The Kingdom of Riland survived the first thrusts of war against it. The King of the Graven Kingdom and Baron Stoutheart of their own kingdom failed in their attempt to take over and left Riland hard pressed for what may come. Gavin, the Baron’s son, did what he had to do to save his people, which meant breaking the Accords of the Crystal Kingdoms.

That’s where John M. Olsen led us by the end of the first book of the Riland Throne series, Crystal King (link to review). Now, the author leads us forward with Crystal Queen.

Plot

Princess Lilia Talendor is to marry Gavin to unite the kingdoms of Graven and Riland. At least that’s what the treaty drafted at the end of the two kingdom’s conflict sets forth. Her father Ithan, the defeated king, has his own plans. He is not alone in his workings. Lilia’s mother, Queen Belinda, also has her plans based on the treaty and other information she has been gathering through her own sources.

And, we all know that the best laid plans never go as expected. We must reassess what to do. Incorporate the new information and create new plans.

Olsen continues his adventure of the Crystal Kingdoms by giving more insight into the northern kingdom, Graven. The main part of the story is about Lilia Talendor and how she meets Gavin. Of course it is clear from the beginning she is expected to become the Queen of Riland. This is the story of how she gets there, physically and mentally.

The characters from Crystal King, continue on their journeys as well in Crystal Queen. This is not just the story of one person’s adventure, but the growth of the king, Gavin, and the rest of the people he brought along on his journey to the throne of the Kingdom of Riland.

As with the first book, at the end we learn more about the greater world and the forces watching and directing events. This provides with foreshadowing of future events for the Crystal Kingdoms and how it will impact the Riland Throne.

Characters

Crystal Queen has strong, relateable characters. Where Crystal King is Gavin’s coming of age story, Crystal Queen is Lilia’s. Their world is different than ours with different challenges, however, we all must learn what it means to become an adult.

Beloved characters from Crystal King are present. Each continues facing their own struggles to become better people. New characters are introduced into the fray of the growing struggles of the kingdoms as they deal with their own internal challenges.

Style

Crystal Queen continues in the same manner as book one of the Riland Throne series. The language is easy to follow and there is nothing inappropriate for younger readers. Crystal Queen can be read on its own or shared in a group reading.

Olsen does a great job of reflecting life struggles with his characters. The characters are relatable. We might not be facing the same struggles, hopefully not, but we can relate to facing and overcoming adversities to show those around us we are ready to be a part of the adult world.

Theme

Crystal Queen is about becoming better people. Rising above expectations to become something greater than what we even know about ourselves. There might be a certain honor in doing what is expected, but, there is also another level of honor in going beyond the expectations to achieve something better. When that is accomplished there are unexpected rewards.

A person’s past doesn’t have to dictate their future. No one knowns the true past of another, and Gavin maintains a belief that every person should be given a chance to become better. Because of the way he shows respect to others they usually rise to the situation in an honorable way. Gavin’s is a story of not just trusting other people, but also accepting others for who they are, even when his hopes for them are not achieved.

Overall

Crystal Queen is a feel good book about becoming better people on a personal and societal level. The book is about growing from a past of expected conflict and having a drive for power and control, to a state of acceptance and understanding between people.

The story in Crystal Queen flowed better and created an easier read than the first of the series.  I think it is better book.

Crystal Queen is based for older young adult readers. The number of storylines is well maintained and the pace moves the reader steadily through the book.

I give Crystal Queen 4 out 5.

Crystal Queen is published by Immortal Works.

I received a copy of Crystal Queen for review purposes.

About the Author (from the book)

Motivated by his lifelong love of reading, John M. Olsen writes about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and hopes to entertain and inspire others. His father’s library started him on this journey as a teenager, and he now owns and expands that library to pass his passion on to the next generation of avid readers.

He loves to create things, whether writing novels or short stories or working in his secret lab equipped with dangerous power tools. In all cases, he applies engineering principles and processes to the task at hand, often in unpredictable ways. He usually prefers “Renaissance Man” to “Mad Scientist” as a goal and aesthetic.

He lives in Utah with his lovely wife and a variable number of mostly grown children and a constantly changing subset of extended family.

You can join John’s musings at his blog: johnmolsen.blogspot.com.

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Tags: John Olsen , Review , Book , Fantasy , Crystal Queen