The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
Published by SourcebooksFire on July 9, 2019
Series: The Storm Crow #1
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 352 pages Source: NetGalley
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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.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from NetGalley and SourcebooksFire in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I am absolute trash for a good high fantasy.
The Storm Crow is built in an incredible world… and really, you can always tell when the world building is going to be awesome in high fantasy, because there are appendices. Throughout the course of The Storm Crow, we’re introduced to half-a-dozen different kingdoms, each with unique histories and climates. If this already sounds intense, fear not! This is not Tolkien-esque and we don’t delve into the art and culture and royal genealogies. The world is developed enough to be fascinating, but it has room to grow as the series continues.
They tell you if you want to be a writer, you should grab the reader in your first paragraph and YES Kalyn Josephson does that beautifully. The opening scene ignites all the senses and wraps the reader up immediately. The first chapter really makes you love Rhodaire. Even in the first few chapters, I sound that as a reader, I was invested emotionally in what happened to this kingdom. Forget Anthia – I was interested in the whole culture.
And with that said, this is a book that isn’t afraid to break you heart. Kalyn Josephson rushes out of the gate with this debut, never panders to her readers, and as a result she weaves a beautiful, rich, diverse story. I flew through it so fast that when I finished, I was upset there wasn’t more. Which was a huge problem, because this is a NetGalley ARC and technically, this book isn’t even out yet…let alone sequels.
Princess Anthia is full of emotions. She’s a fierce, strong female lead as is so much in fashion these days, but she’s also quirky and kind. She eats desserts unapologetically, and if Kalyn Josephson wants to reveal the recipe for the famous orange cakes, I’m all in. But Thia isn’t just another trope in a longline of copycat heroines – she’s also raw and struggling in the best ways. She’s clumsy and makes mistakes. Honestly, the closest character I can compare her to is Odessa from Reign of the Fallen. Even then, they’re not the same… but I feel like they’d understand each other, you know?
A warning to those stepping into The Storm Crow with high expectations for magic and action – the cover oversells that aspect of the book (at least the magic… also the cover is glorious). The Storm Crow serves to set up the rest of the series – it’s like a game of chess, where we have to wait for all the pieces to move into place because the real game can begin. There’s minimal magic and action here, and most the sparring is verbal… but… you know that hum in the air when a thunderstorm is coming and you feel completely alive? That’s the feeling throughout the entire book. It’s okay that not a lot is happening right now because you can feel the build up.
Some other things I really liked?
- Queen Razel is a Maleficent-class villain. Everything about her screams dangerous. So good.
- The love story wasn’t intrusive. It was present, and felt a little extraneous, BUT it never took away from the real plot, which I appreciated.
- The sibling and found sibling relationships made me happy.
- I really cannot impress enough how WELL Kalyn Josephson uses all the senses to rope you into the book. It’s done so so well. Very few authors master this, in my opinion, and she’s just killer.
- There are a lot of little things hinted throughout the book that made me second guess how I perceived the characters. Not an unreliable narrator, per se, but enough to keep me guessing in the best way.
- There needs to be more rep for depression, especially in fantasy, and I loved seeing it here.
The Storm Crow is going to be a book I’ll have to reread, because there’s layers beyond what I inhaled in these two sittings. This book was absolutely fantastic. If you liked the aesthetics of Spin the Dawn or Children of Blood and Bone, you’ll like this one. If it’s not on your TBR, it should be.
What desserts from fiction would you like to try? The orange cake here sounds delicious, but I also love the idea of “fantastic cinnamon things” from The Night Circus… though I strongly suspect those are just churros. Let me know which desserts you wish were real in the comments!