Aug 7, 2015

CRYSTAL KINGDOM BLOG TOUR: ARC Review--Crystal Kingdom by Amanda Hocking +CONTEST!

Bryn must decide: follow her head or her heart.

Thrown into a world of suspense and intrigue, Bryn 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?

I receive this eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, I was in no way compensated for this review.

It's been months since I read the first two books in Amanda Hocking's Kanin Chronicles, so naturally, I wasn't quite prepared for Crystal Kingdom! So much had happened already and I could barely remember what happened. When we start off, we pick up where we left off, so that already made it hard for me to regroup. And sadly, there wasn't enough of a recap right away, to get my mind remembering, though as the story progresses, we get slow, little tidbits of what has already come to pass.

Bryn is on the run, of sorts. She's being framed for crimes she didn't commit and at her side is Konstantin. The man who was once her more fiercest enemy, is now her greatest ally. I felt from the beginning of the trilogy that Konstantin wasn't who we were led to believe, and that has proved correct over the course of the series. I really enjoy his character! He's a bit snarky and he's an incredible fighter! He's a good ally to have.

Queen Mina is the enemy now. She is placing all the blame on Bryn and now it's time for Bryn to fight back. She and Konstantin work to gather more allies so they can bring peace to the Kanin. But it's not going to be an easy journey. Lives will be lost and pain will be had by all.

I was quite shocked by how much death occurred in this one! Another early review did give me the heads up and I pretty much immediately predicted the death of a particular character and I was right! I hate being right. LOL! It's always hard watching characters you learn to love die in battle. Harry Potter anyone? Though the connections here weren't as fierce as that 7 book saga, it was still tough to see and endure.

Pacing wise, the book was pretty good. Not overly fast, but not feet dragging slow either. The middle balance. It was definitely well thought out, though a few fight scenes I thought weren't necessary. As they proved to just happen before a bigger fight scene. It kind of stunted the flow of the pace because you know the big fights were up ahead.

Romance wise, there wasn't much. Bryn and Ridley are separated for half of the book. And then when they do finally get together again, Ridley is distant. Though we learn of reasons why. So the little shared moments that they both had, after they worked through most of their issues, were heart-warming enough. I do enjoy these two together! But just kind of wished, they had more happy times in this one. Being the finale does leave you to wonder what will happened between them next. The future is unclear, but I guess we can always assume that the ones left standing, lived happily ever after!

Crystal Kingdom was a well written novel! I really liked it and may only have had a few minor issues with it. None that can really be described better than I just did in this review. I will more than likely continue reading Amanda's books as they release! I still have another one of her older titles on my kindle that I'd like to read as well. She's definitely an author to keep your eye on, especially if you like fantasy, and I do!

Overall Rating 4/5 stars

Crystal Kingdom releases August 4, 2015

And here's an exclusive excerpt from Crystal Kingdom:

Bryn— May 13, 2014 

I’m not totally sure why I’m even writing this. I don’t know how you’ll get it, and if you do get it, I don’t know if you’ll even care. Hell, it might even be treason trying to talk to you. But I can’t help it. It just feels strange not being able to talk to you about everything—especially with everything that’s going on. 

I just realized that I don’t know if I’ll ever see you again. I want to believe that I will, but the whole world feels like it’s been turned upside down.

Kasper’s funeral was yesterday. I kept expecting to turn around and see you there, coming in late, but you never did.

I don’t know where to start with the funeral. Tilda has been trying so hard to hold it all together. I don’t know how she’s done as well as she has. It was almost creepy being around her. She was like a statue. She hardly ever cried. She’d just talk about the practical things that needed to be done. 

Yesterday, she finally broke down. It was the first time she’d seen Kasper since he died. All fixed up in his Hög- dragen uniform, lying motionless in the coffin. The first thing she said when she saw him was, “He’d be so upset about his hair. It’s not quite perfect.”

And then she started sobbing uncontrollably. She basically collapsed, so her sister and I practically had to carry her back to her seat. To see Tilda like that . . . 

The most heartbreaking part was probably Kasper’s little sister Naima. She just cried and cried, and her mom kept trying to comfort her. But it’s all so surreal and insane. There’s no comfort in that. 

The King and Queen came to give a eulogy, and it was all so bizarre. The King seemed so out of place. He kept sweating, and his face was all red, like he had a terrible windburn. The Queen kept doting on Tilda, almost push- ing Tilda’s own mother out of the way so the Queen could be the one to comfort her. When the King went up to give his speech, he mentioned a few things about Kasper—how great he was, how he died protecting his kingdom, and other generalities.

But it all seemed memorized, and he stumbled over the words a lot. Right after that, the King switched into this war propaganda speech. It was so gross and tactless. He started going on and on about how we can’t let Viktor Dålig do this to our people, and we can’t trust anyone because Viktor can get to anyone.

Then he started saying that they would stop at nothing until you were captured, and that’s when Tilda stood up and said that she didn’t think that this was the time or place to discuss these things.

The King finally shut up after that, but I’m almost sur- prised he let her talk back. He’s cracked down on everything since you’ve been gone. It reminds me of that book I had to read for an English class at a human school when I was tracking a changeling. 1984, I think. Everywhere you go, the King is watching, and he won’t let you forget it.

There are even posters hanging up all around town say- ing just that. It’s this weird black and white image of his face, but somehow his eyes are always following you, and it’s super disturbing. Above it says, “THE KING IS WATCHING,” and below it says, “TRAITORS OF THE KINGDOM WILL BE CAPTURED,” with the Kanin symbol stamped over it.

Members of the Högdragen were going around tacking up all these posters—some of them are WANTED ones for you (you made the Kanin’s Most Wanted list, that has to be kind of exciting, right?).

I wanted to tear them all down, but I didn’t think now was the best time to deal with the wrath of the King. There was this freak rainstorm yesterday anyway, and most of them are all destroyed and hanging in tatters. But my mom said she saw Högdragen replacing them already today.

There are Högdragen everywhere, and they’ll stop you for no reason and demand to know where you’re going and what you plan to do there. The guards have even grabbed random people off the street to bring in them in for questioning.

They brought your parents in, too, but I suppose that’s not random. Your father has been put on suspension from his job as the Chancellor, and your mother was fired from her job as a teacher. Your mother’s job wasn’t a direct order from the King, though. People in town started complaining that they couldn’t trust her with their children, given what happened with you.

At least your parents are free, though, and that’s more than I can say for Ridley. They brought him in for an “interrogation” the day after you left, and he hasn’t come out since. I’ve tried to ask about him, but nobody knows what’s happening.

They would tell us if they executed him . . . wouldn’t they? Another tracker was talking about how they used to have public executions of traitors in the town square. I think that’s what they’d do, if they decided to hang Ridley. So he must still be alive.

Östen Sundt has been promoted to working as the “acting” Överste, but they haven’t given him the official title yet, so I’m hoping that’s a good sign and it means that Ridley still has a chance to return to his position. To be truthful, though, I don’t think anything is a good sign anymore.

I’m just keeping my head down, training and doing what they tell me. I visit Tilda most nights, because I’m afraid to leave her sitting alone in her apartment. I’ve tried to sneak around to see Delilah. We only just officially became an item, and both of us are getting nervous about what would happen if we got caught. At least I still get to see her training.

The King and Queen have such a stranglehold on Doldastam now. It’s like they want to crush us before Viktor gets a chance to. I guess the King thinks that if he couldn’t trust you, he can’t trust anybody, and there is some truth to that. Except I know that he could trust you.

I know you didn’t do the things they said you did, but I wish I knew what happened. What did you do? And why did you do it? 

Will I ever see you again?

I know you can’t answer these questions, at least not like this. But I do feel better talking to you, even if you can’t hear me. And hopefully someday, you’ll be able to read this. 

Your friend (no matter what), Ember 


ONE lucky US or CANADIAN reader will receive a copy of Crystal Kingdom from the publisher!! All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment on this review. Or tell me if you've read any of Amanda Hocking's books before! Which ones? And PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS in your comment! It makes it easier to notify you when you're the winner! ;)


  1. I haven't read this series but I think I'll add them to my TBR. And ohh the covers are eye catching!

  2. I haven't read any of her books, yet, but I have two of her Tryelle books and Frostfire on my shelves to read :)

  3. I've read Switched, Torn and Ascend and really enjoyed them. I introduced my daughter to them also and they remain on my keeper shelves. I haven't had the chance to start this series yet but I have them on my wish list.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  4. I love the US covers. The ones here in Australia are nice but not as intense. I have all three books but have only read the first so far. It's on my list to finish the series soon. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.


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