I am trying to remember the title of an 'old' (pre 2000) fantasy novel.
The parts of the story that I remember include (essential ingredients):
1) it involved a staff, with an iron symbol on the shoe of the staff.
2) it starts off in winter.
3) it has as a theme throughout the book ravens or crows, and this might be in the title.
I recall thinking at the time I read it that it was not the usual type of fantasy novel, but persevered and loved it by the end. It was written very much from point of view of the main character, and the difficulty they had with their limited knowledge, they had beeen flung into the deep end and were fighting for their life.
The book starts first chapter with someone struggling with a staff as their only weapon, they don't know what it is and can do, they use it to fend off the crows, and its deep winter.
Magic works circumspectly, we don't get into the inner workings of the magic system used in the world. By the end of the novel the main character had become an accomplished magic user, nothing dramatic or large scale, the whole point of the novel was their struggle to make modest gains. It was very different to most of the fantasy literature of the time which posed massive leaps of power gains once magic is mastered.
I hope this is enough detail, I read the book a very long time ago. I have tried looking up every fantasy novel with crow or raven in the title, with no luck. :(
Main protagonist might be a woman.