Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Crystal Portal: A Review

Title: The Crystal Portal
Series: Book #1 (?)
Authors: Travis Perry & Mike Lynch
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Multiple Dimensions
Rating: Craft—1, Content—3,
Overall—2.5 out of 5 stars


 An elf, a robot, and a 1st-century Jewish boy join forces to stop the destruction of a kingdom made of crystal.

 Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Crystal Portal:
Lehkahn’s eyes were half-open in the dreamless sleep of the elves. Dreamless, he nonetheless saw something not there—something part imagination, part memory. His wife stood before him, smiling, holding their infant son.

Something moved in the corner of his right eye. Before his heart’s next beat, he was on his feet, his sword yanked free of its sheath, ready to destroy whatever enemy prowled this place.

“Hold it, hold it,” whispered Char in the common tongue. “It’s just me.”

“Char,” Lehkahn said in a soft voice, sheathing Eleutherotes—called in the Black Rock speech the Liberator. “I didn’t hear you. No son of men has ever approached me before without me hearing him.”

“You were sleep.”

“True. Yet your stealth increases. Well done.”

The Craft: The Crystal Portal is one of those stories that promises so much . . . and fails to live up to expectation.

The unusual combination of characters and worlds set the stage by providing an intriguing premise. The settings built are complex, unique, and vivid. The cast, while not providing an instant connect, are still varied, for the most part, and likeable. There is even a decent plot with potential for plenty of tension.

But all the potential is lost beneath choppy writing and poor scene construction. The opening chapter confused me, not setting clearly (at least for me) which character I was supposed to be interested in. Far too much of the story summarized, told rather than shown. Important events are summarized in narrative. Many of the flashbacks were unnecessary; the plot could have been arranged to show them in sequence and in real time. The scenes shown in real time often are slow, even boring, and far too frequently recapping events already covered. In short, I was jerked around the story and never able to sink into the experience of the events. On top of this, the ending doesn’t satisfy. Rather than concluding, it just . . . stops. More than that, it ended at a time when I felt the story was just starting to gel.

As a result, I walked away disappointed and unsatisfied with my reading experience, truly wishing I could say otherwise.

The Content: The Crystal Portal has some good thematic material about standing against evil, following through with what God has asked of you, and the need for each other. Unfortunately, just like with the great premise, the choppy writing causes these and the other good things this story has to say become lost, impacting the reader very little.

Summary: The Crystal Portal is a story of great potential, both in craft and content. Unfortunately, that potential goes unfulfilled due to poor storytelling.

Rating: Craft—1, Content—3, Overall—2.5 out of 5 stars

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