I do find it hard to care about Hem as much as Maerad. It reminds me of in the little house books one is Farmer Boy. And I said. Where is Laura.

    • I think being sick has made me forgetful. But yeah, I don’t remember finding it as difficult to get into Hem’s story the first time I read it. Right now I’m still on page 56 so it may take me a while to catch up.

  4. I love the emphasis on language. In a fantasy series, I’m usually always tripping over who says what in what language and I have to confess that as a writer, it is sometimes easier to just go with a universal language because otherwise everything gets really complex. However, I really love it when authors make that extra effort to bring in different languages and consider the barriers that exist when one does speak the primary language in use.

    • Of course, yes, it is easier to just say everyone speaks the same language, but of course that is not true. And poor Hem runs into this a lot in the sourthern country where he is.

      And it does make a difference. It really does. I mean, even when people speak English, they don’t always speak the same language.

        • As I mentioned, I like Irc. Having chickens is not the same as having a pet crow, but I feel that Irc does speak the way a bird would speak. And feel that all the silverware was his.

          • Irc is wonderful. I’m only on chapter 5 (yes I know but I hope to read till the end by the end of this week or so help me God). I have a problem with how oppressive it all feels, as though we’re all waiting for the blade to come crashing down. Ya know? Alison has really captured the moments before war breaks–at least for me.

            • Don’t kill yourself. Remember this is a) for fun and b) per six chapters. You don’t have to finish the book until the last week of the month or so.

              • Haha! I know but this feels like a stumbling block. An obstacle I need to conquer and I want to gulp it down before next month’s obligations take me over. Are you on pace for the reading?

  5. I am mostly on time, and on schedule . I tend to take large chapter breaks and then read them all at once, so I get what you are saying. I’m currently on Chpater 14, and plan to be up 18 by the end of the week, or weekend. Of course, I keep reaidng other stuff inbetween, or I would probably be done by now. :) (oh and working. Working gets in the way as well).

  6. I am about 150-200 pages in (fell asleep reading last night, so I don’t remember which chapter) and I actually really like Hem’s story. I have a weakness for young scamps. Random comments:

    I like Irc a lot, but the whole “White Crow” symbolism was a bit heavy-handed.

    Zelika is possibly my favorite character in the series so far. I particularly appreciate the balance of darkness and likability in her character.

    I like these hints that Hem is gentler (animals and healing) and perhaps balances out Maerad’s darker battle magics. Theorizing here, but I see him being/having/involved with the second half of the song. There would be a lot of nice symmetry to both of them defeating the dark together.

    I really like living through Hem’s confusion and maturing. He’s been through so much change and I can really see his feisty side coming out in this new land, where he’s at such a disadvantage. But I also like how (where I am in the story now) he’s matured and come to realize how he might have misinterpreted things.

    • Interesting. I wasn’t bothered by the “White crow” as symbalism, since the whole series is all dark and light stuff. If anything, Irc is just cool.

      I didn’t like Zelika at first, because she was so single focused. Once the seige was over (I think you have gone beyond that?) I liked how she changed.

      I know what you mean about falling asleep while reading. I find myself doing that, waking up, trying to read more, falling asleep again.

      • I have a strong dislike of heavy symbolism, so it’s probably just me. Irc on his own is quite cool. :)

        I’m not quite past the seige, but while they were waiting for the attack and she was teaching Hem, she seemed much more likable.

        Reading before bed is my reward after a long day, which is quite nice, but as you said–read, fall asleep, wake up, try to read more, etc. I never used to do this as a child/teenager and could read in bed for hours. Sadness of being an adult, I suppose.

        • Oh, yes the sadness of being an adult. I used to be able to stay up all night and although I would be tired in the morning, I would be able to function. I am worthless now. But I am on the downhill slope, of adulthood. And perhaps, someday, if I can ever afford to retire, I will be reading and writing all night long again. :)

    • I’m actually on page 149 too and I don’t mind the White Crow business over much. I do love that Hem constantly thinks about Maerad and how things she said (her wanting to stay as a student) that didn’t before make sense to Hem now does when he feels the same way. I do feel that the imminent doom over Turbansk makes for stressful reading and if the synopsis is right, Hem and his friends will make a run for it but the idea that such a beautiful place will fall makes me weep. Hem’s story is growing on me steadily. I agree, Zelika is intriguing. Because she’s so damaged when we first meet her, watching her change is a pleasure. I’ll try to read a hundred pages more today and report back.

  7. What I find interesting is the difference between the paper version of the book’s cover, vs the electronic one. The paper version shows Hem, and everyone one else. The electronic version only shows a closeup of Hem. It was the same on the other books too. I wonder why that is?

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