Crystal Vision by Larry Rodness

Publisher: Valley of Books

Date of publication: January 9th, 2022

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Purchase Links: Amazon

Goodreads Synopsis:

Scotland, 1342. The Great Plague ravages the countryside. In its wake the body of a beautiful, young noble is laid to rest on a funeral pyre. Her fiancé begs a sorcerer to use his magic to summon a demon and bring the young woman back to life in exchange for his own.
Fast Forward to:
America, Present. Fourteen year old Jeremy McKee attends a fantasy workshop which is run by a young woman named Ariella. One afternoon, an old vagrant on the street offers Jeremy a small crystal which produces visions of a young woman resurrected from death hundreds of years ago. Slowly, the truth begins to reveal itself. The woman in the vision and the one running the workshop are one in the same. The vagrant is the sorcerer, Armand. He explains that Jeremy’s ancestor, D’Arcy, offered his soul for the life of his betrothed but reneged at the last minute. Now the demon has returned for payment and is prepared to unleash the Black Plague if he doesn’t get what he he is owed
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First Line:

The sound of slow-beating drums echoed through the hills as it moved solemly toward the Stones, a curious outcropping of twenty monoliths, jutting twenty feet into the sky.

crystal vision by larry rodness

Young Adult fantasy has been a hit-or-miss genre for me in the past, but lately, I seem to have been hitting a gold mine with this genre. Crystal Vision is a hit for me. It appealed to the nerd in me (a role-playing fan here), and it was a book that I could see my 14-year-old son reading. So, yes, I am thrilled that I read this book.

Crystal Vision had a fascinating plotline. Jeremy is 14 years old, and he has spent his summer role-playing at a fantasy workshop run by the beautiful Ariella. But, on the last days of his summer vacation, Jeremy’s life is turned upside down when a vagrant named Armand presses a crystal to his forehead, and Jeremy sees a vision with Ariella in it. Armand reveals himself to be a sorcerer and tells Jeremy a story about true love, cowardice, bravery, demons, and immortality. What is Jeremy’s role in that story? Does he have what it takes to do the right thing, even when he doesn’t want to? And can he take on a demon who is determined to get the girl?

Crystal Vision had a medium-paced plotline. It slowed down during certain parts of the book and sped up during other parts. I had no issue with the changing pacing and thought it suited the book perfectly. There was a slight lag in the middle of the book (when Jeremy and his friends were trying to track down the dagger), but it didn’t affect how I liked the book.

I liked how the teenagers were portrayed in Crystal Vision. They acted their ages!! I know that most of you are going, “Well, that’s not special,” but in this case, it is. They didn’t have powers or unlimited resources. They had limitations and were treated like regular kids. Heck, there was even a lice outbreak towards the beginning of the book. I enjoyed it. It made me connect with Jeremy on a level that I wasn’t expecting. The mother in me was internally yelling because of some of his stuff. But the gamer/fantasy love in me was also urging him on.

The fantasy angle of Crystal Vision was well written. I liked that the author chose to omit specific facts from Ariella’s resurrection and then gradually added them into the plotline. Put it this way; I was 100% behind her when she was freaking out on Armand because of what the author chose to reveal. But, when she had her vision, the author showed the missing pieces. I did a huge “AHA” at that.

The adults in this book (minus Armand and Ariella) did disappoint me. Jeremy’s father came across as weak during various parts of the book. Spike (the Overlord) and his gang were cruel and did many unnecessary things to Jeremy and his father during the first half of the book. Jeremy’s mother was petty (to Jeremy’s father). It didn’t ruin the book, though. Instead, the adults were a perfect foil for Jeremy and his friends.

I loved that the author chose to incorporate role-playing games into the plotline. The game the kids were playing reminded me of Dungeon and Dragons. I wish the author had gotten more into the game’s mechanics (it would have come in handy during a specific fight scene), but that was a minor annoyance. I was more thrilled about RP getting shown in a positive light!!

The pandemic angle did rub me the wrong way, but (and I stress but) I liked how the author chose to revive a previous pandemic. So, instead of it being a COVID-like pandemic, it was something else. And actually, it was something that I could see happening under the right circumstances.

The end of Crystal Vision was interesting. The author did wrap everything up in a way that made me happy. I did feel for Jeremy when he realized what had to happen to banish the demon (and I will never look at donkey-eared beings the same way again).

I would recommend Crystal Vision to anyone over 13. There is mild violence, mild language, and no sexual situations.

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