|Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Sadly the third in the Benedict Brothers series has weaker character development and can't live up to the excellent first two. Still worth a look if you enjoyed Finding Sky and Stealing Phoenix, though.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: October 2012|
|Publisher: OUP Oxford|
|External links: Author's website|
Crystal Brook has always struggled with her paranormal gifts, but meeting the Benedict brothers makes things even worse. While her sister Diamond finds her soulfinder in Trace, Crystal can't stand his conceited brother Xav. After an unforeseen attack, though, the unlikely pairing will have to pool their resources to save their families.
Regular readers of my reviews may remember that Joss Stirling's first two books about the Benedicts, a family of Savants, were two of my favourite paranormal books of the past few years. Despite being less keen on the genre than I once was, I was thrilled to get my hands on book three. Sadly, I feel rather let down – I don't think it's up to Stirling's normal high standards. Part of the problem is that the characters aren't as well-portrayed as in the previous two. Crystal starts the book as a bratty teenager who is hard to like, and then becomes a resourceful young lady who's playing a huge part in the rescue attempt in virtually the blink of an eye. This is partly necessary because so many normally intelligent people, including Xav Benedict, a really good character in previous books, appear to be acting stupidly. I've given Stirling a pass on the insta-love in previous books because I think the soulfinder concept is a good way of explaining it, but the insta-character development is a stretch too far for me.
In fairness, my disappointment at these things are probably making this review sound rather more negative than it would have done if the book wasn't in a series I enjoy so much. There are some strong points here – while I disliked the way some people seemed to be acting completely out of character in some of the action scenes there's no question that it's genuinely exciting, with high stakes and some great set pieces. I also really liked supporting characters Steve Hughes, a Hollywood star and Lily George, a costume designer working with him, who both get involved with the Benedicts and Crystal. As usual, Stirling's writing style is easy to read and it's pacy enough that I got through it quickly despite it not holding my attention as much as the first two.
So, not a bad book by any means but for me, the weakest of the three. I'd still like to read more about the Benedicts, though – I hope there's a fourth book and that Stirling is back on form for it.
One paranormal romance series which is definitely still holding my attention is the Caster Chronicles, which starts with Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
You can read more book reviews or buy Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Seeking Crystal by Joss Stirling at Amazon.com.
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