Black Dawn: Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey – Book Review [Bane of Kings]

black feathers

Bane of Kings reviews the Angry Robot-Published novel, Black Feathers, written by Joseph D’Lacey.

“A brilliant take on the post apocalyptic genre. Creepy, unnerving and page-turning, D’Lacey creates a compelling story with some fasnicating characters.” ~The Founding Fields

There are several genres that I need to read more of and the post-apocalyptic genre is one of them. Black Feathers is the first novel in the Black Dawn Duology from Angry Robot Books and after hearing positive reviews about it, I leapt at the chance to read and review it from NetGalley. The book itself is very interesting, with an original plot and some awesome characters, who really are three dimensional and develop over the course of this book. If you’re a fan of post apocalyptic novels then Black Feathers is one you’ll certainly want to join the ride for.

It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.

It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.

In each era, a child shall be chosen. Their task is to find a dark messiah known only as the Crowman. But is he our saviour – or the final incarnation of evil?

File Under: Fantasy [ The Crowman | Joined Through Time | The Last Keeper | The Journey Begins ]

Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey is a very interesting read. Split between multiple narrators, told in third person, the first book in the Black Dawn Duology establishes a compelling world and thrusts the reader into an grimdark atmosphere where nobody is safe. This book is great for horror fans and really keeps you entertained right the way through, with several scenes that raise the tension and make this book one of the most unpredictable novels that I’ve read in 2013 so far.

black feathersGordon Black is a character who takes up a bulk of the narratives and is a very interesting character to tell the story from. We start the book when he’s a baby, in the opening act that establishes the tone of the book to come. It’s dark, gritty and atomspheric – nowhere is truly safe, and Joseph D’Lacey creates a chilling vision of a post-apocalyptic future. Throughout the first book there are lots of hints that Gordon is more than your average kid and it really shows just how his life is affected following the aftermath of his life getting shattered by the new Police Force in Britain called the Ward. His arc of the story is among the most compelling in the book, and we find ourselves wanting to get behind Gordon and support him.

The next character in the book is different to Gordon again, and what I found when reading the book from Megan Maurice’s story arc, becoming a keeper of knowledge – it felt different from Gordon Black’s arc, as though it was almost a young adult book in places. But Megan’s arc is still engaging and her tale is very interesting indeed, and like the rest of the book – quite original. Whilst her arc may at time seem YA, it doesn’t raise the tone of the book at all and even though the characters are different it is clear that they are both in the same novel, and as a result – the pace never changes between the two narratives.

The mystery underlining throughout the entire book is the Crowman, a mystery that I think is prehaps the greatest in Black Feathers. All along, we’re left wondering is he a force of good or evil? D’Lacey keeps the mystery hanging and I will be looking forward to see how he can wrap up the duology in the second act, which I will certainly be sticking around for.

Both acts of the novel take place in different timeframes, and Gordon’s is closer to the present in a post-apocalyptic setting, and Megan’s is even further into the future than Gordon’s. One thing is for sure that D’Lacey’s world is one that I certainly wouldn’t want to live in – but it’s one that I really love exploring. You can count me in for Book 2.


A great mystery, great characters and some interesting worldbuilding help make Black Feathers one of the strongest debuts so far in 2013.

Milo, aka Bane of Kings, is a SFF/Comic reader, and watches a lot of TV. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman, China Mieville, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson & Iain M. Banks, whilst his favourite TV shows are Battlestar Galactica (2003), Person Of Interest, Firefly, Game of Thrones, & Buffy the Vampire Slayer