“I am more than my emotions, more than my depression and fear.”
I received a finished copy of The Storm Crow at BookExpo before its release date, this in no way impacts my review. I’ll keep this review as spoiler-free as possible.
Read in June 2019
My Rating: 3.8 of 5 stars
Anthia is a princess of Rhodaire, a magical kingdom with eight kinds of elemental crows (wind, shadow, battle, water, earth, storm, fire, sun). Her mother, the Queen, trained her to become a Crow rider, but the enemy nation of Illucia attacked them during the Crows hatching festival, burning all the Crow eggs and killing all the living ones. Anthia’s mother perished in the fire while trying to save them. Rhodaire relied on the Crows for many aspects of their everyday lives and with them gone the country is in ruins (for example, without water crows the crop is dying from lack of water). The defeat, as well as the losses of both her mother and the crows, left Anthia overwhelmed with grief, letting her spiralling into depression. She is barely able to get out of her bed and let her sister Caliza taking care of the kingdom alone.
Caliza is struggling with the danger of Illucia threatening to invade. Knowing perfectly well that they would not win this war, she agrees to arrange Anthia’s wedding to Prince Ericen, who has the reputation of being bloodthirsty and dangerous, as their last chance at peace. This news devastates Anthia and she is desperate to escape this arrangement, but she soon makes a discovery that allows a kernel of hope forming within her. She starts forming a plan with her sister to give Rhodaire the last opportunity to have a chance at fighting Illucia. In order to make that plan perfect, they have to fool Raziel, the Queen of Illucia so that she doesn’t suspect anything, that means that Anthia has to go into enemy territory and to pretend to accept her fate.
“Don’t let Razel win. Don’t let her silence the storm inside you. I might be queen, but you were meant to be so much more. Crow or not crow, one way or another, you will fly. You were always meant to rule the sky.”
Mild spoilers beyond this point
Ericen comes in the picture when he arrives in Rhodaire to collect his bride. As I said, he has the reputation of being bloodthirsty and dangerous, but he pretty quickly plays the I-want-to-be-friends card. I really like the chemistry between him and Anthia but I feel like he is pretty basic YA supposedly-mean-but-just-pretending trope. But I feel like he would be a better fit for her than Caylus, whom I disliked because he felt so bland (and also because I genuinely thought he was going to betray her at some point). [To me, Ericen and Thia are endgames. Also, I don’t know why, but I definitely see him riding crows in the next instalment]
I admired the sisterly relationship but the part I loved the most is the strong girl friendship in this book, between Thia and Kiva. Kiva is her guard, daughter to her mother/her sister’s guard, but they are true BFF. Their loyalty, their banter, how Kiva tried to help Thia get out of her depression step by step, just by getting her out of bed for small walks, it was everything. Also, I loved that when there was a situation where Razel hurt the love interest, Thia kept her mouth shut, but when it was Kiva being threatened she just couldn’t handle it and agreed to tell what she knew. It was refreshing to see the yearlong friendship coming before a few weeks flirt (and that’s not often in YA).
“My whole life, I had fought: for my mother’s approval, for my place as a rider, for my skills and strength and knowledge. I’d pushed unwaveringly, and when I had met a wall, I’d shattered it.
When had I stopped fighting?”
I really liked that the book was action packed and fast paced, I didn’t get bored while reading it and the writing was unique and just gorgeous. But the cherries on the cake for me were: 1. The fact that in this world women were equal to men. They were leaders, fighters and no one asked them to prove anything just because they were girls. 2. I loved the racial/sexual diversity. Many characters (secondary ones or mentioned ones) were part of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and it was considered as part of the society, and it wasn’t frowned upon. Also, Thia, Caliza and their mother are WOC whereas Ericen family are described as very white. The mental illness representation depression was handled beautifully and accurately. It wasn’t sugar coated and I enjoyed that.
However, I found the plot pretty basic, it didn’t bring anything new, it was everything we often find in YA and thus made the story pretty predictable. I’ve also seen some insta-love(s) + love triangle premises and I’m not OK with that. Especially as Caylus’ romance with Thia wasn’t necessary in my opinion. I didn’t care about him at all. Also, I feel like Ericen’s change of behaviour wasn’t justified and came out of nowhere leaving the characters some holes in his personality.
Have you read or will you read this book?
What did you think about it?