ARC REVIEW: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson (The Storm Crow #1)

The Storm CrowTitle: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
Pages: 350
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: 1st August 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK Waterstones

Synopsis: 

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.

My review:

**I received an ARC of this in FairyLoot’s December 2018 box!**

I was really excited to receive an early copy of this and I was surprised it was a debut novel. I thought it was, at times, a captivating story with some really unique elements and it felt really refreshing with the different kingdoms and the magic.

I really liked the fact that all of the important people were women. They were leaders, warriors… you name it. When their mother dies, Caliza has to step up and become queen. There’s literally no questions asked about women being leaders and I loved it. My favourite character was definitely Kiva. She is Thia’s personal guard and protector. She was really funny and badass when she fought. She’s also very protective and supportive of Thia and her depression. I loved the strong friendship they had and how close they were. Thia is a very self-absorbed character and rarely thinks of others – she’s in her own little bubble most of the time. In comparison, Kiva is very aware of other people’s feelings and emotions. She’s an incredibly caring character and the author has also hinted about a relationship with another girl so I really hope Kiva gets a happy ending in the second book. She really deserves it!

We haven’t seen much of the crows since they were all supposedly destroyed at the start of the book which was really intense, by the way, but I’m hoping that will all change in book two. My absolutely favourite thing about The Storm Crow is the crows! I love how the people of Rhodaire were dependent on the crows for survival and once they are gone poverty descends and the kingdom crumbles. There’s fire crows, wind crows, water crows, sun crows, shadow crows and storm crows. Rhodaire depends on the crows for a variety of things e.g. the water crows allow them grow crops. Without them the crops die and they struggle to provide enough people with food.

I haven’t read a lot of books about mental health but the few I have read I’ve really enjoyed and I think this is the first young adult book I’ve read where the main character has suffered from depression. First let me say that I have no experience of depression. I’ve never suffered from it personally or known anyone who has suffered from it so I can’t say how accurately it was portrayed in The Storm Crow. However, this was an aspect of the book that I really liked and I think mental health should be portrayed more in young adult books. I liked how it wasn’t just referenced at the start and then forgotten about. Anthia suffers from crippling depression and some days she isn’t even able to get out of bed. Once she manages to claw her way out of it, every time she comes across a bump in the road, she struggles to keep her head above water and not get dragged down again. It was a constant battle for her to try and overcome it. I’m interested to see how Thia’s character develops in the second book and if the author will still retain her depression.

Whilst there was lots of aspects that were really exciting and unique, there was also lots that was predictable and ultimately left no room for surprises. Unfortunately what makes this book so predictable is the synopsis. It gives the whole plot away! Nothing else happens! I think if I read The Storm Crows without reading the synopsis first I’d have probably enjoyed it more and been surprised by Thia finding the crow egg and giving them a chance to win their kingdom back. As it stands though, nothing surprised me and it was easy to predict what was going to happen next because the synopsis literally outlined the whole plot for you.

 I really wanted to like Prince Ericen but I’ve seen his character so many times before that I’m tired of it. He has a controlling parent who never shows him any love or affection; he acts cruel one minute but nice the next; he repeatedly says he’s not the bad guy and is on Thia’s side. How many times have we seen that before?

Then we have the love interest Caylus who is apparently a strong warrior but for some reason the author has only portrayed him as clumsy?? I don’t understand how a warrior can be so clumsy that he bangs his head because he didn’t watch where he was going. Aren’t all warriors supposed to be on high alert at all times? It felt like Caylus constantly let his guard down even though he was in a very dangerous situation. I didn’t understand that at all. Also his relationship with Thia was very much insta-love and I am not here for that. I thought we were past insta-love and love triangles now?

Overall, this was a fantastic debut but it was let down by some overused young adult tropes I’d much rather we left in the past. The magical elemental crows were perfect and I’m definitely going to read the second book to see them revived in all their former glory. This is definitely an author to watch out for, I think she’ll write some pretty impressive books in the future.

2 thoughts on “ARC REVIEW: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson (The Storm Crow #1)

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