The Crystal Key

Fiction - Fantasy - General
604 Pages
Reviewed on 02/14/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

T. L. Howard has been fascinated with the “what-ifs” all her life, sometimes to the point of distraction. She is now well into adulthood and still can't stop asking that question. She was born and educated in the state of Nebraska and currently resides there where she is employed at the university. The Crystal Key is her first novel and her first venture into the realm of fantasy. When not writing, which is seldom as evidenced by her bad housekeeping, she enjoys needlework, walking, and a good movie.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Marissa Tapia for Readers' Favorite

The Crystal Key by T.L. Howard is a captivating story about a young girl named Mirah, whose life was disrupted by a man named Rasmun, a man searching for the girl with the crystal key that will help his Lord come into power. Though he initially failed, Rasmun is determined to get his hands on Mirah. Many years later, after the death of her mother, Mirah is suddenly forced out of her familiar life to spend several months on the road with three knights. Though none of them know Mirah's importance, this much is certain - she's in danger.

T.L. Howard kept me captivated throughout the whole story. The plot was interesting and very different from other books in this genre. The characters, especially Mirah and Roenin, were interesting. Their constant fighting throughout their travels kept their journey somewhat lighthearted, despite the fact Mirah was being targeted repeatedly by Rasmun. Watching the characters grow as people and build new relationships helped with the overall plot. Each character was well thought out and had an in-depth angle to their backgrounds. I don't like books with flat, unrelatable characters, so being able to put yourself in the story is important to me. This book made it easy to do so.

The reader can identify with the personal struggles of the characters, such as being being forced to have something familiar taken away from you and having a huge responsibility placed on your shoulders. The book had some humor, romance, action and suspense, making it interesting for almost anyone. I would reread this book many times over.

Melinda Hills

In a very realistic world, a rustic shopkeeper proves to be the key to the salvation of humanity as she is saved from the evil High Priest of the Dark Lord Belamon in The Crystal Key by T.L. Howard. Mirah, who grew up without knowledge of her special connection to the Lady Deceris, Goddess of Light, finds herself in a race to escape to the High Temple and the Archprelate to learn her role as the Chosen in the hope of restoring peace and order to the world. With the help of Temple Knights and the power of the crystal amulet passed to her through generation after generation, Mirah travels far and wide. She must appear at the ancient site of the creation of humanity where she will join Rasmun, the Chosen of the Dark Lord, for the ritual of the Sacred Choosing that will determine the direction of humanity for the next 1,000 years. Will there be peace and plenty or will life as it is known be destroyed?

In a wonderfully written epic tale of the quest for power and the search for peace, T.L. Howard provides plenty of excitement, anguish, hope, and action. The Crystal Key is a truly engaging story that shares deep insights into the struggle between good and evil and devotion to a higher power. It is a story filled with love, but also offers the contrast of greed and materialistic pursuits as the main characters pursue their destiny against frightening odds and evil spells. All the descriptions of the people, places, and the history of this fantasy world are deep and rich, making the story vital and engaging, and encouraging the turning of pages non-stop.

Mamta Madhavan

T.L. Howard's The Crystal Key takes readers into a realm of knights, swords, amulets, adventure, intrigue and fantasy. Rasmun, Healer to the Knights of Deceris has just discovered an amulet bearing a holy symbol. Rasmun feels the anger and hatred inside him being replaced by feelings of hope. It is his job to end the oppression in the universe after coming into contact with the amulet. Rasmun's journey takes him to Mirah. She is a young girl who wears a harmless crystal (or so it seems) around her neck. She finds herself riding on a lonely path with a group of knights. She holds the pendant and starts praying for the knights. What happens next is a series of adventures that will take readers on a ride of fantasy and whimsy.

The story takes you on a journey where readers are met with a lot of fantasy and adventure. Adventure and fantasy stories always expose the imaginative and creative side of the writer. This book does the same. The author has created some great characters and adventurous moments that will keep readers hooked on the story. The main characters of Mirah and Rasmun are developed powerfully as the plot progresses. The other characters in the story are equally compelling.

The story takes you on an intriguing trip of adventure and fantasy. The style of writing is effective and the author manages to keep up the pace of the story so that it holds readers' attention till the very end.

Michelle Randall

Do we believe in tolerance or is it one way or no way? In The Crystal Key, we travel to a fantasy world created by brother and sister Gods, but at the moment one rules and the other is completely left out. The time for choosing which one will rule has come and only those high in the temple even know it is real, not just a myth. This book follows Rasmun as he tries to become the Chosen for the brother God and the path his journey takes him on to the Choosing. We also follow Mirah, a young girl, as she makes her journey to the Choosing, learning and coming to terms with being the Chosen. All through these two tales, T.L. Howard weaves a story of true faith and what happens when power and greed get in the way of faith.

Of course, neither Chosen one could journey on their own, so you have to meet a whole cast of characters for each set of travels. T.L. Howard writes in such a way that it almost looks, in my mind, to be a medieval 'knights and castles' kind of setting. You easily come to know who to root for and who is a traitor. It's so easy to like the people, wishing they were real. The Crystal Key is a long book, about on a par with a Harry Potter book, but it really didn't take that long to read, and it kept me going to the end. Teens and adults alike will enjoy this story and it's strictly G-rated too! Even a better plus for the book.

Lit Amri

As a Healer to the Academy for the Knights of Deceris, Rasmun is tired of tending injured students who he deems as arrogant delinquents backed by a governing system that favors the nobles. His fate changed when he found the Holy Amulet that belongs to Lord Belamon during a long walk. Appointed as Belamon’s High Priest, Rasmun’s first assignment is to seek out the Chosen of Deceris, a woman who possesses the key that will release Belamon from a forced exile. Diosk, a knight, joins him in his venture, and their journey soon leads them to Mirah, a girl who inherited an amber crystal from her late mother. Two knights, Roenin and Alyen, are ordered to escort her back to Novedos to protect her from Rasmun. With their journey threatened several times by the heretic Healer, Mirah is about to discover what she can do with her amulet. The Crystal Key is a high fantasy novel by T.L. Howard.

Upon reading The Crystal Key, I immediately liked the sharp dialogue – an authentic period dialogue that is transparent enough to get the characters’ voices across while keeping the plot flawlessly moving forward. The setting is excellent, boosted by detailed but non-tangential descriptions. As a character, Rasmun’s persona is akin to a snake; a very well-written antagonist. That being said, good and evil is not entirely black and white in this story. As for the protagonists, I do enjoy Mirah’s arguments with Roenin during their journey. Samone, a Knight Practitioner, is my favorite character, due to her cheerful but firm traits. Knights, magical amulets, spells, and much more – simply put, T.L. Howard’s epic fantasy novel is everything that fans of the genre would love.