Author: Kalyn Josephson
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
SYNOPSIS: In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything. That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost. But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.
I am so conflicted with this book. I literally just finished reading it this morning and wanted to write my review immediately before I have time to stew over it, because if I do that I know I will end up dropping another star. Which may be a good thing but I also want to stay objective and not be too critical of this book. Overall lets just say I was greatly disappointed, but somehow I still enjoyed it? Such controversy.
I’m going to start with the things that I actually liked about the story before I dive into what I disliked. First, the premise. It sounds weird but I loved the IDEA of this story more than the actual story. I think if done correctly this could have been an amazing idea fleshed out into an intricate story with twists and turns and magic abound. Magical crows? Riders that fly them? Sign me up, sounds like a great time. What we got though was one over grown chicken for less than half the book. Guess I’m not doing a good job saying what I liked about this oops 😬
Okay I obviously I can’t contain myself so let’s just get to my issues with this one. The world building. There was none. The very first sentence of the synopsis describes Rhodaire as a “tropical kingdom”, is it? Who actually knows? Not the reader that’s for sure. The only instance I remember describing the climate of Rhodaire was when Thia said Ericen wouldn’t be able to handle the heat and summers of Rhodaire. A place being hot in the summer doesn’t automatically make it tropical in case that wasn’t clear.. I live in Virginia where the summers are wicked hot and humid, still isn’t a tropical climate. I was never able to imagine anywhere in this world because we got no descriptors. Like, oh they’re in a castle, what does the castle look like? How am I supposed to imagine this world when nothing is identified.
The magic system in my opinion was a great idea but didn’t pan out well. We know the crows have magic, but why? Where does it come from? How does it work? I never felt like we got a sense of how intricate this system was or could be because we weren’t given any information on how it worked. This led me to be less interested in it overall because I was confused most of the book. I think because of this also it felt like nothing really happened in the story. It never felt like the plot was moving forward. Most of the time it seemed like it was more about talking through things rather than doing or showing which made the story feel SO SLOW.
The romance in this book was laughable if not cringe worthy. Spoilers ahead because I cannot contain this to myself. Thia is supposed to be marrying Ericen but being from rival kingdoms they naturally hate each other, which led me to believe we were embarking down my favorite trope of enemies to lovers. What ended up happening though is Thia ran off with Caylus and fell in love with him immediately, like within a couple days. I was done after that. I hate insta love with a passion and the romance took a turn I was not prepared for.
This was an easy review to write because all I had to do was think about all of the things that just felt off about this story and the words came flowing out, which is most unfortunate because I really wanted to love this book but I just didn’t. It wasn’t bad by any means which is why I am going to give it a neutral rating. There were a lot of points that could have made this story better, but it also wasn’t a bad story nor was it poorly written so it doesn’t deserve a bad rating. Just go into it knowing you might not get as much out of it as you were hoping.