*Spoiler free, but spoilers for The Storm Crow*
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.
I adored The Storm Crow so much. It had incredible depression rep, amazing characters, and an amazing world. Thia was stepping onto the path to war at the end of The Storm Crow and I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Trigger warnings: depression, gore, PTSD
I am happy to report that I adored this one just as much as The Storm Crow. It surprised me in a lot of ways, but it was still the same world, with the same characters, fighting the same battle and every single one of them was just as amazing.
The way Josephson writes this world is something to behold. The writing makes everything seem comforting in a way, even if the things happening are the farthest things from comforting. She just has an amazing way with words.
Thia was as brilliant as ever. She’s incredibly sweet, but there’s also a sarcastic and tough side to her as well. I loved seeing her ride Res, I loved seeing her archery skills, and I loved seeing her grow into herself. She was up against so much, but I feel like she really discovered her values and the things she holds dear. She found out what she wants to fight for and what she’s willing to do to get there. I just love her so much. She still struggles with depression, but she has a support system and a way to pull herself up when things get hard. I loved that part of the book so, so much. It’s written with such care.
Seeing the old characters, along with the new ones was so awesome too. Res is a dramatic and fully grown sky cat now, but he is no less adorable. He just wants to eat scones and chicken haha. Caylus is still an adorable quiet boy. Ericen is probably still smirking this second. Kiva was fierce and protective. And the new characters were amazing too. I don’t want to say too much to avoid spoilers, but they each add their own unique contribution to the book.
Alright, the most impressive thing about this book to me was the battle scenes. I knew this book was leading up to something, since it is the last in the duology. There was some time there when I thought it could have been streched out into a trilogy (and maybe that would have been better for some magic aspects, but it still worked out really well). I thought the book would sort of fizzle out since I couldn’t quite see where it was going. BUT BOY WAS I WRONG. The battle scenes were huge and so, so well written. It didn’t feel explosive, it felt like everything was leading to that, like that was the only natural progression of events, and I think that is so much better. I loved how everything came together and everything worked out in such an amazing way. There was so much happening in such a short amount of time, but everything was laid out and I feel like I didn’t miss a second. It was paced brilliantly too. It was truly something to behold. I could gush about the battle scenes for so long haha.
I also really liked how this world’s politics played a part. I usually get bored easily with politics in books, but I found myself fascinating by this world’s inner workings. I think that is truly a testament at how well this world is written and how interesting it. There are giant crow, there are glass arrows, there is magic the crows can work. Plus, there are different kingdoms and I was able to love each and every one of them.
There were a few things that I didn’t love, but they feel very minor since everything I did love outshines them. The romance felt very flip floppy to me. I don’t quite know why it went in the direction it did. I would have preferred if the long game was played. That’s all I’m going to say to avoid spoilers. But, I did enjoy how it was written and I did end up loving the relationship. I just wish previous things hadn’t happened. Though, a character did discover he’s aromantic and he doesn’t die! I was kind of bummed he didn’t get a bigger part, but I still love him.
I feel like one part at the very end felt kind of rushed. I liked the conclusion to this event, I just think it could have been played up more. This scene is a major spoiler, which I why I’m being so brief haha.
There was also a mention of Thia’s inner darkness, like monster potential not depression, that wasn’t really followed through. I kind of wish it wasn’t included since I don’t think it adds anything to the book and I just don’t it fits Thia’s character. The way she thinks about it at least. I dunno, that’s just me.
Anoch also made some appearances in this book! They’re a shoulder riding cat now and I still love them.
All in all, I adored this book to pieces. It just as good as The Storm Crow. It is a fantastic sequel and a fantastic end to this duology. I’m super pumped to read anything that Josephson ever writes!
The Crow Rider comes out July 7, 2020! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!
Thank you for reading!