Sunday, 24 July 2016

Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking & Kanin series review


I decided to pick this one up a week or so ago after realizing how little I was honestly reading with the last book I fully read being over a month ago now.  I knew I needed something fast and addictive to get me out of this reading slump I've been in for far too long now, and so this one seemed like the perfect pick.  Not only did I already know the characters and the story, but I know I can always rely on Amanda Hocking's books to keep me gripped, which is exactly what this one did.  I raced through the first half and although it still took me over a week to finish, its definitely the quickest I've read in awhile.

As this is the last book in the series, this one once again follows our main character Byrn as she is forced to go on the run as a consequence of some of the final events of the last book, whilst also having to figure out how to save her kingdom from a threat she has yet to uncover fully.  I have to say that I did really enjoy the whole key idea of the plot and storyline of this one, and loved how it tied everything together after the difference in storylines of the last two books.  It was so good to see how all these past events fit together and for all the questions and mysteries to be answered and solved.  And so, as with the second book, I also really enjoyed all the political aspects within all the kingdoms and learning more about certain figures who played key parts in these aspects.  

However, I do have to admit that one of my main problem with this book was how choppy the plot felt, particularly towards the end.  I normally love how fast paced and so then addictive these books are, but with this one I just found it to be too quick and rushed over stuff so much that I didn't have time to fully absorb one thing before something else was already happening.  Due to this, its safe to say that I enjoyed the first half or so, which I found to move at a much more reasonable pace, much more than the second half and ending.  Whilst I still enjoyed the idea and concept of the plot and storyline, I just wish there had been a little bit more time spent over certain elements and perhaps a little more description given at particular points to allow the events to not lose some of their impact.  


One thing I found myself warming to in the last book was some of the characters, particularly the ones I hadn't been too keen on in the first, and although this did continue to a point, I still found myself not feeling as connected or as empathetic towards some characters as I had been before.  I think this may have been down to how disconnected Bryn herself was, and therefore we as readers were to them, but nonetheless I still would have liked to have felt more and cared more for characters such as Ridley and Ember who I had really grown to like in Ice Kissed.

But on a more positive note, I couldn't write this without talking about how much I did grow to love Konstantin and how great a role he played in this.  I adored his relationship with Bryn and thoroughly enjoyed learning more about his past and so finally understanding some of the choices he has made.  I also loved how strong Bryn grew to be in this one, and how she was prepared to do anything to protect those she loved.  

That said, one aspect of the book that I really did enjoy was the presence and reappearance of certain old characters from other books and from the Trylle trilogy, as well as then seeing more of some of the different Kingdoms than we ever had in the previous books.  I really enjoyed revisiting the Trylle and Skojare but surprisingly also really liked learning more about and seeing more of some of the others like the Omte and even the Vittra briefly.  As I've said before, one of the things I've grown to love is the politics between the kingdoms, so I was so glad we got to see this more in detail as we got to visit more of them.  One of the key reasons I picked up this series was because of my love of the Trylle trilogy, so I also never mind seeing some old characters pop back up again.

Although I did enjoy the majority of this book, one aspect which I wasn't a huge fan of was its predictability for me.  I don't know if I just somehow managed to guess certain events out of luck or whether they were just clearer and more easily guessed at, but personally I found myself not being too surprised by things that seemed to need and want that element to them.  Without trying to spoil anything, I just wish that certain characters fates would have been less predictable as was the case in the past books. 


Moving back onto a more positive note, one thing that felt was once again done really well in this one was the romance.   After the first and second books took complete different courses, I really like how this one didn't go back to the way it was presented in the first one but instead allowed the romance to follow on well from the second which worked so well and meant that I once again really enjoyed it.  I liked seeing how the relationship evolved and grew over time and by the end I was so glad that Hocking decided on a more straight forward romance rather than complicating things unnecessarily.  


So overall, I did enjoy this one and think it did end the series well, but it unfortunately still didn't top Ice Kissed for me.  As for the whole series, I think it is definitely one I have loved and will reread in the future.  Its addictive fast paced and I would recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy or even just wants a great story that will keep you gripped from the beginning.


Favourite:
Character: Konstantin
Scene: Ball at the Skojare palace
Quote: It is so contradictory that life can be the worst its ever been and the best its ever been all at the same time.  It's strange how love can blossom even in the darkest places.

Relate a:
Song: Some Nights - Fun. 
I Walk the Line - Halsey 
Other Book:  Switched by Amanda Hocking


Have you read this series - what did you think?


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