August 2023 Review: The Crystal Pawn by Deborah Jarvis – straightforward, fast-paced read

Cover of The Crystal Pawn by Deborah Jarvis

A woman stands in an enchanted forest with a white wolf. Her back is turned to the viewer. The whole scene is cut to the outline of a chess pawn.

The Crystal Pawn is the first book in an Epic Fantasy series. It revolves around a young woman from Earth who discovers that her father is actually a Lord from a fantastic realm where magic is real.

In fact, Deidre is the only hope the kingdom of Keyralithsmus has in beating back an evil Empire that’s posed to invade. According to legend, she is one of the few people who might be able to call the dragons and persuade them to help the kingdom.

Soon, intrigue and murder surround Deidre, even as she finds a few allies and makes new friends. Together, they begin the arduous journey south to find the dragons.

What I liked about The Crystal Pawn

I really enjoyed the rich worldbuilding in this book. It has everything fantasy (except Tolkineque races), including minotaurs, centaurs, talking animals and shape shifters. Hints of other, diverse connections to Earth are strewn across the story which I thought was clever because they make Deidre less of a one-time wonder.

My favorite character is actually Vex (Vexatious is his full name), a talking horse. There is also a rather clever talking wolf who is one of Deidre’s best friends and advisors.

What I would have liked to see more in the Crystal Pawn

Set against that rich tapestry of a magical world I would have liked to see more depth to the characters and more actual growth in personality. The villains especially seem rather one-dimensional and sometimes more bloodthirsty than smart.

Even so, the story itself is straightforward, enjoyable and moves at a fast pace. It will be interesting to see how it develops and how Deidre will handle encountering the dragons.

Where to buy The Crystal Pawn

At the moment, The Crystal Pawn is only available through Amazon, as it is in KU (and thus included if you pay for Kindle Unlimited).

The Crystal Pawn: Amazon Link

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About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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