What’s this? A review posted on time?! Wow, looks like it is. End of Spring Break, I’m not going to post much here so I can get back to being around my family. Enjoy the review!
Crystal Bones by C. Aubrey Hall is the second of the Marshall Cavendish books I was sent to review. It is the first of a trilogy of teen fantasy novels featuring the half fae twins Diello and Cynthe. It is also, again, aimed at a younger audience.
It all starts the night before the twins’ thirteenth birthday when Diello hears a voice in the storm calling his mother. This is, of course, foreshadowing into their parents’ deep dark past, as mentioned in the blurb. Diello is then disappointed when his father gives him a useful gift for his birthday rather than the traditional fun present and both twins are sent out to do their chores unlike any previous birthday they’ve had. The first few chapters seem to be pretty well dedicated to reminding the reader that growing up sucks. There are however magic herbs in the morning milk which apparently get the fae either high or drunk and the fair is that day. But they’re told not to go because of the dangers of being around humans. It follows that an errand for their mother leads them right into the thick of the fair and straight towards danger! The deck is stacked against our heroes, will they survive and figure out the mysteries surrounding their parents’ pasts or are they doomed to failure?
I’m going to say right off the bat that I got caught up in Crystal Bones about halfway through, where the meat of the story started. Up until then had been mostly lead up, background, and foreshadowing which, while necessary to the overall plot, wasn’t particularly different from any other coming of age fantasy novel that I’ve read. There were also some points where it felt like Cynthe could have been omitted from the book, while both twins were billed as the heroes in the blurb it is very much Diello centric. She does get some moments of awesomeness but, all told, could have been removed in favor of making Diello a bit more three dimensional. Hall also seems to think that if humans hating half fae isn’t mentioned every time the twins run into a human the reader will forget. This leads to a ton of fantasy racism which can make the book a bit hard to read at times. Crystal Bones gets better as it goes, once I got to the meat of the story I was hooked. Unfortunately it also cuts off rather abruptly in an almost painful sequel hook, leaving a rather unsatisfying ending and a year long wait to find out what happens.
As a final note before I rate it, Crystal Bones seems to be Hall’s first novel so I’m sure that most of the kinks will be worked out for the second book. It’s also worth noting that, any issues aside, I did enjoy the book it’s just that most of what I enjoyed probably constitutes spoilers and I don’t want to ruin anything for other readers. That said, I give it a three out of five and a note to myself to keep an eye out for the next one.