Title: The Crow Rider
Series: The Storm Crow #2
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: July 7th, 2020 (Sourcebooks Fire)
Synopsis: Princess Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.
But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.
As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.
Thank you to the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, and Edelweiss for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After narrowly escaping Illucia, Thia, her storm crow Res, and her friends are seeking alliances with the other kingdoms in an effort to take down Queen Razel. With Res exhibiting a variety of powers not typical of Storm Crows, and Thia has to learn the extent of his abilities and train with him which will prove critical in the upcoming battles. Razel continues to relentlessly seek vengeance, but that’s not all – an old enemy, long dismissed as mere myth, has risen in the shadows and is working with Razel to destroy Rhodaire and Thia for their own reasons. Thia must now step up into a leadership role to save her country and people and win the alliances they desperately need to survive.
This book picks up immediately after The Storm Crow and I loved how easy it was to jump back into the story even after nearly a year. Thia’s character arc is wonderful as she is tested yet again, now in a political aspect, as the future of Rhodaire rests on her ability to negotiate an alliance with the other kingdoms, many of whom still bear a grudge against Rhodaire for not coming to their aid against Illucia in the past. We see this entire tale from Thia’s perspective which is not all bad, but I would have really loved some chapters from Ericen’s POV. His character has grown a lot from the first book and it would have been interesting to get inside his head for a while, considering the rather tough choices he had to make. And Res – Res is a whole character by himself honestly, and he is so adorable and hilariously dramatic. I really enjoyed the training sequences and especially how Thia comforts him when he is struggling to control his magic.
This world with its magical crows and rich history could have been used to much better effect if the story was longer. It did feel at times that there was a little too much plot crammed into the 350 odd pages of this book, from the trip back to Rhodaire, to the alliance negotiations in Trendell, to the actual battle. The Sellas and their history which makes them another enemy for Thia to face was a good touch overall, but they were introduced way too late for my taste and not explained nearly well enough. This book being the finale in a duology, I expected that the major portion of the world building was completed in the first book. And minor spoiler here – but if the Sellas are some kind of evil godly figures, why were they so easy to defeat? It felt like they were taken down far too easily during the final battle which made it much less of an epic fight than I expected (Res was amazing though!).
Overall though, the author does a fine job at wrapping up the story, no loose ends, with a satisfying conclusion – it was nice to see a happily ever after ending, something my recent reads haven’t had much of. As I mentioned in my review of the first book, this duology is a great choice for readers new to the fantasy genre, even if this installment is much more complex plot and magic-wise. The Storm Crow was an enjoyable read, a good choice if you’re in the mood for some binge reading, and I would definitely recommend it!
The Crow Rider releases on July 7th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!
Other reviews in this series: