In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life...until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: The Storm Crow #1
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Cover Artist: Tran Nguyen
My 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 received a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! In no way does this affect my rating or review.
This is my second time reading The Storm Crow. I read it last year (2019) before the publication but never got around to writing a review. Ignoring my tardiness, I was glad that my thoughts on this book remained the same as when I originally read it.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
Content Warning: Depression, Death, Arranged Marriage, possible PTSD
“That is how you became a pawn in the great game. Pawns are funny things that they sometimes decide so much.
And yet most often are simply wasted.”
The Storm Crow is a story about toxic, power-hungry leadership versus the power of the meek. After the Illucians laid waste to Rhodaire and its beloved crows, sisters Caliza and Anthia must decide the best way to sustain their ruined nation. The loss of their father and mother, the king and queen of Rhodaire, also thrusts them into an unexpected position of responsibility. While Caliza is more conditioned to leading, Anthia (Thia) takes the loss of her parents and Rhodaire’s crows heavily. The crows were not only companions but also bolstered the nation’s workings, from farming to defense and security.
Thia doesn’t immediately realize that her inability to face what happened was due to a deep depression. Unable to get out of bed or leave her room for months elicited rumors to spread. When her fiance-to-be arrives from Illucia, he even criticizes her for being “the princess that never leaves her room.”
There had been good days.
Good days, but never easy ones. Even now, some days were more manageable than others. Some hours, some seconds, I could handle, and the next, I wanted to let the world swallow me up. There were days where I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t move, couldn’t think.
I’d been depressed. I still was.
Once she realized the truth, Thia began on a journey of healing. From losing her parents, stability, and the allied crows, Thia’s mission is to garner support from neighboring nations to band together and fight against Illucia after she finds one remaining Storm Crow egg. Thia travels back behind enemy lines with her closest friend and bodyguard Kiva to become acquainted with her fiance Ericen and the Illucian Queen Razel.
Not long after she arrives, Thia looks for the answers on how to hatch the egg as a distraction from her impending arranged nuptials. A marriage for political purposes doesn’t tamp down Thia’s distaste for the Illucians, but Ericen begins to have an effect on her. She also discovers that even though she is staying with her nation’s adversaries, there are allies nearby.
Illucia had taken everything from me, and I’d given up. They’d taken everything from the Jin princess too, and if the rumors were true, she’d organized a rebellion in response. Not to mention to have known about the engagement, she either had spies in our castles or Illucia’s.
When Thia meets Caylus, the possibility to hatch the crow egg multiplies, which opens the door for revenge against Illucia. (These two represent the meek mentioned in my opening statement.)
Brimming with complex characters, each with their own struggle really drives the tide of the storyline. The tug-of-war between Rhodaire and Illucia, and Thia and Ericen definitely tug the reader into the plot. While I appreciated what each character offers, they do not negate the overall lack of world-building throughout this initial installment. This realm hardly indicates it to be tropical as the synopsis points out, and gives very little detail of the surroundings and nothing more than a brief backstory of what could be compelling lore of the Saints–the first crow riders. I still am looking forward to what will happen in the next and final installment in this duology and curious to see how these characters will end up.
Sexual content: Minimal.
My Rating: ★★★