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Crystal Singer (Crystal Singer #1)

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  14,592 Ratings  ·  322 Reviews
Her name was Killashandra Ree; and after ten grueling years of musical training, she was young, beautiful–and still without prospects.

Then she heard of the mysterious Heptite Guild on the planet Ballybran, where the fabled Black Crystal was found.

For those qualified, the Guild was said to provide careers, security, and the chance for wealth beyond imagining. The problem wa
ebook, 311 pages
Published February 19th 2002 by Del Rey (first published 1982)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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I read this book as a youth and loved it, but reading it now at age 45 it does not quite hold the same appeal. I see a woman that is hell-bent on remaining without attachments. She is very bright and talented, but remains aloof emotionally (the come-and-go sexual relationships), socially, psychologically (huge ego), physically (her choice of profession). Originally the high achievement in a difficult occupation was fascinating, a work that required all sacrifice--something I dreamed of myself. N ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Dorian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book when I was about 14. Alas, it has not stood the test of time.

The story opens with Killashandra Ree (incongruously named after a small town in county Cavan, notable mainly for its dairy co-operative) being told that she'll never make an opera singer and storming off in a huff. She falls in with one Carrik, who chats her up in a by modern standards somewhat creepy manner, and takes her off on holiday with him, where they have a lot of sex. Subsequently, partly because Carrik's li
Tales Untangled
Aug 01, 2012 Tales Untangled rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2009 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Women
I have read this book at least 6 times over time. I've indicated the last date I read it. It is my all time favorite. The story is about a young woman in the distant future from a far away planet who is dissillusioned after finding out she can never be a solo singer due to a latent burr in her voice. She travels to another planet and becomes a part of an unusual ecosystem by singing to and with Crystal rock formations. This crystals are used in communication and spaceship drive systems. Well wri ...more
Phillip Simpson
Like a lot of Anne McCaffrey books, I'd read this before. About 25 years ago. How perspectives change. At the time, I loved it and would've given it 5 stars. Now, unfortunately, it just didn't stack up for me. Killashandra was an unlikeable character - self centred. Very quick to judge. Judged others for being parochial and naive when she'd hardly traveled or done anything exceptional. In fact, before becoming a crystal singer, she'd never left her home planet before. What cheek! Had an annoying ...more
Angela Blount
Jul 22, 2011 Angela Blount rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
This book generally felt like an earlier work from McCaffrey. I would have given it more of a 2 star rating if Goodreads would allow—somewhere between okay and likeable.

I did appreciate the entire concept of the Crystal Singers. The planet, the profession, the resulting sub-culture... It was beautifully depicted. And the author got to flex her extensive personal knowledge of the musical arts, which gave the whole thing a more cohesive and authentic feel.

But to me the main character, Killa, wa
Nov 14, 2013 Yune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
A reread from childhood. A rather interesting premise, in which "crystal" is essential to power technology in a wide-flung space-faring civilization, but it's only found on one planet, Ballybran, where almost no one leaves. The elite few who do are crystal singers, possessed of perfect pitch and thus able to cut the resonant crystal from the mountain ranges where it's found.

Crystal singers are not nice people. Due to a symbiotic spore which infects everyone on Ballybran, they live long but lose
Rebecca McNutt
Crystal Singer is a really exceptional sci-fi/fantasy that any musician or music lover would immediately fall in love with. McCaffrey's characters have distinctive personalities and their futuristic world is written out very vividly.
Feb 07, 2011 stormhawk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Rereading a book is always an interesting proposition, especially when there's a significant chunk of time (at least 20 years for this one, I think) between reads.

Fortunately, The Crystal Singer remains a good book. There were elements of the story that I recalled, others that I'd forgotten, so there was both a familiarity and unfamiliarity to it. Anne McCaffrey writes space fantasy, I think, merging science and mysticism in her worlds.

I am as enthralled by her words as Killashandra is by crys
Sep 23, 2009 CJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-books
My husband has a habit of leaving his books lying around and when a cover intrigues me, I'll pick it up. This is actually a re-read from many years ago. I liked it just as much the second time as I did the first. I've never liked any of McCaffrey's other books (yes, Hub has many of them). There's something about Killashandra Ree's character that makes me happy. A strong woman, doing what she wants, when she wants. It's all good.
Dec 03, 2015 Freya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
review to come :)
Jun 22, 2014 Wooga rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book sucks you in with a compelling protagonist, who is given an unfair hardship in life and strives to overcome it. It then introduces a new job for her that she is warned against, as it is incredibly dangerous and life -altering. She is told of the dangers again and again, and bravely accepts these challenges.
And then she goes on to experience none of them. This is what's so bothersome about the book to me. To live in the new planet's biome she must first become acclimated to a symbiotic
Hmm, vaguely mixed feelings. Crystal Singer is all about Killashandra's journey to become a, well, obviously, crystal singer. She had spent years training in music only to have her dreams dashed because of a burr in her voice that couldn't be corrected and so she throws all of her training and her hopes away, and races off after the first thing that seems promising--and where she feels she wouldn't be second best--which is crystal singing. Many people tell her not to go down that path, as crysta ...more
Barbara Klaser
As pure entertainment, this is a great book. It's not pure junk reading, though, since it deals with coming of age and choosing the path least traveled. There's a lot to ponder here, if you're the pondering type. Otherwise it's a fun book to speed through, visit another world for a while, go on a little adventure. Perfect escapist reading. You'll get out of it what you bring to it. I consider it one of Anne McCaffrey's best.

The main character, Killashandra Ree, has been studying music intently f
Brian Schiebout
May 22, 2013 Brian Schiebout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey is the first book written in the Crystal Universe. The main character is Killashandra Ree who is a young woman who spent the ten years prior to the book preparing to be the lead singer in a galactic opera production however she is told that she isn't quite good enough. Rather than accept a supporting role she decides to leave the planet. As she is about to leave she is recruited by a crystal singer of the Heptite Guild of Ballybran who musically harvest the cryst ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carolyn F.
I'm working my way slowly through Anne McCaffrey's sci-fi books. I've read some of the ones she's written with Elizabeth Moon and Jody Lynn Nye. Now I'm reading some of the ones she wrote on her own.

This one was better than I thought - I just want to say both covers with this one and the other one with Killashandra bending backwards are pretty bad. I showed this to my husband and said, "This is supposed to be a beautiful woman." (With constipation and sucking on a sour lemon!) There's a lot of
I enjoy reading Anne McCaffrey. I did enjoy this book more when I was younger. Thirty years do make a difference in what I look for in a book. I did not notice as much wrong with the book when I was younger, instead escaping into the adventure of a young woman leaving the trap of home. This time through I enjoyed the book but was left wanting more character development. Several story inconsistencies threw me out of the book (am I the only one to notice how many times Killa arranged to meet with ...more
May 24, 2010 Marsha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I remember being very fond of this book; I must have read it some time in my late teens or early 20's. Apparently, I had very good taste, because I enjoyed it just as much now as then.

It's a quick and engaging read. It maps the process of the primary character, Killashandra Ree, from her failure to make the grade as a lead operatic singer on her planet, through finding out about the profession of crystal singing, to her application, study and mastery of this dangerous pursuit. The reader learns
May 05, 2008 Werner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: (Not recommended)
Shelves: science-fiction
My wife is an avid fan of McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series, so wanted me to read this one to her because of the author (she enjoys being read to aloud, as well as reading by herself); but neither of us liked this particular book, nor wanted to pursue the rest of the series after finishing it. Killashandra is far too self-centered to be a very appealing or involving character. And while the use of a symbiotic relationship, with psi features, between a human and an alien life form is charac ...more
Josh Meares
Interesting premise and some interesting characters. But the universe doesn't make sense. Why is a universal monopoly on a necessity require such hard work? There are too many questions left unanswered for my taste.
David Richards
This is my most favorite character. Killashandra starts as a failed opera singer and then meets an exciting man with a strange power and an even stranger, and very dangerous, habit. Becoming a crystal singer able to mine the valuable crystal using her enhanced singing voice to cut it at the facets like a diamond cutter is a simple but brilliant science fiction concept. Loved her character, loved the training she underwent and the people she met, loved the way she grew into a profficient miner of ...more
Oh. My. God. This book is so BORING! I tried to reading it first but couldn't get halfway through it, so I borrowed the audio book from the library to listen to it while I drove home from college one weekend--absolute failure!

This is a book that cures insomnia. Seriously. If you can't sleep, crack open CRYSTAL SINGER--you'll be out like a light in no time. I'm not making this up.

At least I finished it in audio book form. It was still god-awful! & I can't believe McCaffrey wrote a sequel. W
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Actually, it's hard to know how many stars to give this because I've changed rather a lot since I first read it.

I have a lingering fondness for this book, though at first glance it's not clear why.

Killashandra is theatrical, riding the edge between confident and obnoxious, and more than a little calculating. I think she's meant to be growing up, but there's not much time for that. Indeed, human interaction other than on a sociological level isn't really much of a thing in Crystal Singer. Even th
Feb 01, 2011 Becky rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the Dragonriders of Pern series, this was my favorite of Anne McCaffrey's books by far. I loved Killashandra, her tenacity, determination, and the world of Balybran was fascinating. I think she described the *need* felt by Crystal Singers very well and very often I found myself thinking right along with Killashandra... "Just one more... one more..."

I highly recommend this book and the 2 following it to anyone who is a fan of Anne McCaffrey or Science Fiction.
Dellani Oakes
Apr 01, 2014 Dellani Oakes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
One of the best sci-fi books I've ever read. Killishandra Ree is a disappointed singing student who finds her way to a mysterious and dangerous planet to become a Crystal Singer. These people have to have perfect pitch and survive terribly dangerous conditions, including memory loss. Killishandra is special, she can cut the elusive and very expensive black crystal.

Killishandra is a complex character. She is both self-possessed and shy. Her confidence borders on arrogance, only a little tempered
May 18, 2012 Donnagarnet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first science fiction book written by a woman I ever read. Killashandra Ree is a bit hard to like: she's arrogant & seems to be quite impressed with herself. The book begins as her dream for her life is punctured & ends with her settling into a new life direction.
Aug 20, 2008 Cindy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, fantasy, pg, fiction
I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked this one up from the dollar store. This book seems to have an underlying message about substance abuse. I'm not too much into the sensual stuff but her writing intrigued me. I'm now a big fan of Anne McCaffrey's work.
Sep 15, 2015 Kerry marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
I just can't do it. I can't finish this.

Every so often I try again and only manage to skim another page or two before being defeated. It's dull, thick prose and I can't remember what I ever liked about it.

I'm giving up and moving on to my next McCaffrey book.
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Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at 1:30 p.m., in the hour of the Sheep, year of the Fire Tiger, sun sign Aries with Taurus rising and Leo mid-heaven (which seems to suggest an early interest in the stars).

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two
More about Anne McCaffrey...

Other Books in the Series

Crystal Singer (3 books)
  • Killashandra (Crystal Singer #2)
  • Crystal Line (Crystal Singer #3)

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