CRYSTAL BONES by C. Aubrey Hall
C. Aubrey Hall’s debut novel in her Faelin Chronicles is an awesome and engrossing young adult fantasy book. I read it in a couple of sittings, and my son read it in one day during breaks at school (he’s an incredibly fast reader).
The characters, Diello and Cynthe, are thirteen year old twins who are half-human and half-Fae. The book opens up on their birthday, when they’re supposed to come into their wondrous Fae powers. That celebration is put on hold, though, because the family runs a struggling farm and those chores can’t be put off, which bums out both twins. They do manage to get one break when their mom sends them to Lord Malque to deliver a banquet cloth she’s made.
I felt a lot of sympathy for Diello and Cynthe in the beginning when their important birthday doesn’t go as planned, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. That day turns out much worse, and that was when the hook on this read was firmly planted.
Hall progresses into the story, mixing in hints of the Fae culture as well as the day-to-day medieval life, and one bad thing turns into a worse one. As if surviving a goblin attack that burns down their farm isn’t bad enough, the people the twins turn to for help end up making their lives even worse and their continued existence doubtful, as well as taking away their baby sister.
The twins are well drawn, and there is a definite role reversal. Diello is the one with common sense, while Cynthe is the hothead. She’s more athletic than her brother, too. Yet together they make a good team.
The magic in this book is subdued, just touches rather than a major force. Even so, I was surprised when the two cross paths with a talking wolf that gives her life to protect them, then hints at the dark secrets their parents have hidden all their lives.
Although the first book doesn’t cover much physical territory, I get the feeling there is a whole, wide world awaiting in the next book, and I can’t wait to read it. The foundations of a lot of mysteries are laid in this novel, and there are several cliffhangers as well. Readers looking for an absorbing and gripping fantasy read for will be in good hands with Crystal Bones.