Title: Caught in Crystal
Author: Patricia C Wrede
SubTitle: A Lyra Novel
Publisher: Open Road
Pub Date: December 13, 2011
Category: Adult Fantasy, (also suitable for young adults).
Caught in Crystal is an enjoyable traditional fantasy read about a single mother (a refreshingly different kind of character to the usual fantasy fare) whose past catches up with her.
Kayl and her two children run a modest country inn and have done for a decade but everything changes the day a sorceress asks for a room. Her name is Corrana, a member of the order of the Sisterhood of Stars, a coven of witches that Kayl left after a secret mission to the Twisted Tower went horribly wrong. Since then the Sisters magical power has been eroded and Corrana has come to ask her to help them remove whatever blocks it, but Kayl isn’t interested in taking back the life of a Warrior for the Sisterhood that she had renounced years before. Gylndon, a wizard she met on the original mission also turns up to warn her about something he saw in a vision. That and the arrival of the Magic Seekers forces her to take action and she ends up on a journey to fix the damage she and her companions unwittingly caused fifteen years previously.
Glyndon has had debilitating visions ever since their first visit to the Twisted Tower and he travels with her not just because he hopes to find a cure for the affliction, but because he cares for her. On the journey, accompanied by a large group of Sisters, the mystery of the past is slowly revealed and Glyndon and Kayl’s relationship develops. We also see Kayl’s children mature and find their place in the band. Eventually they face the evil within the Tower and battle the Magic Seekers to try to keep them from stealing the crystal and its power for themselves.
This is a solid story with well written characters set in an interesting world peppered with non human magical races. It’s not a ‘can’t put it down’ kind of book, but it moves at a steady pace from one plot point to another as we unravel the mystery of what really did happen fifteen years ago. The strength of this book is in Kayl’s inner journey and in her relationship with those around her, particularly her children and Glyndon.
The romantic element is very understated and I would like to have seen more made of it, other than that I was quite satisfied with the story. I give it 3.5 stars.
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