Hey, writers and readers!
It’s not a good month without an indie novel or two. Today I’ll be reviewing The Crystal Tree by Imogen Elvis. As an officially published author, it’s an honor to review Elvis’s debut novel! I’m excited to talk about this gem. Check out the review below and make sure to give your two cents in the comments section if you’ve already read the book, too!
Rating: 4 stars
Briar has finally managed to rebuild her life after losing her parents to the fire that destroyed her entire village. But when the magic-wielding Nameless Ones kidnap her sister, Briar leaves the safety of her new home to save her.
With the help of some travelers on a mission of their own, and her own magic, Briar chases after the Nameless Ones, only to find that her sister’s capture is just a small part in a dark plot that threatens the safety of the entire country.
A dark magician has risen, and the legendary Crystal Tree might be the only thing that can save them now.
What I Enjoyed
I know I sound like a bit of a downer when I say this, but I enjoyed the fact that Kade and Briar are just friends. Kade is one of those travelers that Briar comes across. For a while they travel alone until they come across some of his friends. I half assumed that since you have a boy and a girl forced to travel together, there would be a lot of action and inner dialog where Briar can’t focus or do anything because she has feelings for Kade. I instead enjoyed their brimming friendship throughout the novel. I’m sure that maybe something will develop in the next novel, but for now, I think their friendship developed naturally and realistically.
I also liked the worldbuilding. Elvis unfolds the rules of the story bit by bit so you feel properly introduced as you go along. I really enjoyed the descriptions for how Briar heals others by using their life song. It’s very beautiful and fascinating.
Elvis’s writing is beautiful in general. I just got the overwhelming feeling that despite the magic and fantasy elements, everything felt natural, realistic, and real. It felt like you were on Briar’s journey with her.
What I Didn’t Enjoy
So, for much of the novel, you don’t really know what’s going on with Kade. And my main issue with that is that Briar didn’t really try hard enough to get more information out of him. You do eventually figure out his story (and boy was it worth the wait), but I felt like there were some natural places within the narrative that we could’ve gotten more hints as to who Kade was so we could trust him.
I understand the point of waiting until the right time to reveal the plot twists, but the pacing was somewhat slow until we got those details. Then it was a quick ride to the finish. I bet this works for a lot of other readers, but I could’ve used bread crumb trail throughout the book.
My Final Thoughts
Overall, this is very clean fiction for readers of all ages. Briar was a very realistic and delightful character, and I can’t wait to see how she grows and matures in the next novel. She’s realistic because she isn’t unnecessarily dramatic and doesn’t fall prey to tropes or Mary Sue tendencies. Fair warning, this novel is definitely set up for a sequel, so hang onto your hats for that!
I hope I shared enough to still pique your curiosity without giving too much away. If you’d like to learn more about Imogen Elvis and her work, you can catch up with her via social media:
Have you read this novel? Share with me in the comments! You can also see all of my other book reviews by checking our the Book Reviews tab.