THE CRYSTAL RUN
Most adults have stories of trying to avoid school bullies at some point. Maybe you walked a longer way home, maybe you waited an extra half hour before leaving the playground, or maybe you ran down an alleyway, jumped over a wall and ended up in a strange fantasy land where children are being trained and tested for a dangerous quest. No?
This is what happens to Joe, who wakes up in the country of Carcassia after crashing through a strange shimmering wall. He soon befriends Kaia, a Runner who must leave her home and travel through the enemy land of Kanabia in order to replenish the power sources of the shield which protects Carcassia, and they travel together as he attempts to find his own way home.
Paper-thin characters, clunky dialogue and an overly descriptive, ultra-slow introduction to the book’s worlds do not give The Crystal Run the best of starts. As the story moves on there are signs the novel will redeem itself as the plot finally starts to engage, and there are intriguing hints that all is not what it seems within Kanabia. However an abrupt, confusing ending undoes the good work of the second half and will leave you with an overwhelming feeling of “huh?”. Avoid. Rhian Drinkwater
Sheila O’Flanagan is a bestselling author of 20 (non-genre) adult novels, but this is her first one for children.