Title: The Storm Crow
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Series or Standalone?: The Storm Crow #1
Publishing Date: 9 July 2019
“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.”
- depictions of depression
- anxiety/panic attacks
- self-harm (for blood magic; non-graphic)
- death of family members
- MC with depression and who struggles with the aftermath of trauma (including having panic attacks)
- sapphic side-characters
- gay side-character who is a man
- m/m minor relationship
- f/f side relationship
- characters of color
Yo, who was going to tell me I was going to fall in love with this book and think about it for days after I finish it? Seriously, I adored The Storm Crow.
In Rhodaire, where the protagonist Thia lives, the people live and work with magical Crows who are able to use elemental magic. However, on the night of their festival, Rhodaire’s capital is attacked by the enemy country of Illucia. In the end, not only are all the Crows dead, but Thia’s mother, the queen, is as well.
Months pass, and Thia is stuck in a deep depression as her sister tries to run Rhodaire as queen. The country is in disarray as it tries to move on from the extinction of the Crows it used to depend on.
One day, though, Thia learns two things: a Storm Crow egg survived the attack by the Illucians, and she is being forced into an engagement with the Illucian prince, Ericen. Soon she is carted away to an enemy nation with only her closest friend and the Storm Crow egg as allies.
Like I said earlier, I have little to no negative thing to say about this book. The world-building was confusing for me at times (there’s a lot of name-dropping with different countries), but by the time the book ended, I think I had a good grasp about the world. Anyway, on to what I loved.
You want casual diversity? You get casual diversity. And I absolutely love it! We have Thia, who has depression and panic attacks as a result of the trauma she faced at the beginning of the book. I can’t say personally if the rep is any good, but from the standpoint of someone studying mental health, I thought the MI rep was done very well (obviously, depression symptoms vary widely from person to person, but I think this case was dealt with with love and care). On top of that, we also have sapphic and gay side characters, f/f and m/m side relationships, and characters of color.
Y’all wanna know what else? There is no homophobia. The sapphic and gay characters are just accepted for their sexuality, and if they’re bad, it isn’t because they’re queer. How rad!!
Somewhat related to that: I loved all of the characters. Usually, I latch on to a few and then feel neutral about the rest, but I genuinely enjoyed the complexity given to these characters, especially Thia, Ericen, and the Illucian queen. I felt that we got to see all of their struggles (some clearer than others), and as far as my experience goes, nobody seems one-dimensional.
One thing that I especially liked was how Thia and Ericen’s relationship unfolds. It didn’t go the way I thought it would, so I was pleasantly surprised as I was reading about what actually happens. Their relationship in particular is one of the things I’m especially interested in learning about in the sequel.
As for the writing itself, I have no qualms with it. Its fast pace kept me on my toes as I was reading, and I was able to fly through it. If memory serves me right, I finished this book in a couple days, which is fast for me.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book, and I cannot wait until the sequel is released so I can snag it up!
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