The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow #1)
Author: Kalyn Josephson || Length: 352 pgs || Genre: Fantasy, YA || Published: 07/19/019 || Sourcebooks Fire ||
I received an advanced finished copy of Storm Crow at Bookcon 2019, it’s a YA, Fantasy novel and author Kalyn Josephson’s debut novel. The story takes place in the Kythra, which is split into five Kingdoms Trendell, Jindae, Korovi, Rhodaire, and Illucia. The night, things are supposed to change for the better, Anthia’s world instead becomes a nightmare. Illucia invades Rhodaire. Anthia’s mother, the queen and her aunt Estrel the master of crows are murdered during the invasion along with the entire flock of magical crows who are such an integral part of the Rhodairen way of life.
Rhodaire survives the invasion and manages to push the Illucian’s back to their borders, but things remain tenuous. But Razel Illucia’s warrior queen is cruel, vicious, and calculating. She demands that Rhodaire and Illucia be joined through a union between Anthia and her Son Ericen. Anthia’s older sister Caliza became the queen of Rhodaire following the invasion, feeling cornered she agrees to the union for the sake of Rhodaire. The Prince of Illucia has a reputation for cruelty, and when he and Anthia meet they clash immediately. But Ericen’s character is complex, and it’s quite a while before Anthia can discern his true nature and motivation.
Storm Crow follows your typical YA, Fantasy conquered Kingdom, rebellion trope, and the fact that it has been done and done again doesn’t make this novel any less amazing. I enjoyed the characterization and development of the relationships between the characters.
Anthia is our protagonist, a princess, but she’s isn’t the future queen instead, she’s sister to the future heir. Anthia has a complicated relationship with her mom, which is also pretty typical; she’s also fiery heir, stubborn, misunderstood, and determined to prove herself. Many of the supporting character’s are amazing as well, and Their complexity makes Storm Crow a fantastic read.
Caliza, Anthia’s sister became queen far sooner than she ever expected, struggling to make the right directions for her kingdom and her family, the relationship between the two sisters, is strained by duty.
Kiva is Anthia’s best friend, a warrior, and a protector, and there are so many more. Even Ericen’s character, laden with complex layers of personality is hard not to like him, both for the reader and Anthia. Caylus, an inventor who Anthia’s befriends is also multifaceted. Auma the Jindae servant who has stolen Kiva’s heart is more than she seems.
The villain Razel, the queen of Illucia, would’ve made an amazing heroine. I don’t think I’ve ever thought that of a villain before. Razel earns your hate and demands your respect. I get the impression that there’s much more to learn about her character going forward or near the conclusion of series. There’s also much yet to learn about the origins of the animosity between the two Kingdoms.
The originality of the Crows and their magic was remarkable, it’s hard to imagine a crow as a cute creature, but Josephon manages to impress to the reader through, sweet, endearing Resyries, Anthia’s newly hatched crow. Resyries is a massive cuteness overload.
I long for more of the story the book ended way too soon. I read Storm Crow in one sitting; it falls into the category of un-put-downable books. The release of Kingdom of Ash brought a conclusion to the epic Thrones of Glass YA fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas. I think Storm Crow is perfectly poised to fill the void left by it’s ending. Kalyn Josephson’s Storm Crow series is the next Shining star in the YA Fantasy world.
Soulmated is a YA Urban Fantasy Romance is the first book in Shaila Patel’s Joining Souls series. At the beginning of the read things went a little slow for me; the book was interesting, but it took me a little while to get wholly engrossed into the world of the book. The writing is of excellent quality the plot was thoroughly mapped out, and it shows.
Soulmated takes place in present-day Cary, North Carolina. The empath abilities and the love interest puts this book firmly into both the Urban Fantasy and Romance genres. Our main characters are Laxshmi Kapadia and Liam Whelan. They are both high school students with way too much on their shoulders. Liam has recently become the head of his Family and Laxshmi is stuck catering to an overbearing mom who seems determined to secure financial stability through her daughter with no regard to Laxshmi’s happiness.
Soulmated is told in first person POV through our main character’s Laxshmi and Liam in the alternating chapter format, this format doesn’t always work, but Patel manages to continue the story from chapter to chapter and pov to pov without skipping a beat, the story flows fluidly no matter who’s pov we are reading from. I’m starting to think I prefer this format as opposed to the style where each pov is told in separate books
Laxshmi is an Indian-American girl being raised by a traditional Indian mom; her mom is very strict and comes off as caring only for herself; she’s the villain of Laxshmi’s story. Liam is Irish, and he’s searching for the “ONE” he’s an empath. Empath royalty actually and he’s just become the head of his family. He is trying to find his one. Looking for the soulmate who will both increase his power, and enrich his life is taking a toll on him, after so many years and so many failures he’s got a bad taste in his mouth for the whole thing, it’s become a chore, and he’s nearly convinced it’s nothing but a while goose chase.
When Laxshmi and Liam meet their worlds collide, and there are several forces, determined to keep them apart, jealous classmates, racist, overbearing family members and factions within the empath community. This book mostly focuses on the necessary world-building, characterization, and the development of Liam and Laxshmi’s relationship, but by the end of the book, you’re hooked. Patel hit’s hard with a cliff hanger, so I highly recommend having book two on hand and ready to go.
I received Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau as part of the awesome swag in my Booklovercon2019 welcome bag, and it is one of the most original fantasy books I’ve read in a long time, the world created by the author is unique despite the presence of some commonly used tropes and obvious inspiration.
Kingdom of exiles is a High Fantasy novel set in the magical world created by the author, when I first started reading the book it reminded me of Amanda Bouchet’s Kingmaker Chronicles, a female protagonist intercepted by the male antihero but it didn’t exactly have the same fire. It took longer for me to get into this book.
Leena is a Beast Charmer exiled from her homeland. Leena’s character falls into the basic Loner trope, she’s sworn off love and has the single-minded goal of proving her innocence and returning home. She doesn’t make lasting connections and has been forced to do things she wouldn’t normally do all in the name of survival. Beast Charmers are, as the book description suggests like something out of J.K. Rowlings Fantastic Beast, they have the ability to charm and tame magical beast, the tamed beast then reside in a Beast Realm only accessible by a Beast Charmer.
Noc is the leader of the Cruor’s a guild of undead assassins, and they are not Vampires. They are raised from the dead and endowed with abilities that make them near perfect assassins. When Leena’s turns up in Cruor, dragging, a captive and bleeding Kost who is Noc’s second in command, demanding the contract be called off, and making her own deal, everyone is thrown for a loop. Secret’s and ulterior motives lead to a perilous journey in more ways than one for Leena, Noc and a few members of the guild.
There was significant back and forth between the protagonist Leena and The Anithero Noc, and in between Leena bonds with other members of the guild as well and a bit of a love triangle trope. The characterization and relationship building were great. But it took me a while to warm up to the book, the authors writing voice wasn’t as warm as I would’ve liked. But as the story progressed, I warmed up to it. The plot and arc progression were great; a few things were predictable but not annoyingly so. The story concluded with a great climax, that still left questions to be answered in the next book.
Here There are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé is an incredible work of Literary Prose. Although marketed as a Young Adult Horror, after reading it I’d say it falls more under YA, mystery, Thriller and it was like nothing I’ve ever read before. The story follows Skye our 16-year-old protagonist, as she fights to find a balance between who she is, who she is pretending to be, and who her baby sister Diedre wants her to be. When Dierdre goes missing Skye fights hard against the disruption of her carefully planned life, but old habits are hard to break. When Skye decides to forgo her carefully scripted life to save her sister, it releases the darkest parts of her character. When she finally finds Deirdre, she’s forced to decide once and for all who she wants to be.
Bérubé is a fantastic writer who never misses an opportunity for imagery; she does not do “plain” every sentence is laced without unique flair. If Bérubé wanted to relay to the reader that it was a sunny day she would instead say something along the lines of, the day is lit by the soothing warmth, on the rays of the systems brightest star. A sentence I was inspired to write myself while reading the novel and experiencing the mastery of words Bérubé has accomplished. Each line grabs the reader holding them at the edge of curiosity while managing to be the least predictable novel I have ever read.
Although my go-to genre is usually Urban Fantasy, the skill, in which this novel is written makes it a warm, poetic, and lyrical story despite being a thriller and inspires me to read more prose. I recommend this book to lovers of prose; I think fans of Stony River or The Girl on The Train will find this novel an interesting an enjoyable read.
Here There are Monsters by Amelinda Bérubé is a Forthcoming Title from Sourcebooks Fire which will be released on August 6th, 2019.