"The Storm Crow" Book Review
Author: Kalyn Josephson
Genre: YA Fantasy
The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson is an authentic and powerful female-driven YA fantasy about princess Thia who, following the massacre of her kingdom’s worshipped elemental crows, plans to hatch the last remaining egg, sparking a rebellion that will bring her enemy to their knees. This book made me want to run outside, attempt to catch a crow, and then raise it as my very own pet (although, I doubt that would make my boyfriend very happy). The sequel to this book came out last week, and I’m debating whether to listen to my wallet’s pleas or ignore it and follow my desperate need to continue with Thia’s story.
Thia’s journey is about more than just the crows. A big part of this book is her overcoming her depression. Josephson manages to create a very relatable experience, one that makes Thia easy to empathize with and, in turn, I found myself growing close to her very quickly. Millions of teens suffer from this illness. I appreciate seeing it portrayed so well in a genre it’s not commonly found in. Not only does Josephson include mental illness, but she includes diversity as well.
Josephson has an incredibly diverse cast supported by multiple magical cultures. She does a great job at bringing these cultures to life through characters and in-depth description. Kiva serves as Thia’s guard, and her backstory as a Miska warrior heavily explores the beliefs of her culture. Speaking of Kiva, all of the female characters are badass. I was more than happy to journey through the story with these powerful women. Thia knows how to snap back at these men. Ericen, the enemy prince Thia is forced to marry, mentions the rumor that someone wants to kill Thia. She responds with, “My theory? They heard about the engagement and wanted to spare me the misery.” YES, QUEEN. This woman is unafraid. Beautiful, visual descriptions further strengthen the prose: “The circlet of silver feathers on her brow gleamed like molten starlight” (5).
However, sometimes I found myself yearning for more magic. At the beginning, we are introduced to this fantastical world with magical crows soaring through the sky and soldiers astride them. Then readers watch in horror as it all burns to the ground. There’s magic, action, and emotion. When the crows go extinct, the sole magical element has been wiped away. While it’s still referenced through internal dialogue and backstory, there isn’t a physical presence. Being that the majority of the book lacks this fantastical element, the story drags at times. It’s difficult, because the crows are gone. There’s no changing that. But I wish the author could have found ways to bring some fantasy and other-worldliness to the pages apart from just recollections.
Despite this issue, with a focus on mental illness, a diverse cast of female characters, and an interesting plot, this novel is a great read. Also, how can you not pick this book up with that cover? 4/5, would recommend!