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.
I was lucky enough to grab an advanced readers copy of The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson from the Source Books booth at Book Expo! Huge thank you to Source Books and Kalyn Josephson!! So I’ve noticed a crow theme with some of my latest reads (The Storm Crow, The Merciful Crow, Godsgrave, and of course I have to include Six of Crows even though it wasn’t a recent read) and I am all for it!
The Storm Crow takes place in the Kingdom of Rhodaire, where magical crows with elemental powers are involved in all aspects of life. Thia, is the second born princess and is training to become a crow rider. But everything changes the night of the annual crow egg hatching. The neighboring kingdom of Illucia attacks the Rhodaire capital of Aris and kills all of the crows. Many people die in the attack, including Thia’s mother, the queen. The people of Aris are lost without the crows. They have depending on them for everything for so long, that it’s difficult for the society to function. Thia’s older sister, Caliza, is now queen and is forced to make an alliance with Queen Razel of Illucia. Caliza agrees to the engagement of Thia to Razel’s son, Ericen. Thia is desperate to find a way out of the engagement and to help the people of Rhodaire. She finds a crow egg and becomes determined to hatch it to help Rhodaire defeat Illucia for good.
The story started off so strong. The first few chapters started off with a bang and pulled me in immediately. Unfortunately the story kind of plateaued after that. It was still good, but slow and not a lot happened until the very end. This probably won’t make sense but even though I found the plot slow, there were elements of the story that happened too quickly. For example, it seemed like Thia was in Illucia for about five minutes before the big ending. This also connects to the relationships. This review is spoiler free so I won’t include any details, but the romances progressed way to quickly. Thia met a man and was in love with him within a few chapters. It all happened too fast and almost felt forced. But speaking of romances, I did love the representation of a LGBTQ relationship. It was only alluded to so I hope there is more in the next book.
The plot was also fairly predictable. The ending felt a little rushed and was a tiny bit disappointing, but I’m still curious to see what happens next.
Now to what I loved about The Storm Crow!
I absolutely loved the magic system. The giant crows with elemental magic was beyond cool! In Rhodaire, there are eight types of crows and each has a corresponding power . . .
- Shadow Crow
- Battle Crow
- Wind Crow
- Water Crow
- Earth Crow
- Storm Crow
- Fire Crow
- Sun Crow (Healers)
This was such a fresh and original magic system. Props to Kalyn Josephson for creating a new, unique world that was so fascinating!
My absolute favorite part of The Storm Crow was the accurate and beautifully done representation of mental health and depression. I can’t say enough about how impressed I am by Josephson’s depiction of depression. It was so well done. Josephson shows that depression is a huge part of life and it is not a choice. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, it was so meaningful to see such a beautiful depiction. Depression will always be a part of Thia’s life, but it isn’t her whole life.
I have several quotes that I absolutely have to include . . .
“Yet even as I had the thought, it felt distant and detached, as if it’s come from another person. Trying to hold onto it was like trying to hold smoke with my bare hands. I knew what I needed to do, but working up the will to do it felt like trying to fight my way above water in a depthless ocean. It was so hard not to drown.”
“This is how it was. One moment, I was moving forward, and the next, I couldn’t move at all. No matter how important the day or what I needed to do, the feeling come and refused to leave.”
“There had been nothing shameful about my pain, nothing I’d needed to hide or hide from. I’d been afraid to face what the pain he meant, that my life as I’d known it was over, that I had to choose a new path.”
“I had survived the loss and the depression thick as mud that came after it, and I would keep surviving them.”
“I am more than my emotions, more than my depression and fear.”
“That heavy feeling might never leave me, but I could live with it. I’d survived, and I would continue to survive.”
Talking about Thia’s depression brings me to her friendship with Kiva. I adored Kiva and Thia’s friendship. The way the two women support and love one another is just amazing. I especially appreciate how supportive Kiva is when dealing with Thia’s depression. She is a perfect balance for Thia. Kiva pushes her, but also understands when not to push. She fully accepts and loves Thia. Once again, excellent job to Kalyn Josephson for writing a powerful and supportive female friendship.
One last thing that I loved about The Storm Crow . . . the glossary in the back of the book! I love when authors include glossaries. It is helpful to keep the world building straight and it also provides so much more fun information!
Overall, The Storm Crow was a fairly predictable story that started out strong, but plateaued in the middle. Despite this, I totally recommend it due to the awesome and creative magic system with the crows, and the amazing representation of depression and mental health. The Storm Crow ends with a cliffhanger and I am definitely looking forward to finding out what happens next.