Crystal Line

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cystalline.jpg

Anne McCaffrey

GENRES:
Sci-Fi, Fantasy

SUMMARY:
Killashandra and her partner Lars Dahl have been cutting crystal for decades, and they are the elite power couple of their guild, responsible for ensuring crystal supply throughout the galaxy. Their most recent assignment is to investigate a mysterious opalescent formation on an alien moon.

Unfortunately, despite their deep bond and their skill, Lars and Killa drift apart due to tragic events and Killa's increasingly erratic behaviour and memory loss, a costly consequence of cutting crystal for a long time. The secret to Killashandra's survival is utlimately linked to the alien formation.

RESPONSE:
This was a fitting end to McCaffrey's trilogy, with Killashandra and her career reaching both their high and low points. In this story, Killa's glory days have come and gone, and she is slowly succumbing to the madness associated with crystal cutting. As such, she is often even less likable than she was in the first book. However, this just adds to the complexity of McCaffrey's characterisation, one of the author's strengths.

One of the main differences between this book and its predecessors is the scale of time. Whereas the other stories covered a few years at most, Crystal Line spans decades. This makes some of the plot developments seem quite abrupt simply because the reader can't help but compare this story with the previous two.

I particularly liked the inclusion of the Brain Ships, one of the more popular and engaging creations from McCaffrey's Ship Who Sang series. But if that was the high point of this novel, perhaps it would be better just to read the other series!

The only part of this novel I didn't like was the plot thread involving the alien opalescent formation, called Jewel Junk. The novel opened with this story line, abandoned all mention of it for the majority of the book, and then returned to it in a fairly odd and forced way. It just never seemed to come together in a coherent story.

POINT BLANK:
A fitting end to an entertaining series