"THE CRYSTAL REALM: Krytor's Return," by C. J. Ballantyne, $18.95, 496 pages (f)
“Krytor’s Return,” an engaging fantasy novel, is the first book in an anticipated Crystal Realm trilogy by Mormon author, C.J. Ballantyne.
Nathan, a 17-year-old without a family, wants to get away from the big city and find meaning in his life. After he travels by Greyhound bus to Brownsville, Texas, he becomes the bearer of a red crystal pendant and must flee for his life.
Nathan “falls through the rabbit hole” via a crystal cave and enters the underground world of Thuromest, where buildings are made of crystal and light comes from a huge crystal sun suspended in a dome-like sky.
Here the Lord God Omnipotent is worshiped, and a revered prophet and high priests rule from a crystal city of light — the Turquoise City.
The crystal he wears is known as the Ruby Key of Knowledge. Its return has been prophesied and foreshadows a final great battle against the evil Krytor and his dominions.
To end Krytor’s power, two other crystals, the Emerald Key of Faith and the Topaz Key of Obedience, must be found and united with the Key of Knowledge.
Faith unlocks the power of the crystal keys, but Nathan doesn’t believe in faith. But faith is required to help save not only Thuromest, but his own world.
The fast-paced, well-told adventure draws the reader in. The author creates a unique world where healing power comes not from fairies or wizards, but from the wise use of light, truth, faith and knowledge. The characters are well-developed, multidimensional beings.
There are allusions to biblical history. Although there is a good bit of blood, gore, violence and death described, the book contains nothing morally offensive. A few typos are scattered throughout this self-published book, but nothing that distracts from the flow of the narrative.
The second book, "The Lost Manuscrits," is scheduled for publication soon. The final volume, "The Ice Shall Flow Down," will follow in 2013.
C.J. Ballantyne lives in upper Australia with his wife, Lise, and works for Charles Darwin University as a lecturer in the school of nursing. He enjoys caving, chess and gemology, Tolkien and anything epic. His website is cjballantyne.com. The book is available in print or Kindle formats on amazon.com.
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.