I just finished Eyes of Crow a couple of days ago. The book was pretty long - (473 pages? Something like that), but the writing was simple and the font wasn't tiny, so for me, I was reading a hundred and so pages in an hour (it was an absorbing read).
This is a story set in a world that could be ours in the future or maybe its set in a different world, I couldn't tell. The society depicted here is a tribal society where every person has a Spirit animal. I found this very interesting – these Spirit animals are not just symbols, they really exist for these people and each person has powers and a personality that fits their Spirit. For instance – Owls are wise and it is impossible to lie to one, Wasps are warriors and quick, Bears are strategists. As each person progresses through life they move from one phase to another and their abilities increase (Wolves can become invisible at Phase 2 for example).
The focus in this story is Rhia. As the book starts she is a young girl and it is becoming evident that she has the aspect of the Crow – bringer of death (here is a excerpt from Eyes of Crow showing this that made me want to read this book in the first place). What's interesting is that Rhia does not embrace this right away at all. She doesn't want to be able to tell who lives and who dies, and she doesn't want to be feared by the rest of the populace; but because she refuses to embrace her Crow Spirit and doesn't go on the trek she must take to become adult and a Crow woman, there are consequences.
This is a journey from childhood into adulthood story. This was done very well, Rhia doesn't want to grow up, and has to face becoming responsible for the consequences of her actions, and to think about the world outside of her own comfortable place. Its not always as simple she she would hope (there is a feeling of resentment between tribes because of the differences between them, and an even larger difference between her people and the "Descendents" - could mean war). Because of this, and because of the straightforward writing style, there are some elements that feel young adult, but there are adult situations. I enjoyed the way the story flowed and Rhia's journey, moving from young girl to embracing her Crow aspect (and the Spirit journey she takes to get there), moving past loss and heartbreak as well. The rest of the characters were also interesting – most of them had more than one dimension, flaws and heartache that defined them, which added more depth to the cast. I think the story could have become stereotypical but the author avoids making it predictible and stale. This is a Luna book as well which means there is some romance too.
I didn't really find much wrong with the book, unless you aren't into young adultish books - 8 or 8.5 out of 10.
Book two is Voice of Crow, out October 2007.
And there is a free online story set in the same world here (Wild's Call, supposed to be a distant prequel). I haven't read it yet though.