Book Review: The Storm Crow

the storm crowThe Storm Crow
Kalyn Josephson
Young Adult Fantasy
352 pages
Published July 2019

There is so much to love about this book. In some ways, it’s your typical young adult fantasy. The actual plot isn’t anything outstanding; but the characters – oh, the characters.

The book opens on the crippling of Rhodaire and the slaughter of its main strength, the magical, elemental crows that are woven into the fabric of Rhodairian life. The crows help plow, bring rain, bring sun, help heal, and even help man the forges and supply the materials worked therein. In one fell swoop by Rhodaire’s enemies, the crows are erased, and the kingdom struggles to stay afloat as a society. The queen is killed in the same cataclysm that kills the kingdom’s crows, leaving her two daughters to rule in her stead. Princess Caliza, the elder of the two, steps into her new role as queen while Princess Anthia, who was about to be a crow rider, falls into a deep depression. Her depression is named on the page, but I think she also has some PTSD going on.

Thia’s depression and PTSD are core parts of her character, and it’s wonderful to see that kind of representation in heroic fantasy like this. Thia eventually finds a reason to struggle forward, but her fear of fire continues to haunt her and give her flashbacks.

Thia’s best friend/sister of her heart (and bodyguard) is also into women, so that’s another bit of representation. She’s also just incredibly amusing.

I’m a little worried about the love triangle that’s forming; the person Thia falls in love with is just – it’s too easy. Too convenient. I don’t like it. I prefer the other option – the boy who loves Thia but is far too complicated. He is so conflicted, torn between actively opposing the rule of the evil Empress or more subtly staying in her good graces to try to take power peacefully. The book ends with the triangle still unresolved, though, so I’m definitely going to need the sequel to this.

I love how the crows were explained; that they’re more reptilian than bird-like, with anatomy that allows for riders. The author definitely thought through how this could work. I do think it’s a little unlikely that not a single adult crow survives the purge at the beginning of the book; I know the plot requires it, but it seems -really- unlikely. Just – come on. Not a SINGLE crow escapes? But it’s fantasy, so we need to suspend disbelief I suppose.

Ultimately, I loved this book. I definitely have a thing for riders – whether they’re riding phoenixes, dragons, horses, crows, or other magical creatures, I like riders. I will always pick up books with this trope. I can’t wait for the sequel, The Crow Rider!

From the cover of The Storm Crow:

A STORM IS RISING

In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, elemental crows are part of every aspect of life . . . until the Illucian empire invades, destroying all the crows and bringing Rhodaire to its knees.

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 everything she has lost, including her dream of becoming a crow rider.

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 while joining forces with the other conquered kingdoms to ignite a rebellion.

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