I would like to begin by saying that I really do love this series and this author. I was so excited for this final book to be released because I felt like it was wrapping up two stories set in this world (Trylle series) that I have read and lived through.
**WARNING: THE REST OF THE ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS**
(But don't worry, I won't reveal too much for those wanting to read it still)
In this installment, Bryn Aven (the nineteen-year-old protagonist Kanin/Skojare troll) is fighting for the safety of the Kanin, even though they have branded her as a traitor. As a reader, I like that she has her priorities straight and is true to her heart on these aspects. She isn't trying to clear her name, she's trying to save the Kanin people and I think that is super noble.
It starts off where the last book left off with Bryn having no clue where to start, what do to, or where to go, but Konstantin Black (the man who tried to kill Bryn's father, but before that Bryn had a "superstar" kind of crush on him) shows up and proposes that the two join sides. Allegedly he has disbanded from the enemy and is on the run for his life - much like Bryn is doing. With no other choice, the two embark on this journey together. At this point, I am wondering about Ridley (Bryn's possible boyfriend) and kind of excited for the weird twist with Bryn spending so much time with her sworn enemy. I also like how believable their relationship is. Not once does Hocking make it sound like Bryn easily accepted being so close to Black. Bryn always has her suspicions, which I like.
The story continues on with Bryn and Black seeking out help from tribes like the Omte, which doesn't go over well, and then the Trylle, which I was so excited about. Hocking brings us back into the world from the Trylle series and it kind of felt like there was a secret in those scenes that only those who read her Trylle series could grasp. So for someone who read both series, I really liked bringing them back into focus, but she didn't make it feel like mentioning the Trylle would confuse any new readers, or readers who have yet to read that series.
Something that Amanda Hocking does really well is believability, whether she means to or not, and especially in this series. The protagonist is one that people can relate to and she makes decisions that are relatable. When Bryn goes and sees the Trylle king and queen, Queen Wendy doesn't automatically offer amnesty or offer to help or anything, like I've seen done in some novels. No, Wendy waits and weighs the situation like any queen would. I think the fact that this book has relatable and believable characters in it is what draws in readers into Hocking's world.
Now, I can't say too much more without giving a lot of the story away, and I don't want to give it away. I want you to read it and then read her other stuff because you read this and loved it. But I can say how I felt about Crystal Kingdom overall to wrap up this review. This book had me reading start to finish in one sitting. I didn't want it to end because that would mean ending the series, but I did want to know how it ended and get to that point at the same time. If you've been following the whole series, then you're going to love this one. However, you are going to have a love/hate relationship with the end of it. There were parts that I was like, "No! Amanda! Why?" in a very whiny drawn out voice because I just didn't want what happened to happen, but there were parts where I was very happy with the end of this book. I especially liked the very end of it where she focused on the right thing. Most authors would focus on the romantic aspect and the happily ever after, and while Hocking did touch on it, she also was giving the attention to the bigger picture, much like how Bryn Aven was the entire series. Bryn didn't focus in on the romance - in fact, she could have done away with it had she not fallen for Ridley. She did worry about the people around her and their wellbeing. Hocking wraps up that side for us readers nicely and I'm very sad that the Kanin Chronicles have come to an end.
Since I can't really recommend just this book out to readers who have yet to read the series, I'm going to recommend that everyone read this series. Bryn Aven is a protagonist you can root for, and the plot is is one that will have you on the edge of your seat up until the whee hours of the morning finishing the entire series in one sitting and not even realizing it.
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