Thanks to NetGalley, Sourcefire Books and Kalyn Josephson for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow #2)
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
Release date: 01 July 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Princess Thia, her allies, and her crow, Res, are planning a rebellion to defeat Queen Razel and Illucia once and for all. Thia must convince the neighboring kingdoms to come to her aid, and Res’s show of strength is the only thing that can help her.
But so many obstacles stand in her way. Res excels at his training, until he loses control of his magic, harming Thia in the process. She is also pursued by Prince Ericen, heir to the Illucian throne and the one person she can’t trust but can’t seem to stay away from.
As the rebel group prepares for war, Res’s magic grows more unstable. Thia has to decide if she can rely on herself and their bond enough to lead the rebellion and become the crow rider she was meant to be.
Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.
After recently finishing book one of this duology, I was curious and excited to see how the story would conclude and I’m glad to say that overall I found this to be a very satisfying series ender. We get more strong friendships, some character growth, intriguing revelations, a fairly epic battle and plenty more magic! While there were still elements that bothered me, I thought this was more enjoyable than the first. Also, yay we get a map!
“She was just a girl, enraptured by a dream.”
- With the world and most of the characters already established in book one, the pacing in The Crow Rider was significantly faster. Part of the story followed a training montage which I always enjoy as we get to see characters and their abilities grow. I liked that it wasn’t unrealistic growth, too–Res wasn’t able to all of a sudden wield his abilities perfectly at the end of the training and he wasn’t the most powerful crow to ever exist. The battle scenes where we get to see more crow magic being used were great and since the magic was my favourite part of book one, I’m glad we saw more of it here. I also appreciated that things didn’t fall perfectly into place; the characters really have to work through obstacles even in battle and the “bad guys” weren’t magically vanquished.
- I loved that Res got his own ‘personality’. He was quite the sassy little crow and he actually made the story much more enjoyable for me! I think out of all the characters I was probably most invested in his survival because he really grew on me 😂 This is something I never thought I’d say about a crow because crows… But he was too lovable to resist! I loved his attention seeking ploys, cheekiness and love for food. His indignant reactions had me laughing out loud quite a few times while reading!
“‘Well then, the ship’s captain asked, ‘how can you be lost?’ And the man replied, ‘Because no matter where I am, it’s never where I should be.” And when the captain asked him where that was, the man said, ‘ I don’t know. I can’t find it.'”
- For the most part, I did still like Thia but I thought her character became less likeable in this book. She was quite selfish in a lot of her actions and while she acknowledged and apologised for some, it was frustrating. As a character who lives with depression, I thought it was selfish of her to react in anger and to not accept that someone else who went through the same thing she did, could be feeling the same way and perhaps is even suffering more. It made me want to give her a good shake 🙃 That said, I did admire her bravery and her determination to see justice (and revenge) through.
“My fears had always felt like shadows waiting to be given shape. If I spoke them, they’d tear free from the darkness and suffocate me. It was so much easier to keep them close. To hold them tight. But that had only ever made them stronger.”
- Prince Ericen played a much smaller role in this book and I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of him because I did really like his character. I felt he also became more of a prop to push the story along in this book, but I’m glad for the stance he took and his bravery to do it.
“You are a tempest of lightning and thunder […]. There is a strength to you that lifts others up, and that’s what this world needs right now. Not another politician. You.”
- As it was in the first book, the romance was still my least favourite part. I thought the romance happened quickly in book one, but things devolved even faster here and it made me question the point of everything that happened before. It wasn’t entirely unpredictable but the characters kind of waved it away, and it honestly made me wish that the romance wasn’t part of the story! I can’t get into it without spoilers so I’ll leave it at that.
Overall, this was a satisfying conclusion and I’m glad that I read it. Although it took time for me to care for a lot of the characters and the world building wasn’t very strong, I did enjoy this fast paced fantasy. I liked the representation of mental health because I still feel like it’s not often that we see this rep in YA fantasy, and it helped me feel more empathetic and connected to our MC. Even though the romance wasn’t my favourite, in the end I wasn’t mad at how it wrapped up (because I’m a hopeless romantic and a big sucker for that HEA 🤷🏻♀️). I’m looking forward to seeing what else the author produces in the future!
Kalyn Josephson currently works as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though she grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and a degree in English (Creative Writing). Currently, she lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay Area and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl). THE STORM CROW is her debut novel.
Read an exclusive EXCERPT ➡ HERE.
There is a GIVEAWAY and it’s OPEN INTERNATIONALLY! Prize: Win (1) a (signed) copy of THE STORM CROW and a (signed) copy of THE CROW RIDER by Kaylyn Josephson (INT). The giveaway runs from 23 June – 07 July 2020! Enter the giveaway ➡ HERE.
Have you read The Crow Rider or is it on your TBR?