The Crystal Princess
by Kimberly Norton Published by Tate Publishing & Enterprises
on February 9, 2010 Genres: Paranormal Pages:
124 Format: Paperback Source: Won
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Kelly lives the life of a typical teen in the suburbs of Southern California with her football star boyfriend and loyal best friend. It’s her senior year, and she’s looking forward to her eighteenth birthday. But her life totally changes when she’s abducted by her birth family, a family she didn’t even know existed. Meeting her mother and two sisters for the first time is almost too much for her to handle. Kelly learns she is a witch born from a coven of witches with special powers. She’s called back to help her family fight the evil, power-hungry witch, Victoria, and the Wizard Council, who want to destroy all that Kelly’s family holds dear before the Immortality Ceremony, a ceremony that will seal the girls’ fate and powers for all eternity.
To make things even more complicated, Kelly falls in love with an Indian named Max White Bear. But because of a longstanding tradition, their relationship is a hard sell to the chief of the Indian tribe.
With the war between good and evil looming, Kelly must find the strength to harness her magical powers and summon The Crystal Princess inside her.
I was very excited to win this book! The cover is gorgeous, and the story sounded very exciting and unique. I just never really got into the story, though, and I’m so disappointed about it. As always, my main points are bolded. :)
1. The sentences did not flow together, but were rather blunt, choppy, and sometimes very short, basic bits of text haphazardly strung together. This occurred throughout the entire book, but the most frustrating times were when the author was describing something to us. I found myself running out of breath while I read. I think this main complaint is actually related to every other complaint of mine, so let me give you a few examples of the writing style.
- “She opened the door, and out drifted the smell of lilies. The walls were light purple, and the bed was white wrought iron. A handmade quilt lay on the bed as a spread. Two large windows let light in from both sides of the room. Lacy curtains framed the windows. A dresser sat next to the window.”
See? The room sounds like it could be lovely, and I bet if the words and sentence structures were arranged and/or chosen differently, I would have enjoyed reading it and savored the image. Instead, I felt like I was being shoved through the description like a tour guide might rush you from one painting to the next at the Louvre.
- “Hands and faces appeared in the mirrors. The room began to shake. Moans coming from the spirits filled the air. A crystal ball sat in the center of the table. The black velvet cloth covering the crystal ball flew off. A grey mist filled the crystal ball.”
I can think of so many ways I could have rewritten that passage to make it more flowy, eerie, and exciting. Instead, it is just one detail after another again. I mean, three sentences in a row mention the “crystal ball.” Why not add some commas, some more descriptive words, and less use of the word “the”? The black cloth over the crystal ball is not even mentioned until it “flew off”. How did anyone even know there was a crystal ball there, if it was covered by a black cloth? There’s just no continuity or creativity.
2. There was no real storytelling. The events were like a grocery list, with no real continuity between each event. We flew from one thing to the next, with no explanation or elaboration. I guess this relates to my last complaint: that the sentences did not flow together. First this happened. Then this. Then this. Then we had a seance. By the way, you’re a witch. Then she went to sleep. Then she had a dream. Then she woke up. Then her dog talked to her.
3. We were given no room to imagine. Everything was described to the point where no detail was left for me to fill in on my own.
4. The characters were flat and emotionless. I mean, Kelly did not even mourn the loss of her family! She was just like, “Oh, ok! I have a new family now. Let’s forget my beloved family of 18 years. Who cares that I will never see them again?” Really? There was no depth, no development, no feeling, and no real reason given for me to like any of them. I finished the book not even remembering their names, even though every sentence of dialogue either began or ended with the person’s name the comment was directed at. Once or twice would be fine, but it happens very frequently.
- Example: “Mrs. May, where’s your TA today?”
“He had a tribal thing. He’ll be back next week. Did you need to ask him about something?”
“No, Mrs. May, thanks.”
5. This is the biggest instance of insta-love I’ve ever seen. Nothing develops! One conversation is had, and it’s love.
6. The editing was very poorly done. Paragraph breaks are supposed to happen when one person is done talking, and before another one starts. I kept finding lines of text from two different people in the same paragraph, which was very confusing. It happened all. the. time. And then I’d come across too many paragraph breaks, making it look like two different people were talking, when it was really only one person. Also very confusing. There were also many missing words and punctuation marks (where did all the commas go? Seriously.). I’m wondering if any editing was done at all.
- Example: “What’s your poison? French toast or pancakes asked Isabella?” <— That’s a basic editing mistake—one that should easily be found by a good editor. Maybe spellcheck was all the editing this book received, but Tate Publishing lists 31 employees on their editing staff on their website. So… I’m not sure what happened.
7. Everything was very cliché: séances, spells, protective spells, crystal balls, witches on brooms. I felt like the subject matter lacked creativity, and would have better suited a picture book for young children.
Overall, the idea of the story was ok, but it was poorly executed and poorly presented. The writing seemed very basic, choppy, and juvenile—like a child could have written it. It was also way too big a storyline to be the size of a novella. I’m not sure if there was a page limit, or what, but the entire story was rushed and unbelievable. I also needed my inhaler by the end. It just wasn’t enjoyable to read, and I feel so bad to admit this. I wanted to love it, and I wanted to help this incredibly nice author promote her book. Sadly, I would not recommend it to anyone.