By Author / Illustrator
Paperback / softback
In this fifth instalment in Soman Chainani's bestselling fantasy series, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie, Agatha, and their friends must find a way to overthrow the sinister evil that twists lies into the truth and seeks to rewrite their story.
A traitor has seized Camelot's throne, sentencing Tedros, the true king, to death. Tedros's queen, Agatha, narrowly escapes, but their friend Sophie is trapped. She is forced to play a dangerous game as her wedding to the false king fast approaches, and all the while her friends' lives hang in the balance. Now Agatha and the other students at the School for Good and Evil must find a way to restore Tedros to his rightful place on the throne and save Camelot - before all of their fairy tales come to a lethal end, and the future of the Endless Woods is rewritten forever...
Oh, the drama of this book! As you read through this wonderful series it gets better and better. I only started this book a few days ago and I could not put it down. I thought book 4, Quests for Glory, was a rollercoaster ride, but A Crystal of Time is all of that, with an added shot of an high energy drink!!
Rhian is now King of Camelot and he is forcing Sophie to be his Queen, but she can't understand why he his so determined that they marry. He has imprisoned Tedros, Guinevere, and their friends in the dungeons, with Tedros's execution planned on the date of his wedding to Sophie. Japeth terrorises people across the Kingdom in order for their leaders to take his brother as the true king and destroy their rings, which keep the Storian writing in the School of the Ever and Nevers. They need the Storian to be destroyed so that their own pen, Lionsmane, can write the tales of Camelot's people. This will have devastating consequences, especially after the wedding.
Agatha is in despair, she is the only one to have escaped Rhian and she doesn't know who she can turn to or trust. What does she do first, go and seek advice from The Lady in the Lake or somehow get back to the school for help? Agatha still has with her the Crystal that belongs to Dean Dovey but she has yet to learn how to use it. When she gains that knowledge, the crystal reveals the answers they are looking for, but they are not reliable as it is damaged. What is the Truth and what are Lies?
The author has carefully and skilfully blended The Legend of King Arthur, Lady of The Lake and Robin Hood into this part of this magical fantasy story, giving these fairy tale figures more character and depth. I love the addition of the gnomes and Gnomeland. Even though there is a major battle of good and evil going on above their heads, they provide such a lot of humour and fun. I also think Reaper, Agatha's cat, deserves a mention. I adore an evil animal character that acts 'all hard' but really has a heart as big as a lion and is not all he seems to be. I won't say anymore as I don't want to spoil it for any readers.
Once again the chapters have illustrations at the beginning of them, which help make the book suitable for any level of reader of 11+. It would also be great for reading groups as there are lots of discussion points. The Crystal of Time contains 640 well written pages that deal with death, violence, loyalty, friendship, trust, love, humour and of course lots of magic (but what has happened to Merlin?!?) Its main message, as in all fairytales, is our perspective on events, who is telling the truth or a lie? If you believe what you are doing is the truth, how can it be a lie? This is what the main characters have to deal with and work out.
With the amazing cliffhanger ending, I believe there will be a book 6, and I can't wait to get my hands on it to see how Soman Chainani ties everything together, and to once again go on a wonderful adventure with these amazing characters.
640 pages / Reviewed by Linda Brown, school librarian.
Suggested Reading Age 11+