5.0 out of 5 stars An alluring tale about the quest for power!
T.L. Howard is in a league of her own as you will learn when you begin reading descriptions of her alluring characters. Each one springs to life upon introduction, hooking you into this fantasy tale. Howard provides exceptional attention to detail in this unique, magical adventure. Howard has written an amazing story with a plot different than any I have read of late - within this genre. I enjoy humor sprinkled into any read, but The Crystal Key has such an epic feel to it, I can't recommend it highly enough.
Teens and adults alike will enjoy this G-rated story that teaches the outcome of allowing power and greed to override faith. The Crystal Key is over six hundred pages, but the flow of writing and interesting characters keep the pace moving along quite rapidly. Descriptions of people, places, and the history of this fantasy world are vivid and richly engaging, keeping you rocking through the chapters. You get so immersed in this mystical story and lush, textured environment created by Howard, before you know it, it's over and you feel a loss from the setting and characters.
The Crystal Key offers readers anguish, excitement, and a desire for peace in this engaging struggle between good and evil. This author definitely stands out, and I hope to see more books from her soon.
2014 Readers’ Favorite
International Book Award Book Review
Reviewed by Marissa Tapia for Readers' Favorite 5 Stars
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 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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A lengthy but unforgettable novel, well worth your time!!
By Chloe on Amazon.com
The Crystal Key by T. L. Howard was quite an undertaking for me as I rarely read such long books, but I was spellbound and found this read difficult to put down. The Crystal Key is a mesmerizing tale of a young woman named Mirah, who has a mind of her own and a will far outweighing her slight stature. For Mirah, her hometown of the provincial capital of Bryston and her late father’s general supply shop was and would always be the world. However, one cold, late winter night following an extremely long exhausting day, her world was shattered by a knock on the door. She opens it to find the world’s two highest-ranking Knights of Deceris standing there. They are carrying an enigmatic summons for her from the Archprelate, the most powerful man in the world of Chiram. In the blink of an eye, Mirah is ripped from the only life she’s known and thrust into the company of the two Knights, one of who possesses enough conceit and arrogance for the entire universe. She is soon fighting for her life when a man she’d never met, tries repeatedly to kill her as she rides headlong to meet a destiny for which she was not prepared. A destiny she shares with this man trying to kill her, Rasmun.
Throughout her journey through dark forests, scorching deserts, snow covered mountains, and cursed land, Mirah and those who would become her Knight Protectors; the arrogant Commander Roenin, patient Colonel Alyen, and fiery, red-headed Captain Samone; discover soul-binding friendship and love amidst sacrifice and duty as they learn a secret held by the Temple for the last one thousand years. A secret that would not only change Mirah’s life forever, but the world as well.
The writing of T L Howard shines bright in this out-of-the-box fantasy adventure that anyone, tween and up, can read and immensely enjoy. The trials and tribulations Mirah and her compatriots experience are easily recognizable by the reader. Each character, no matter how slight, is full and engaging while some have lives that are intertwined by a common, tumultuous past. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Corryn’s Stone.
Reviewed By Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite (five stars)
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.
Reviewed By Michelle Randall for Readers’ Favorite (four stars)
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.
Reviewed By Melinda Hills for Readers’ Favorite (five stars)
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.
Reviewed By Mamta Madhavan for Readers’ Favorite (five stars)
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.