HUGE Magical Crows in The Storm Crow | Spoiler-Free Review

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

5 Star Rating System 2 and a half stars

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Published: July 2019
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
Pages: 368 {paperback}

Review on Goodreads


Initial Thoughts Upon Finishing

Ah look, this was pretty much as strange as I had expected it to be. It was a hilarious and quick read that I enjoyed but I couldn’t take it too seriously. At this point, I’m unsure if I’ll follow through with book two but at least this was a good bit of fun!


The Storm Crow

When I think back on this book, as some time has passed between now and when I wrote that introduction, the main reaction I have is laughing. The ridiculousness of this book simply makes me laugh.

I was really hoping for an epic read from this book with the premise of magic and gigantic crows but the reality was comedic high fantasy. And look, that is pretty rare so we have to give it to Josephson for achieving that. But on the whole, this book felt like it lacked depth and rushed too quickly into the whos and whats without asking the hows.

We have a kingdom split by political divisions with jealous rivalries over the presence of magic (and huge magical crows) in one of the realms. Our main character is a princess in this tropical (why was it tropical?) kingdom of Rhodaire. My favourite thing about Rhodaire was its name. In this kingdom, there are huge crows that some of the Rhodaire people ride. There are many different types of crows that possess different magical abilities, which was awesome. They each help to keep the kingdom running and prosperous.

She’s just about ready to go through some sort of test and gain the privilege of having her own crow to ride when the kingdom is invaded by the Illucian empire. For a short spell, Thia (Anthia) is depressed and really struggling to get up and get going because the night of the invasion, her mother dies and her older sister becomes queen.

AND THEN. And then, things get exciting and she’s forced into an arranged marriage to try and diplomatically save the kingdom. But Thia is v huffy about this is and really does not like the prince so I settled in for a nice love-to-hate relationship with the odd huge crow here and there. Oh but wait, I forgot a part, with the invasion almost all of the crows were wiped out. So there’s that happening too.


Why This Simply Fell Short

This book is not long and it’s trying to achieve something huge in not enough pages. I loved the concept of the kingdom, I loved the strained relationships between the kingdoms, I even loved a lot of what happens from start to finish.

But it felt rushed. And the crow thing was a little too large to swallow, I admit. As cool as it is to have huge birds LOTR-style to fly around on, crows are not very romantic or magical. I would’ve settled for magpies, owls or even wrens. But crows are like grumpy old men (actually, fun fact, crows sound different to ravens in the UK. I have no idea what you have in the USA or any other country but the crows in Aus literally sound depressed. It’s hilarious).

The characters were a little undercooked too. Thia was alright but I preferred most of the other characters. The romance was hodge-podge and lacklustre. The prince is meant to be the dark force that has a good heart and comes good in the end, sort of guy. But he’s just confused and often doesn’t deliver. There is another love interest later on but it was SO CRINGE I just sat there going yeah yeah, get on with the story.

The world-building is my last point to discuss. I love this world. I think it’s brilliant, but we didn’t see enough. Despite spanning two kingdoms and doing quite a bit of travelling, it felt brushed over once more. There are so many references to other nations and the relationships they have with each kingdom and we never see any of it. I genuinely think this would have been so much better if it had been 200 pages longer.


Summary

Okay but I have run out of energy to harp on any longer about this. Despite everything, I love the covers for this series so much I am SO tempted to pick up book two in the hopes we get a bit more out of it. This book has every promise of potential and it WAS fun, but in the end, it just didn’t do it for me. This is a very hopeful 2.5-star rating because I know what could have been (and also all the lovely reviews out there from people who loved it) and I want to love this. But in the end, I felt there were so many other stories out there that were better. I would recommend this only if you think it truly sounds epic and if giant magical crows won’t spur you into a fit of giggles.


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Happy reading!

~~ Kirstie ~~

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