Magical Crows

The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

ARC provided by Sourcebooks Fire via ALA conference for an honest review.

Confession:

I picked this book up way back at the end of January, fully intending to read it before it came out, but alas it was not meant to be. I am glad that I got it done this year though. I have other ARC’s that I have picked up at conferences years ago that are still waiting to be read.

This book was surprisingly good. It started off a bit iffy for me, it is full of the typical YA tropes, but the world that the author has created is amazing and the magical crows are something that I want to learn more about.

Anthia is a strong character and very likable. She reads a little bit younger than her age at times, but that is okay. She is a bit naive about some things, but her strength comes in her belief that she can make things work out. Her depression after the attack that killed her mother and the crows felt very real and was handled well. She is slowly making her way out of it as the story unfolds, but there are times when she just wants to shut herself away from the world again. Her sister, Caliza, doesn’t handle her depression as well as she could, but I give her a bit of a break as she is busy trying to save her kingdom. I really like that Anthia was not the heir, but felt strongly about helping her kingdom the best she knew how. They had a good relationship even though their personalities were quite different.

I really liked Kiva, Anthia’s friend and bodyguard. She was a good friend, but she also was troubled by her past and what being Anthia’s bodyguard meant when she had to kill someone to defend her. The emotions she went through in the aftermath felt very real, and was nice to see. So often characters in YA kill but don’t often show remorse for long.

Prince Ericen was a typical YA character, whose story line was very predictable. He of course starts off mean and cruel, but we eventually learn that he is not what he appears to be. His character is well done though and it will be interesting to see how it develops in future books. I did enjoy the repartee between him and Anthia though. It was often quite witty. Queen Razel, his mother, is a women on the edge of madness. Even when she is being “nice” you can tell it is all for show.

The magical crows were the real stars of the story, even though they are all killed at the start of the book. As we learn more about them through out the book, I became more and more fascinated by them and what they can do. It took me awhile to accept that they must be huge, as Anthia’s people ride them, but once I had that sorted out, I was all in. The society and culture that has grown up around these magical creatures is intriguing and I can’t wait to learn more.

The plot on the whole is full of tropes and is very predictable to a point. But the characters and the pacing keep you interested. The writing is well done with great descriptions of the places that Anthia and Ericen visit. It is quite a diverse world as well, with many of the strong characters being women.

Overall, I do recommend this book, the crows are something not to be missed and the world will keep you interested as well.

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