I imagine that while writing her debut novel, Kalyn Josephson had advisors. There are advisors from her publishers Sourcebooks and peer advisors, for example. Yet, apparently no one explained a simple rule to Josephson. In the first book of a series you build worlds, characters and intrigue. You set-up your series. She did the latter. The first two? Destroyed. Well most of them by the end of the prologue. And I can only say one thing to that. THANK THE CROWS NO ONE TOLD HER THAT RULE.
Thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for an Arc in exchange for an honest review
Don’t forget today is the last day to enter the international (wherever book depository delivers) give away for a pre-order copy of The Storm Crow! Details can be found on the Q and A Post.
Truth be told when it comes to the rules of fantasy writing, series writing and, well writing, Josephson has absolutely no… *ok let me keep this G-rated*… bucks to give. And I’m here for it. All of it. Except for knowing how to give the reader enough intrigue, and open-ended plotlines to keep them coming back, but also wrapping up enough to not leave them frustrated? She went Bob Dylan (for us old enough to remember Bob Dylan) and it worked.
Let me be clear. Josephson can accomplish this feat because her writing style is impeccable. It is poetic and terrifying. She uses powerful imagery that juxtaposes terrifying events with beautiful and compelling sensory details–provoking visceral emotion and awe in the captive reader.
I was a storm.
Then the fire seared through feather and muscle and bone, and it plummeted to the earth like a falling star. It struck the ground before me, erupting like a funeral pyre Only my raw throat told me I’d screamed the entire time It’d fallen.
It is in these moments that you meet Princess Thia and her kingdom of Rhodaire as both simultaneously torn down, destroyed and everything is changed forever. It is here that you realize Josephson doesn’t fear the rules of writing the fantasy genre.
As you continue through The Storm Crow it becomes abundantly clear she has no issue eradicating them. Not for self-purpose, but because they work within the structure and plotline of her story. And if it serves her story, her characters? That is the priority.
- By the end of the prologue she hadn’t built Rhodaire, the most important kingdom in the story- she burnt it down (It isn’t a spoiler– it is the prologue).
- She introduced the characters by bringing them down to their lowest possible points, all for completely different reasons.
- And even the possible relationship doesn’t bother me because there are SO many different types of relationships of relationships happening that it works. And anyone who reads my blog understands what a HUGE deal that is for me to say.
- Everyone expecting all the magic action? Based on the description? The cover? Don’t. Not outside of the destruction of a whole kingdom and a couple of attempts on people’s lives.
- But again- rules? What rules? This is a series, not a stand-alone. It is ok because you know. You just know. You are being lulled in. It is going to come. And when it does? It is going to be spectacular. Again, this isn’t a spoiler. This is my impression, my prediction and my thoughts. I really believe that Josephson is setting us up for magic and action to take center stage.
Moving on from the rule breaking… a few more essential details about The Storm Crow.
The Depression representation demonstrates how much fiction can teach us about the world, ourselves and each other as we aim for a more inclusive society, world and schools. I said it in another recent review. Books with representation of mental illness and physical disability need to be written and read fiercely. The Storm Crow now joins that list.
Relationships. Hello relationships. Friendships. Family. Friends. Allies. Enemies. And a mixture of all of them combined, because you just never know what anyone might be up to? Yeah. I’m not giving you any more than that so just deal with it.
All of them are there and they are deeply explored. They are complicated and never just skimmed over or just side fodder. Each are integral to the story and have their own unique dynamic. They have already started to show a growth over the first book, and I imagine will continue to grow during the second book.
I won’t say much about newly introduced characters and one character that enters Thia’s world because… you should go in and have all the fun I did, and he kicks off so much of everything.
Just know that there is A LOT OF political intrigue and tough decisions to be made. But with each tough decision comes fear, the fight of inner demons and the hope of finding the strength to beat them.
So, breathe now. While you barely still can. Because once all the above comes together for book two? We are all doomed to be held captive for whatever this writing sorceress has in store for us all. And if she is willing to break all these rules in her debut. I dare not think about what will be done in book two.
Kalyn Josephson currently works as a Technical Writer in the tech industry, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. Though she grew up in San Luis Obispo, California, she graduated from Santa Clara University with a degree in Biology and a degree in English (Creative Writing). Currently, she lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay Area and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an ever tinier owl). THE STORM CROW is her debut novel.