Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The crystal singer by Anne McCaffrey

For a decade Killashandra Ree dedicated her life to music, studying and striving to achieve a stellar rank as a singer - only to have her dream cruelly swept away because of a flaw in her voice.  Her whole life has been dedicated to learning her craft, and with the end of her dream she makes a dramatic exit and finds herself at a lose - until she meets the mysterious Carrik.  Carrik is a visitor to Fuerte, a crystal singer from the planet Ballybran, a man who grabs Killashandra up in whirlwind of excitement and new possibilities.  Ballybran is a mysterious place, hidden behind warnings and brief entries in the databanks, a mysterious possibility that seems like a good option when Killashandra makes the restless and brash decision to leave the only home she has known for a future anywhere else.  The chances of her making it as a crystal singer are not guaranteed, but the odds are better than a wasted life on Fuerte.

Killashandra soon discovers that there is more to being a crystal singer than she imagined, the least of which is the knowledge that once she reaches the surface of Ballybran her life will be forever tied to the planet - and that only successfully becoming a Crystal Singer will allow her to leave the surface again.  Against the seemingly poor odds Killashandra makes the transition to become a crystal singer, but that is just the start of her new life, because she has come to attention of the Guild Master in more ways than one.  The life of a Crystal Singer is fall of risks and rewards, but as Killashandra is about to discover the rewards are not always enough, and that the life of a crystal singer can be very lonely indeed.

I recently hit a brick wall with my reading, picking up and discarding books one after the other, so I decided to "reboot" my reading taste by reading an old favourite.  The crystal singer was the first thing that caught my eye on my shelves and I picked it up and flicked through the first few pages - and was quickly absorbed back into the story (just as I had hoped I would be!).  There are some worlds that you want to visit again and again, and there are a few authors who have earned a place on my bookshelves, authors that I return to over the years to reconnect with old friends and rediscover favoured worlds. 

I had forgotten how much of The crystal singer is a coming of age story, with Killashandra growing and evolving over the course of the story from an opinionated and somewhat arrogant individual into someone who is comfortable in her own skin and her new profession.  Twined around the story of her journey to self discovery and happiness within herself, is a subtle romance and connection between her and the Guild Master, a transitory and brief but still touching and gentle relationship.  Some may still be a little shocked by the casual liaisons in this world (and it would have been all the more shocking when the story was written) - but the liaisons Killashandra experiences are not tawdry or cheap. 

The crystal singer was surprisingly undated and I was thoroughly absorbed in the story, even though I had read it several times before it was still a pleasure to read - and I was extremely grateful that the whole series is on my shelf so I could keep reading!  Anne McCaffrey was a master storyteller and was sometimes described as the Grand Dame of science fiction, and re-reading some of her works has reminded me why she very rightfully earned this title.  Discover the world of Ballybran and it's crystal singers for yourself - you are in for an interesting and satisfying ride.

If you like this book then try:
  • Killashandra by Anne McCaffrey
  • Crystal line by Anne McCaffrey
  • Powers that be by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Rowan by Anne McCaffrey
  • The ship who sang by Anne McCaffrey
  • Decision at Doona by Anne McCaffrey
  • The elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey
  • Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Alien taste by Wen Spencer
  • The diamond throne by David Eddings
  • Sassinak by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon

Reviewed by Brilla

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