A published author of thrillers and mysteries, The Crystal Mountain is author J. Gregory Smith’s first piece written for young adults. It’s clear that Smith understand the technical styles and mechanisms required to drive a plot forward for the Young Adult crowd as there is no page in The Crystal Mountain that does not engage the reader.
The novel itself is not completely different in the landscape that comprises young adult fiction. It is impossible to tell a completely original tale written for the young adult demographic as familiarity is a key driver for these type of book buyers. However, Smith does manage to inject new life into the fantastic and supernatural, evoking just the right amount of comic book action and extra-terrestrial allure, making The Crystal Mountain more than your average teen best seller.
Set in the kingdom of Mineria, intelligence reigns within the strata known as the Guardians. However, despite having supernatural abilities that Batman would kill for, the monarchy of Mineria chooses the ill, younger prince instead of the older Erik, forcing Erik to spiral into the realm of the Feral Spirits. Yes – it’s allegory mania but it works.
Sibling rivalry, the quest for peace, mystery and fantasy all merge together to create a tale that is at once both entertaining and evocative. It’s clear that the author is a master storyteller, but it’s also really impressive that despite venturing into a new genre entirely, his talent still shines.