Thursday, October 11, 2018

THE CRYSTAL TREE by Imogen Elvis // Five Stars

Note: I was given a digital review copy of THE CRYSTAL TREE by the author.

First things first, I am so late in getting this review up. Even though I haven’t marked it on Goodreads yet (I am also way behind on updating my Goodreads), I finished reading THE CRYSTAL TREE, by Imogen Elvis, more than a month ago. I’ve been in the process of moving for the past several months, but now that I have the chance to sit and catch my breath, it’s time to take care of everything I’ve been neglecting.

Imogen Elvis is a great person. I feel like I can’t launch into a review of her book without first talking about her. Normally, I know, book reviews shouldn’t be personal. At least, that’s a rule I try to follow, but it’s more for when I’m writing a one star review, in order to keep myself from saying something mean. This is totally different. I like Imogen a whole lot. If you haven’t read her blog yet, you should do that. She is always sweet and kind, and though she hasn't posted in a while, all her old content is great. She’s one of the people who makes the blogging community feel less like a sterile nothingness, a place where you scream into the void, and more like a home, where people listen. So when I saw that she wanted reviewers for her novel, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

One of the first things I noticed about THE CRYSTAL TREE is that it has a similar feel to the Great Tree of Avalon books by T. A. Barron that I read growing up (I guess they’re now just known as the Merlin series). It made me nostalgic and cozy, like I was diving back into the safest parts of my childhood. Maybe I’m weird, but any book that makes me want to reread my favorite books is a good book.

I think one of the issues I have with knowing an author to any degree is that I see them as more immediately human, which means I expect them to be nicer to their characters. It’s kind of like, but I knew that serial killer, he was a great guy—how could he be a serial killer? Not going to lie, Imogen definitely surprised me here. She doesn’t pull her punches (not that I’m complaining, except WHY IMOGEN, WHY? You know what you did). So while Imogen is not a serial killer, I think maybe I should take her characters away from her and put them somewhere safe, at least for a while.

Of course, this review wouldn’t be complete without at least a mention of the magic system. Normally, I’m not a huge magic person, because most magic systems feel stale at this point, like people keep using and reusing the same concept. The magic in THE CRYSTAL TREE is refreshingly different, at least to what I’ve read. The idea of song as a means of working magic? The idea that we all have a life song that someone else can interact with and/or manipulate? Sign me up. It is vivid, beautiful and, at times, frightening. It fills the book with urgency and depth. The main character, Briar, can heal people with her song, which is super cool, but I especially loved her limitations and how they affect her.

And finally, at the risk of sounding spoilery, I like how sometimes the girl saves the guy. That one hundred percent earns you points in my mind.

If THE CRYSTAL TREE is any indication, Imogen has great potential as an author, and I am excited to see what she’ll do next. But I’ll stop talking now so you can go read her book.


  1. I've heard her talking about her book in the past. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Fun review! And this sounds like a really great book! Song magic? I will definitely have to check that out!