Review: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Goodreads: The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1)
Published: 15 July 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Panda Rating:

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’ve had this book sitting on my shelf since the moment it first came out so I’m glad that I finally read it. There are a lot of things I enjoyed about it but I think that there was a lot of potential for more, especially with the world building and character development. That said, I’m very much looking forward to seeing what happens in the next book and I was lucky enough to get an eARC for it, so I’ll be reading that in the coming week.

  • For the most part, the writing flowed well and was easy to follow. It wasn’t overly descriptive but Josephson gave enough for this world to come to life. If you’re looking for a fast paced fantasy, this isn’t it. There isn’t a whole lot of action for the majority of the book–it’s more getting to know characters, being introduced to the world etc., but I don’t think the character arcs took over the main plot (and there is a solid one). Although the pacing felt a bit off at times, it was overall a very fast read.
  • The existence and use of the crows was unique. I can’t recall a book where animals and humans co-existed so harmoniously and where the animals played such a big role in the stability and success of a country. The crows weren’t sentient but I liked the concept of a magical bond between a crow and their rider. Reading about the crows’ different abilities and seeing how it wove together to sustain Rhodaire was pretty magical and it was probably my favourite part!

“I won’t let my scars define me. Not anymore. From now on, they’re a symbol of what I have left to fight for.”

  • I thought Thia was a great MC. After what happens at the start, she sinks into a deep depression and I thought that Josephson wrote about her experience in an open and authentic way. I think it was written in a way that makes it easy for people who haven’t experienced depression to grasp/understand, and as someone who has depression, reading my experience on page really made me feel seen (sounds corny but it’s true). Thia is fiesty and fierce and has a lot of strength within her and it was inspiring to see her pull herself out of that depressive state, but I appreciated that Josephson didn’t write her depression away because as in real life, it doesn’t just magically disappear. I also loved the strong friendship between Thia and Kiva, her best friend and bodyguard. Their support for each other never wavered and it was very clear that there was a lot of love and respect between them.
  • I also really liked Prince Ericen. He’s a deliciously complex character that I really wished we got to know more about. He does experience growth and it was really interesting to see him battle himself because of who his mother is and his Illucian pride, but also what he knows in his heart to be (morally) right. He has clearly suffered greatly because of his mother and I felt sorry for him because despite it, he still craves her approval. I’m very curious to see what becomes of him in the sequel!

“Don’t let her silence the storm inside you.”

  • Not gonna lie, I really didn’t like the romance. I was really excited when I started reading this and thought “oh yes, we’re getting an enemies-to-lovers romance, my favourite, bring it on!” but that never happened… And then I started to get love triangle vibes, I literally went *womp womp womp* because mmm no, we didn’t need it. I think the fact that I also didn’t fully connect with the characters meant that I just didn’t care about the romance? I didn’t feel the chemistry between them and I’m still convinced I feel more chemistry between Ericen and Thia. Thankfully though the ‘love’ doesn’t overshadow the plot.
  • I enjoyed most of the world building but I thought details could’ve been better incorporated into the story. What I greatly appreciated is that there’s a glossary at the end that describes the kingdom and it lays everything out really nicely–the different sections in Rhodaire, the countries in the kingdom and their politics, economies, culture, etc. I had a better understanding of this world after reading that, but sadly that was after the book ended. Maybe it’s just me because I love maps but… I think this book should definitely have a map, too!

Overall, I’m really glad that I finally read this, and while it’s not a favourite fantasy, I still really enjoyed learning about the world and meeting the characters. I’m hoping that we get to know some of them a bit better in the sequel and I’m also hoping there’ll be a bit more action after everything that happened at the end of the book!

Have you read The Storm Crow or is it on your TBR?

19 thoughts on “Review: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

  1. I’m not a fan of love triangles either. I always think… “uh… what if the character(s) is/are poly?” From your review, though, it seems like I can look past that. I love stories with bonds between humans and animals!

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    1. I have to admit that I never even considered that when thinking about love triangles. That’s a really good point! The romance was definitely not my favourite part of this book but the anticipation of more crow magic did have me hanging on for more 😀 Loved the connection between the MC and her crow. It’s a cheeky little thing!

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  2. Wonderful review! This cover is absolutely gorgeous, and the premise is intriguing. This one’s going in my “maybe” list until you post your review of the sequel 🙂

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    1. Thank you! Coincidentally my review for the sequel is being posted tonight 😀 While I still had my issues with it it was a pretty satisfying conclusion to this duology. It’s one of those fantasies that you can kind of “mindlessly” consume as it doesn’t ask too much from you which I enjoyed 🙂

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    1. It was a bit of a meh love triangle as those things go but yeah, just not needed at all 😂 Thankfully it didn’t take up that much room in the story and I was compelled enough by the crow magic and rebellion to keep reading on! I hope you do enjoy it if/when you pick it up!

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  3. I am a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope as well so I understand your disappointment in that one. However, it’s good to know that this book has a great story arc and characters worth knowing about. Great review! 😄

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  4. Aww man, I’ve been looking forward to getting the chance to pick this one up, too, but you got me with the fast-paced fantasy thing. Definitely looking for those lately, so I don’t think this is a good time for me to try this. Oh gosh, your thing about the romance has me cracking up, though, because I so feel you with that, and I get that reaction sometimes reading books, too. I think I’ll probably end up feeling the same. xD I still think I’ll probably read this, but maybe not rush to read it.

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    1. I think so! It’s definitely a slower paced fantasy that looks more at the character motivations etc. but I thought it was interesting enough to keep reading on. If you do pick it up, I hope you enjoy it Alex ❤

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  5. I did enjoy the first book and am looking forward to more in the second book, like you. I gave the ARC and hope to find out soon if some of that background is given. I think it was unique how the world was just destroyed at the beginning of the book and that the depression rep was well done.

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    1. My review for book two is going up tonight and I think it was overall a pretty clean conclusion to the series. I still had some issues with it but thought it was satisfying. I thought the depression rep was well done, too. It’s definitely not something you see often if at all in YA fantasies so that was great to see!

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