Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking
Book Three of the Kanin Chronicles
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: ARC sent by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
Bryn must decide: follow her head or her heart. Thrown into a world of suspense and intrigue, Bryn now has to fight to clear her name. But she's not alone. With help from the Trylle - including Finn Holmes - she's on a quest to discover the truth.
With her life and her world on the line, will Bryn be able to risk it all?
What I Liked:
Possible spoilers if you have not read Frostfire or Ice Kissed! But I think I kept things vague enough about this book particularly. You're on your own, in terms of books one and two.
I rather enjoyed this book! I had hoped that this book would be a bit better than the previous book, Ice Kissed, which I gave three stars. I found that one to be a little boring, which wasn't a problem with this book. This one was nearly a hundred pages longer than the other two books, but the length didn't show at all.
This one picks up right where Ice Kissed left off. Bryn is on the run, as she is a wanted person in Doldastam, among the Kanin tribe. She flees, and is tracked down by none other than Konstantin Black. She and Konstantin work together to try and rally support from other kingdoms, but it isn't easy at all. They will have to turn to unexpected sources for help, as well as fight on their own for what they lost and what they will lose.
This conclusion was one of high energy, but a slow-build high energy. It felt like another novel in the series, but it was clear that the stakes were very high throughout the book. I kind of liked how Hocking set this up! The pressure didn't feel super high, though it really was. War is brewing from Kanin, and the danger is inescapable. Bryn is on the run and needs amnesty and an army, but she doesn't want to take on the very people of her home, her fellow Kanin trolls. So much is at stake, but something must be done about the deception and false accusations and schemes and betrayals in the Kanin royalty.
Bryn is such a kickbutt character! I mean, a lot of YA heroines are kickbutt in their own way, but Bryn is physically and mentally and emotionally strong. She is constantly steeling herself for difficult decisions, or trying to save everyone. And when she's frustrated, she does push-ups! Sometimes she runs laps too, but push-ups! That's hardcore. And she proves herself to be a kickbutt character over and over, taking on the Omte (giant ogres) head-on, protecting her loved ones, even fighting with and for Konstantin Black.
I feel like I understand Konstantin more, after reading this book. He was made out to be a villain in Frostfire, which he kind of is - he tried to kill Bryn's father. But we find out that, as he said throughout the series upon meeting Bryn (in unfortunate circumstances), things aren't as they seem, and Bryn doesn't know everything that is going on in. I felt bad for Konstantin, though he isn't innocent by far.
The plots and twists in this book are surprising and shocking and not too predictable, which is good. I didn't see most of them coming. I love the direction Hocking takes the story, with all the traveling and visiting the different kingdoms and whatnot. We get to see some characters from the Trylle trilogy, like King Loki (who has not changed a bit) and Queen Wendy, Finn Holmes and his wife and kids. Remember, this Kanin series is occurring like six ish years after the Trylle trilogy.
The story is very engrossing and I never felt bored as I was reading. I had no problem zipping through the 400+ pages. I love Bryn's character, the strength of her personality. I liked Konstantin - he becomes a friend to Bryn, even though he was once her enemy. Other character pop back into the story, like Ridley, Tilda, and Finn. Ridley isn't as present in this story, but when he is, emotions leak off the page. All kinds.
Which leads me to the romance. Bryn spends about a third of the book missing Ridley, feeling pain every time she thinks of him. She doesn't know that he was taken and tortured after she escaped. When he and Tilda find Bryn, he seems cold and distant. It's his own way of dealing with what happened to him, but it hurts Bryn. Nevertheless, I like their relationship, despite the obstacles in this book. They grow stronger even as they hurt each other and come back together and hurt each other and come back together. There are one or two hot scenes in this book, prepare yourself!
There is NO LOVE TRIANGLE. Konstantin never was a romantic player in this book. I saw someone say something about that, and I can't agree with the statement. There is no love triangle! Konstantin and Bryn develop a strong friendship, but Bryn has no romantic feelings for Konstantin.
The ending is slightly sad (there is a shocking death, though I somewhat expected that person to die), but it's a satisfying and happy ending overall. Like I said, there is a big death, and other people die too, but I think the ending is a good one. I like the ending a lot! This series ends so well.
What I Did Not Like:
I wish for a happier ending for some people, but they ended up dead, so I guess they can't get their happy ending. But that happens in books involving war, especially in conclusion novels! The deaths didn't bother me too much though. I just wish a certain character or two could have gotten a nice ending. Maybe death is a nice ending though.
Would I Recommend It:
I liked this book a lot! Frostfire might be my favorite, or maybe this one. The series stumbled a tiny bit with Ice Kissed, but overall, the series was great. I enjoyed the Trylle trilogy too, and this spin-off series did not disappoint. Interesting take on trolls and changelings!
4 stars. Hopefully I've not only kept this review vague, but I've also somehow convinced you that this is a great book and a wonderful conclusion novel. Not an easy review to write! But a great book about which to write a review. I'm interested in seeing what Hocking has next for readers!
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