Krystal’s Calling by Melissa Solorzano
Publisher: Forever More Publishing
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (142 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
Krystal enters adulthood on her eighteenth birthday, and to have her life change forever as Mother Earth marks her as her daughter. Together Krystal and Courtney leave on a calling, unsure of where they’re going or what lays ahead.
Krystal awakens on her eighteenth birthday to discover her life will change forever. Mother Earth has decided to awaken something inside her that the realm is in need of, as dark forces seek to do harm.
As a half-elf, Krystal is now an adult and can make her own choices. Her first calling comes, and she must leave her home to start a journey she hopes will have her following in her father’s footsteps. With her best friend at her side, Krystal rides away from their childhood home to an unknown destination that could shape her destiny.
It’s much easier to focus on the freedom that comes with growing up than it is to think about all of the responsibilities that come with it. How will Krystal adjust to the new rules in her life?
One of the things I look for in a protagonist is someone whose faults could actually have a negative effect on the plot. Krystal definitely fits this bill. Knowing that she isn’t perfect, and, more importantly, that there’s a chance she could make a big mistake that unravels all of the good she’s trying to do was helpful. I liked what the author did with this character’s personality and development.
There was a lot of telling instead of showing in this novella. It was especially noticeable in the dialogue. I learned almost everything I know about Krystal’s importance to her people through conversations with her mother. It felt odd for these two characters to go into so much detail about this part of their lives when no one else was around because all of it was stuff their whole family had been aware of for a very long time.
I’ve always had the impression that elves are absolutely horrified by modern human technology, so it was intriguing to see something written about their race that was set in the present day. Ms. Solorzano struck a delicate balance between portraying the quiet, nature-loving elements of their culture that I’d expect to see while also showing how they might thrive in the twenty-first century.
Figuring out the most appropriate age recommendation was really tricky. Krystal acts much younger than her chronological age for reasons that I never figured out. The writing style included playful plot twists that are much more common in middle grade fiction, yet there were also explicit sexual content that I’ve only ever seen written for mature teens. It’s quite unusual to see these kinds of things included in the same book. I even briefly wondered if Krystal had some sort of learning or developmental disorder due to certain things that happen in the first few scenes. Had the author provided even a brief explanation of what was going on here, I would have felt comfortable giving this tale a higher rating.
If there’s one thing a decent villain needs to be, it’s legitimately dangerous. I was pleasantly surprised by just how frightening the villain in this story turned out to be. The threat to Krystal’s safety is made painfully obvious as the identity of her antagonist is exposed. There is no doubt here at all that this bad guy has terrible intentions.
Krystal’s Calling is a good choice for anyone who really enjoys fantasy stories about elves.