Review: The Crow Folk, by Mark Stay

04 February 2021 | Paperback Original | £8.99

Faye Bright always felt a little bit different. And today she’s found out why. She’s just stumbled across her late mother’s diary which includes not only a spiffing recipe for jam roly-poly, but spells, incantations, runes and recitations… a witch’s notebook.

And Faye has inherited her mother’s abilities.

Just in time, too. The Crow Folk are coming. Led by the charismatic
Pumpkinhead, their strange magic threatens Faye and the villagers. Armed with little more than her mum’s words, her trusty bicycle, the grudging help of two bickering old ladies, and some aggressive church bellringing, Faye will find herself on the front lines of a war nobody expected.


Fall in love with the extraordinary world of Faye Bright – it’s Maisie Dobbs meets The Magicians.

My Review

The Rosie Synopsis

Kent, Summer 1940

Everyone is in uniform, Paris has fallen, Spitfires and Hurricanes fly over head.

Faye is 17 and living with her father, publican in a tiny village called Wodeville. Her mother is dead. In a search for metal for aircraft, Faye opens a chest in the pub cellar. It’s her mother’s chest. She finds a book. A very strange book. She heads out into the woods to read before bellringing.

Out in the fields, strange things are happening, pumpkin men leading scarecrows on a dance.

Faye discovers that strange things happening in Wodeville is pretty much normal and most people block it out. Faye must use the information in her mother’s book, her bellringing skills and her wits to defeat a demon and lay the dead to rest.

The Good

Very imaginative and creepy, it reminded me of Swallows and Amazons in tone, but with witches and the supernatural. Loved the threading in of foreshadowing right from the beginning. Very atmospheric.

I can see a trace of Nanny and Granny in Charlotte and Philomena, but Faye is nothing like Agnes or Magrat. It’s probably only something fans of Discworld would see. I really liked the characters, and the way their relationship is explored, their history and how it effects their response to Faye.

The final chapters are fun and thrilling, as the army of scarecrows led by a demon face off against the ARP, Local Defence Volunteers, and the bell ringers.

Faye really has no idea Bertie has a thing for her. It’s a very sweet relationship and I hope in future books he finally tells her.

The Not-So-Good

Faye reads as closer to thirteen than seventeen. Even in 1940, girls her age living in country villages weren’t quite that innocent. I think.

The Verdict

Atmospheric, creepy, innocent story for teens and adults alike. Just, don’t upset your scarecrows.



Author Bio

Mark Stay co-wrote the screenplay for Robot Overlords which became a movie with Sir Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, and premiered at the 58th London Film Festival. He is co-presenter of the Bestseller Experiment podcast and has worked in bookselling and publishing for over twenty-five years. He lives in Kent, England, with his family and a trio of retired chickens. He blogs and humblebrags over at markstaywrites.com.

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