“Crystal Singer” – Anne McCaffrey’s Formula For Success

Book Review : Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey

Spoiler Alert!

Killashandra Ree has been blessed, or cursed, with perfect pitch. She has spent years developing her voice planning to be a top-rank concert singer only to have her hopes dashed when told she has an unpleasant burr in the higher registers. Without purpose or direction she catches the attention of Carrik when she hears a problem with the crystals of a ship in the port. Carrik introduces Killashandra to extravagance and pleasure that she never knew existed on her planet. He also introduces the mysterious occupation of a Crystal Singer and the power that comes from being a member of the exclusive Heptite Guild on planet Ballybran. Entranced by the idea of respect and not wanting to settle for being second best Killashandra decides to apply to the Heptite Guild. During the full disclosure required prior to undergoing the final testing, Killashandra pushes all hesitation aside and immerses herself with her classmates even after learning that most who apply to the Heptite Guild will never have the opportunity to leave the planet again. Through her training she experiences a Milekey transition to the native symbiont giving her an advantage over her classmates. Killashandra also has a special affinity to identify with the coveted Black Crystal which sets her apart from other Crystal Singers as she quickly finds a vein of this valuable commodity. Lanzecki, the head of the Heptite Guild, takes a special interest in Killashandra both as a woman and as a Crystal Singer.

Adult Point of View

Anne McCaffrey has creative ideas in forming new worlds. I also deeply enjoy reading her books even though they are not literature. Even so, it should be noted that McCaffrey has a general formula which simplified would be something like this:

1 – Girl has exceptional ability

2 – Girl is repressed unfairly by those close to her

3 – Someone recognizes girl’s unique abilities

4 – Girl becomes successful

5 – Along the way girl finds romance with man who appreciates her strength and he is           primarily there to support her in her role of being wonderful

I actually take my hat off to McCaffrey that she can rework this general theme and that I continue to read most of everything she has written, even when I know what will happen.

Also there are generally sexual relationships within McCaffrey’s books though not very graphic. Language is also generally clean or with epithets that she has created for that particular world. Because of the casual sex I would not let my young teen read them even though they encourage girls to be successful. The exception to this statement would be Dragonsong and Dragonsinger which are completely clean, Dragondrums has one reference to the desires and expression of love that coincide with firelizards mating.

3 out of 5 stars


Well, perhaps I would rate it 3.75 for the fact that I reread these books for fun.


About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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