Crystal King by John M. Olsen (no relation)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 3/5 stars
With his father and older brother missing after a brutal attack kills the king, all the other barons, and their heirs, Gavin has to take a leadership role he neither wanted or expected. Using crystal magic to control animals, he fights to protect the kingdom from an invading army.
The plot of this novel was straightforward, nothing particularly surprised me. The most exciting reveal (for me) was when Gavin discovered the assassin his father employed. I thought that was really cool. Overall, the book felt a little dry, but I’m not a huge fan of war and politics fantasy, so that’s on me because it was well-written.
Gavin was portrayed as rebellious, yet he took over the leadership roles with ease. Though it was stated that he struggled, I never really felt it. The writing was good and easy to engage with. The setting and pace will keep you reading.
What I liked: The crystal magic system is awesome. A human can wear a crystal that is paired with one worn by an animal. The crystals form a link that allows the human to control the animal.
What I didn’t like: The minute details of leadership made the rest of the story drag along.
Read if you enjoy Brandon Sanderson, George R. R. Martin, or Megan Whelan Turner.