Crystals of Empire Trilogy

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
873 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

Crystals of Empire Trilogy by M. Poyhonen is a compilation of three fantasy fiction novels in a single volume and includes Kazi Boku, Crystals of Power, and Angus Town. Kazi Boku, the son of farmers, is a young boy in a duchy called Vissing. It is a communal living. Kazi is well-liked and has a very dear friend named Tsian Zin that he spends his free time with. An attack by a bear on retired soldier and intellect Jabar's pigs sets off the catalyst for the overriding arc when one tragedy gives way to a reader's understanding of the fantasy elements of the novel. In particular, Tyrus Hammersvold, the High Priest of the Temple of Kaal, and the lengths he is willing to go to retake Vissing. This is the first of many tragedies as Kazi navigates the path he is destined for. It is laden with love, loss, hardship, healing, a wide world of different races and species with their own religious and cultural designs, and crystals that can do far more good than what Tyrus uses them for.

There is a ton of trust that a reader puts into an author when they embark on a new fantasy series. New realms and regions, social and political structures, the order of magic, and even some new languages. I admit that it took a hot minute for me to get into Crystals of the Empire Trilogy but not for lack of any clarity on the aforementioned, but because it has been a long, long time since I have read a novel like this that is written as literary fiction. The prose absolutely sings. Kazi Boku is a likable, imperfectly perfect protagonist. He's not afraid of hard, honest work and because he does not come from a place of corruption he is almost immune to it, and the disparity between the life he once knew and the lives of those he interacts with, and their motives, are magnified. Tsian Zin is equally well crafted as a companion and one of the best parts of M. Poyhonen's writing is that he does not leave any loose ends untied. A coming-of-age adventure of massive consequence comes full circle almost to the point where it began. “...Kazi still remembered and felt lucky to have practiced those games involving stealth, perception, and perseverance. This excursion, however, was the first time Kazi felt keenly aware he lived in the place of the hunted.” Very highly recommended.

Trevor Otieno

The series’ protagonist, Kazi Boku, the son of Dennon and Emma, was raised simply and initially has plain desires. Kazi Boku is a real, fully realized character with everyday aspirations. Although he is resolute and dedicated to overcoming obstacles and leading a somewhat normal existence, life has other plans for him. Conversely, villains such as Tyrus Hammersvold are shrewd and are working on different strategies. Tyrus manipulates genetic material to create monsters that he plans to employ to exterminate settlers in the Vissing wilderness. He uses also gems that can heal and prolong life to influence his flock. To their dismay, Kazi unexpectedly scuppers the villainous schemes. To learn firsthand what transpires in The Crystals of Empire Trilogy by M. Poyhonen, grab a copy of the book.

Crystals of Empire Trilogy is a complex fantasy story with an engaging plot. The pieces of the puzzle come together gradually. I was drawn in by the relatable environment with mythological overtones and sympathetic character interaction that was creatively and thoughtfully presented from the beginning. Kazi, who seemed to be a real, kind, and charming person who didn’t desire power, used what he had to save the people he loved despite facing enormous hurdles. M. Poyhonen creates a compelling universe through the building of details, adding credibility. I would recommend this trilogy to fantasy readers and can’t wait for the author to release more novels of such a high caliber.

Asher Syed

The fantasy novels Kazi Boku, Crystals of Power, and Angus Town all come together in M. Poyhonen's epic Crystals of Empire Trilogy. The protagonist across the trilogy is Kazi Boku who is originally from Vissing, a duchy overrun by the antagonist, the High Priest of the Temple Kaal, Tyrus Hammersvold. Tyrus is in possession of rare crystals with life-lengthening and healing powers and has the know-how to create and modify animals to assert a claim on people and property. Kazi's first encounter with Tyrus is when a friend, Tsian Zin, is mauled by one of Tyrus' bears, and Tsian's father is killed. When Tyrus strikes again, Kazi travels to Barta where the conclave leader and worshippers of Dun fare better spiritually but, amidst love and enlightenment, Kazi once more sees the devastation of Tyrus' vengeance. All of this and more are part of Kazi's destiny as the fight against chaos foreshadowed by the Cosmos comes to a head.

The best part of the Crystals of Empire Trilogy is the characters author M. Poyhonen has written and the fully developed space they occupy. There are variations of ethnic orders within Poyhonen's deftly built world and like it is in all good fantasy fiction, there is a common foe whose power not everyone understands and the risk they take by helping Kazi stands between one of two outcomes: harmony and free-living, or crushing evil subjugating all. Kazi's growth is organic and he takes a piece of every encounter with him. The trilogy is a journey that readers of epic fantasy will find comfortable. Crystals in fantasy are also not new although how someone or something like Tyrus is able to take something that is inherently good and make it bad is an interesting twist and a good plot driver in the story. My favorite character is Tyrus' lover and, while I know this is a weird individual to appreciate the most, she is the most Machiavellian while she is present. She's also just a totally brilliantly bad femme. Readers will need a modicum of patience at the trilogy's start but will find the slow layering pays off three-fold.

K.C. Finn

Crystals of Empire Trilogy is a collection of fiction books in the epic fantasy subgenre. They are suitable for the general reading audience and were penned by author M. Poyhonen. The story follows the intertwined fates of Kazi and Tyrus as they battle for the future of their people. When Tyrus creates powerful crystals that could be the salvation of them all, he instead uses the technology to produce new life, which leads to upheaval for the farmers of the Vissing wilds. Kazi finds himself cast as Tyrus’s enemy when he stumbles across crystals that Tyrus wants back, and so begins a saga of power and survival.

This is a sweeping saga about power and the dangerous things that people choose to do with it, with an adversarial relationship so intense and filled with such importance that its existence is written in the stars themselves. Author M. Poyhonen has an incredible gift for prose that is used from the first page to paint the stunning fantasy backdrop against which the saga unfolds. I was instantly drawn into the world of Vissing by the gorgeous descriptive writing which made it feel like a real place I could visit. Kazi Boku is an excellent realized protagonist, a classic hero who answers the call to action out of duty and finds himself developing in a very natural way as the narrative unfolds. I was always excited to see where the Crystals of Empire Trilogy would take Kazi and his allies next, and in chapter after chapter the book never fell short of my expectations. Overall, it is a highly recommended read.

Rabia Tanveer

Crystals of Empire Trilogy by M. Poyhonen comprises the first three novels in the series. Featuring Kazi Boku, Crystals of Power, and Angus Town, the collection tells the tale of Kazi Boku as he rebuilds his life and fights against the tyrannical Tyrus Hammersvold. Creating crystals with the power to heal and cure, Tyrus used his creation to coerce and manipulate to get people on his side. Wanting world domination, Tyrus was not counting on Kazi Boku to fight back. When Kazi comes into possession of some of Tyrus’s crystals, Tyrus knew he had to take Kazi out once and for all. With Kazi Boku believing something was wrong, he was ready to do whatever it took to rebuild a community away from the influence of the Temple of Kaal. Can they stay safe from the wrath of Tyrus and his terrible army, or will they fall like a house of cards?

Thrilling and full of action, the three novels were far more entertaining than I expected. Epic fantasies are sometimes too far-fetched to be enjoyable, but author M. Poyhonen did a great job with worldbuilding and character development. The concept of crystals with the power to change, morph, and enhance a person is fantastic and very well executed. I love how mad yet powerful Tyrus is. He is cunning, intelligent, and very convincing. Kazi Boku understands his predicament and has an almost clinical approach. His development is fantastic and very cohesive. He grew and changed with his circumstances. I love how he gave himself some breathing room, gave himself some power over his future, and then made the right decisions. The pace is perfect, the story is filled with thrilling twists and turns, and there is never a dull moment in the trilogy. I highly recommend Crystals of Empire Trilogy!