Title: The Storm Crow
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Series: The Storm Crow #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: July 9th, 2019 (SourcebooksFire)
Synopsis: In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.
A huge thank you to Edelweiss and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an ARC of this book!
Elemental Crows are a key part of life in the kingdom of Rhodaire. When Illucian empire invades, they specifically target the Crows, burning down the rookeries and leaving the Queen and many others dead. As nearly all industries were dependent on the Crows’ powers, the invasion, though Illucia failed to takeover, leaves Rhodaire not only vulnerable but also facing poverty, food shortages and unemployment. With the threat of a second attack by Illucia, Caliza, the new queen, is forced to agree to wed her younger sister Anthia to Ericen, the crown prince of Illucia. It is this that finally snaps Thia out of her depression and as she stumbles upon one solitary Crow egg, hidden in the rubble of a rookery, she knows that hatching the egg is the only way to reclaim what they lost and for Rhodaire to prosper once more.
The magic of this world is really unique, and while I was a little skeptical at first, the world-building was well done, and I particularly liked how though the main aspects were explained pretty quickly, there was very little confusion later on from the magic aspect of things. When it comes to the characters, while, in my opinion, they needed a little more depth, The Storm Crow did a very good job of introducing us to the key players and giving us an idea of their personalities. Ericen in particular is very intriguing and I’m looking forward to learning more about his history in the next books. I also really loved the bond between Thia and Kiva and it was great to see such a strong friendship. Thia herself, on the other hand, was really naive to think that she was being given this level of freedom in Illucia to move around, whether or not Razel was effectively holding her friend captive as surety for her to return daily. It wasn’t really a surprise to find out that (spoiler) Razel knew exactly what she was up to the whole time.
I also found it both interesting and praiseworthy that the author chose to discuss mental illness, a subject mostly addressed in contemporary novels, into a fantasy storyline, and how well it was portrayed and incorporated into the story. In my experience with fantasy novels, the side effects of all the magic, fighting and war is largely ignored in the effort of furthering the story and it was a refreshing change to see one such novel take this route instead.
I did however come across a few things that I did not like, first among which was that the romance between Thia and Caylus, though sweet, felt like it was there simply for the purpose of needing romance in the story. All signs point to this turning into a love triangle, which I always find very annoying. The other thing was that though this book was over 300 pages, surprisingly little happens. It’s not that that time is being used up for world-building or such, it’s simply that nothing happens. The fun portion of the story starts only when Anthia figures out how to hatch the egg, and just as things started to get interesting, the book ended.
Despite all of this though, I did enjoy this book quite a lot. The Storm Crow has a lot of potential to be a great series, and now that the story has finally picked up, I’m hoping for more action in the sequel. This is a unique fantasy novel and a very easy read. I would definitely recommend this, and this would be a great pick for people just starting the fantasy genre.
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