Review: Black Crow, White Snow

45440171. sx318 ★☆☆☆☆

To sum this up in the quickest way possible: Black Crow, White Snow started off as an intriguing foray into a world of female pirates but quickly squandered any potential with an intense focus on the world’s matriarchy.

I picked this up on a whim because pirates and it sounded like it would be a welcome distraction from the incessant rush hour traffic. Instead, this story only compounded my frustration as I sat on the interstate. I was initially enthralled by the strong prose and great narration, but was lost soon after. In this story we get a limiting glimpse in what appears to be a very, very large world. We learn that these characters are a part of a matriarchal society that is at war, where magic is standard (albeit deadly to many), and where one’s gender will almost certainly decide what one will be in life. The ship of characters we get to know are on the way to find a mythic power that could help turn the tide of the long-fought war. And that’s about it.

These strong characters that were leading the charge to bring home a weapon that could save their people were instead two-dimensional and boring as hell. Bela is no inspiring leader in these trying times, and her lover was merely a sex object. Her crew were so redundant I could hardly distinguish them from one another no matter how much I went back to re-listen. Their egos and infighting all muddled together in the end. What irked me the most was the way the matriarchy was constantly harped upon. This wasn’t simply a society in which women were considered the stronger, superior sex and held more positions of power. It’s just disgustingly, over-the-top sexist. I was distracted constantly by the way characters in extreme peril at all times could take the time to bash and degrade the only male in the story. This is a well-worn trope that I did not expect to be the focal point of Black Crow, White Snow but was absolutely the downfall of it.

If you’re seeking out a story about strong, queer women of color, this is not it.

Black Crow, White Snow by Michael Livingston
Genre: Fantasy
Length: 2h 37m
Publisher: Audible Studio
Pub. Date: May 2, 2019
Source: Personal Copy
Amazon | Goodreads

6 thoughts on “Review: Black Crow, White Snow”

  1. I think perhaps that there may be another perspective from which to view this book. The maiden was just a sex object? Though not dwelt upon, the author did mention the power/status/loyalty dynamic of a ship mistress “bedding” her maiden (1st mate) in the social milieu of that world. Pirates? I noticed that thy were seafaring but not necessarily pirates in the hunter/predator tradition. As mentioned, they were at war.

    I DO agree that at least two of the crewmembers were similar to the point of confusion but not in a way unrealistic in a ships crew. Does everyone have to be a distinguishable stereotype?

    Sexist? No more so than life in any tradition-laden your-job-determines-your-status society. Further, the novella seems to be merely an introduction to a world where, as we find out, a power structure has been built at best on partial truths and at worst on deliberate lies about the past.

    So I will agree to disagree about the point and subsequent quality of Black Crow White Snow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.