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.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: The Storm Crow #1
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Publication Date: July 7th, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT
Cover Artist: Tran Nguyen
My Rating: ★★★1/2
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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.
Book 1: The Storm Crow: ★★★
I’m excited to be a part of the THE CROW RIDER blog tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club from June 23rd – June 30th, 2020!
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: possible PTSD due to previous emotional and physical abuse, Death, War, Depression
”Love doesn’t make you weak. It makes you stronger.”
The Crow Rider is the packed final installment in The Storm Crow duology. Founded on many points established in The Storm Crow, character development, as well as world expansion, takes center stage. While I felt that world-building lacked in The Storm Crow there was definitely more in The Crow Rider.
After fleeing from Queen Razel’s grasp, Princess Althia travels with her crow Res, to neighboring nations to garner support against the Illucians to ultimately reintroduce the way life used to be with the aid of Rhodaire’s magical crows. Bringing nations together where previous support from Rhodaire was limited isn’t all that easy. Thia, still dealing with past guilt of not doing enough after the destruction of her home, overcompensates and tries her best to fix the wrongs committed by her mother and Rhodaire, while trying to eliminate the threat as well. The promise of their mission comes with Res, Thia’s Storm Crow, who exhibits powers beyond what he should possess.
”Why is it the only thing you ever give up on is yourself?”
The narrative spends a great amount of time in Thia’s internal thoughts, which are volatile, yet slowly finding stability. In addition to Thia’s journey, other characters like Caylus and Ericen grapple with their own experiences, which ultimately lead to the understanding and cementing of their characters. The dynamic between these three characters is captivating. It feels like a love-triangle in The Storm Crow, but ends up resolving itself.
“Family is weakness. Love is weakness. Let me show you.”
A strong theme of love permeates this entire story and the value that it holds for people. Love is the motivator behind why these characters do what they do–most for good, but some for terrible reasons. Additionally, healing plays into the theme. As Thia, Caylus, and Ericen move towards healing in their own ways, Queen Razel descends into hate. Unable to accept the loss of loved ones, she figuratively cuts out her heart and offers it up for power. In doing so, her relationship with Prince Ericen is non-existent. Without remorse, she puts a bounty on his head the moment he decides to do the right thing.
Caylus, while grappling with his feelings for Thia, also lives each day with the horrors of his past. Forced into fights by a previous and brutal handler, Caylus only escaped his clutches weeks before meeting Thia. When his handler resurfaces in The Crow Rider, Caylus undergoes a huge transformation, and not entirely for the better.
The Crow Rider definitely has a satisfying end, some twists, and character experiences and growth that would appeal to many. Definitely character-driven, this second and final installment rewards it’s characters with tumultuous experiences that result in meaningful stories.
Sexual content: Minimal.
My Rating: ★★★1/2
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Kalyn Josephson currently works as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though she grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and a degree in English (Creative Writing). Currently, she lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay Area and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl). THE STORM CROW is her debut novel.
If people who pre-order TCR submit their receipts, they can choose a bonus scene from either Kiva or Ericen’s POV, and be entered to win a TSC bookmark + character cards. Open US and CAN only. Link:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdKAtn7VR_2l2y_oW6h6Zxst5XJbQLRJbmtLksneThz9ioddg/viewform
Also, if they order TSC (hardcover OR paperback) or TCR from Kaylyn’s local indie store, KeplersBooks, before July 7th they can get a signed, personalized copy. Readers need to say in the order comments if they wanted it personalized through. Link: https://www.keplers.com/pre-order-your-copy-crow-rider-0
Want to win a copy for yourself?
Prize: Win (1) a (signed) copy of THE STORM CROW and a (signed) copy of THE CROW RIDER by Kaylyn Josephson (INT)
Giveaway runs from June 23rd, 2020 – July 7th, 2020