October 20, 2020

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

Crow Rider, By Kalyn Josephson, Builds On Everything Brilliant in Storm Crow, And Wraps-Up The Duology Spectacularly

Kalyn Josephson concludes the Storm Crow duology with Storm Rider, which is packed with vibrant characters and thrilling action while continuing to tackle relevant, heady themes started in Storm Crow.

The Crow Rider (Storm Crow #2) By Kalyn Josephson

There are spoilers for Kalyn Josephson’s Storm Crow only. This review is a spoiler-free zone for Crow Riders!

As stated above, if you haven’t read The Storm Crow, you should stop here. There will be spoilers for The Storm Crow. However, if you have yet to read Crow Rider (Storm Crow #2) by Kalyn Josephson, you are safe. This review will not have any spoilers for Crow Rider, only Storm Crow. Josephson picks-up just where Storm Crow ends, literally. You know how Infinity War picks up exactly where Thor: Ragnarok’s post-credits scene ends, precisely the same. On the same note, just like Infinity War, once it stopped. It did not stop.

Thor Ragnorok

The biggest compliment I can give Crow Rider is that it best its predecessor. Everything I loved in The Storm Crow doesn’t just continue but is explored further in Crow Rider. Tidbits teased in Storm Crow I hoped Josephson would expand on, came in full force.


Res

Can we please? Can we? I mean. Res. Res is the most badass crow since Kaz Brekker. I’m not sure why Mirabella from Three Dark Crowns didn’t have a familiar, but if she did. It would have to be a crow, like Res. The Danny/Drogon vibes are strong with this pair. The only difference is fire vs. storms. The emotional connection is palatable. Any animal lover will feel their heart tighten during multiple scenes. Res’ ability to unleash full-on natural disasters is cataclysmic as is (unlike Drogon), Res’ ability to feel remorse, guilt, and fear of the uncontrollable nature of his magic.

While there are similarities, Res could take out a dragon. I’m sure of it.

Res’ need to protect Thia comes at a cost. Emotional binds can often overwhelm and when Res sees Thia in pain, especially when he feels it is his fault. He loses control. Being that Res is still such a young crow, he hasn’t had the time to master control over his abilities. Res’ lack of training contributes to his inability to blur the line between war, vengeance, and chaos that unleashes harm on everyone involved.


Themes

Josephson continues her brave exploration of depression, with Thia. Throughout Crow Rider, Thia’s character arc shows a lot of growth. Depression still underpins it. Strength, leadership, and the will to not curl up and hide are all areas that Thia fights within herself. Even as she makes significant improvements, there are days were that weight on her chest is there. Some days more and some days less. Josephson puts it so simply, delicately, but perfectly.

“Are you going to be ok?” I asked. “Eventually.” I nodded. Sometimes eventually was all we could ask for.

She doesn’t stop there, however. Josephson expands into physical and mental abuse, as well (within families). This spirals into PTSD and other long-term trauma to those that suffer at the hands of it. As someone who has, I greatly appreciated how much of this played out. Often you do get tired of the battles, and when someone new comes into your life, they want to protect you. All they see is red, and they want to battle for you. So, when you say, stop. I’m tired of fighting. They don’t understand why you ran or why you just cut someone out. It was well done.

Crow Rider By Kalyn Josephson

Thank you to SourceBooks fire and Edelweiss for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Story And Pacing

As I stated above, the story never stopped. Once the proverbial pistol fired, you were off to the races. I almost wonder if this could have been a trilogy. Res’ development, some factions (I don’t want to spoil who), seemed a little rushed in introduction and wrap-up. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that there wasn’t time to breathe, but at the same time, I don’t want to miss one idea Josephson might have had to cut out.

Many of the relationships had great arcs throughout Crow Rider. I was specifically invested in how much the sisters changed throughout the duology. Their understanding and appreciation of each other deepened, enabling them to grow closer. Josephson brought it to life with realism, faults, hard truths, and emotional vibrance.

Lastly, I want to note (although I can’t go into details) that while Crow Rider does leave room for a third book, in a way, it also wraps up the duology in a precise, distinctive style that I don’t see in Adult or Young Adult fiction. I very much appreciated it. If anyone wants to ask me more about it, they can DM me on twitter or email me. I just don’t want to spoil the ending!

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