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The Crystal Gryphon (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle #5)

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  1,207 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The story of Kerovan, whose cloven hooves set him apart from the human folk of the Dales, as he seeks his rights as heir to the throne of Ulm at a time when strange sea invaders are shattering the old kingdoms, and equally enigmatic manifestations of the Old Ones coming to interfere with humanity.
School & Library Binding, 0 pages
Published September 28th 1972 by Atheneum (first published January 1st 1972)
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Apr 09, 2015 Mandapanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
2.5 stars. I picked this up on a Goodreads recommendation but it didn't appeal. Written back in the 70's, it felt very outdated. Olde English style dialogue that failed to excite me. The two MC's were stupidly noble to the point that they seem to actively participate in their own downfall.
Jan 15, 2010 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: good-uns, scifi
I remember the day I first discovered science fiction grand dame Andre Norton. I walked into our favorite used bookstore in San Antonio, Texas. The same used bookstore where I first ran across so many other gems. This particular trip I was looking for something unusual and different and my eye caught on the cover on the left above. I liked how angular the art was and the look of the two companions traveling through what appeared to be an extremely bleak, almost sinister landscape. So I picked up ...more
Aldrea Alien
Aug 22, 2011 Aldrea Alien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must say, having read Gryphon's Eyrie first, I went into this book with a knowledge of one who has read a series and now has the prequel.
Though, as one of the main characters, Kerovan's manner is stiff and rather formal. When one places it against the foil of his upbringing - the emotional abandonment of his father; the hatred from his mother; and the eventual loss of those he'd come to know as friends - such detachment is rather human. This inner turmoil is constant in all of narrative, yet i
I THINK this is the edition I have. At any rate, it has the correct cover picture, and this is often important with these older books.

This is the DAW books edition and, as with most DAW books, they're a mixed blessing. Donald A Wollheim provided an opening for many beginning or lesser-known writers: but the editions were cheap: poorly-edited, on poor-quality paper, with inadequate binding.

This edition is a little better than some by the same publisher: it does at least credit the cover artist: J
Jul 23, 2015 Jude rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Crystal Gryphon is the story of Kerovan, heir to the throne of Ulmsdale, who, thanks to the circumstances and result of his birth, is set apart from the regular folk in the Dales. When Kerovan’s mother gave birth to him she did so sheltered in a ruin of the ‘Old Ones’, mysterious folk who once inhabited the Dales, and Kerovan was born with the cloven feet of cattle and eyes the colour of deepest amber. Kerovan’s mother, the Lady Tephana, swore she could never love such a creature, and Kerova ...more
Jan 25, 2016 M.P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great fun. This book by the so-called Grand Dame of Fantasy and Sci-Fi was my first by Andre Norton, but I look forward to exploring her Witch World in more detail. The story stands well on its own; the main plot is resolved by the end, and I had no trouble immersing myself in this world, in spite of the fact that this is book five in a longer series. This isn't complex writing, and for some the high fantasy faux old English might grate, but I found it endearingly retro. This is very much fantas ...more
May 25, 2010 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I read everything she ever wrote before leaving home at 17, so I know I'm not impartial. But it was nice to come back to it after all these years and still enjoy it, it may be a bit too stand-by-your-mannish and roll on destiny, but if your man has hooves it's a little more palatable.
David Sarkies
Jul 06, 2014 David Sarkies rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die hard fantasy enthusiasts
Recommended to David by: A friend from high school
Shelves: fantasy
Probably should not be read as a stand alone
24 October 2012

The biggest problem that I found with this book was that it turned out that it was written in the middle of a massive series of books, namely the Witch World series, of which I had no real knowledge. I have noted that quite a lot of people really enjoyed this book, and I was attracted to it by the cover where you had an army of early modern soldiers slaughtering an army of medieval soldiers. However, as I mentioned, this book sits in th
Jun 22, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The narration in The Crystal Gryphon alternates between our two leads, Kerovan and Joisan. Kerovan was born of humans but with his taint of Old Blood showing in his amber eyes and hoofs. He is shunned by his mother and grows up apart, despite being the son of a lord. Wishing to affirm Kerovan as his heir, his father makes a political betrothal for him to Joisan. She’s strong-minded and independent, but fiercely conscious of honor, duty and loyalty. Officially married as children but never meetin ...more
Sep 22, 2012 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Andre Norton was the fantasy and sci fi pen name of Alice Mary Norton. She was my favorite sci fi author when I was eleven and twelve years old. When I found this novel among the effects of my recently deceased friend Andre Levi, I assumed that after nearly forty years I'd find it puerile or poorly written.

Not so. It's hard to pull off a novel from two points of view, but Norton does this successfully with close third-person narration alternating between her two protagonists. In this fantasy, th
Feb 05, 2013 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, fantasy, witch-world
There's always been a fundamental difference between the magic of the Eastern portion of Witch World - in Estcarp/Escore - and the Western portion - High Hallack/Arvon.

In Escore, there's an ongoing battle between ancient forces of Good and Evil. In High Hallack, evil is something brought by people, and occasionally strengthened by the use of ancient - but essentially stationary - powers. In Arvon, we get the impression that Evil was long ago banished (though it may be stirring again).

So it's
Norton was experimenting in this book with stories told from two or more different viewpoints. Generally a successful effort, in this case--both the main characters are well-developed, though it's somewhat difficult to fathom the motives of minor characters.

Unfortunately, as is common with Norton's books, this one is appallingly edited. There's a typo on the first page. Some of this is Norton's own problem--when she went back to characters over a lapse of years, she often forgot how she'd spelt
Oct 11, 2015 Bowee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The entire Gryphon series has such wonderful, almost lyrical writing, all other graces aside. Usually obfuscated magic bothers me. I prefer the sort of explained magical system of Brandon Sanderson's novels, but really beautiful writing is certainly worthy of forgiveness, especially if the words themselves seem like magic.
I was introduced to science fiction and fantasy by Andre Norton back in the 70's, though for some reason,I never picked up any of her Witch World series.

Ive been reading a lot of indie authors lately, and it was a relief to read a true master of the genre. Now, I think I must go find the very first Witch World book and start reading right away!
Douglas Cook
I was a great fan of Norton's sci-fi in my teens. This dark romance/fantasy has the same tightly written structure as do her sci-fi works. Meant for a YA audience, this is a tale of how making the right choices, enrich our lives.
Nov 11, 2015 Jon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another example of what's so great about the High Hallack setting. There's a lot to pick up on for having read more of the Witch World than I had at first reading: more of an idea of the Old Ones (which float quietly in the background) and their connection to Escore, already knowing the outcome of the Dales invasion, the origin of Alizon's strange weapons.... So even though I don't like every entry equally, the lesser Witch World stories stll add richness to the best. In its own right, though, t ...more
***Dave Hill
Nov 10, 2011 ***Dave Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text, favorites
(Original review from Sep 2005)

One of Norton’s finest fantasy novels, from her Witch World/High Hallack series. Having read this when it was new and I was young, I may have “impressed” on it like a baby chick, but this tale of the war- and magic-crossed protagonists, one a noble maiden who seeks her independence, the other the magically mutated scion of another duchy, still resonates with me. How they face prejudice, betrayal, war, and other Shakespearean-class plot complications continues to ap
kelsey woods
Jul 02, 2014 kelsey woods rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written

this book just draws you in. I just wish there was more magic and more of Kerovan's POV and far less of Joisan
Robert Negut
First book I read by Andre Norton was "The Hands of Lyr" and this is certainly an improvement over it, but still, when I see fantasy I expect a high fantasy epic, as in a whole array of creatures (if they're the familiar elf, orc, dwarf, halfling, dragon, unicorn, centaur, etc. lot all the better, but I could get used with others if they were detailed well enough), a lot of magic and a broad perspective, with several main characters and countless others doing many things in many places.
That said
Jun 08, 2008 Annalisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi/fantasy fans, especially girls ages 10+
Recommended to Annalisa by: I think I found it at the library
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This was the first book of the Gryphon trilogy I read, and it really took me to another world. Norton has the ability to create very alien, magical landscapes and compelling charcters, both of which I found engrossing as a young girl. Especially because the main character was also a young girl on a quest. I don't remember all the specifics, (there was a guy she became involved with, and an underground maze, and desert, and some special jewels, and secrets about a long lost civilization... I shou ...more
Mar 19, 2015 Catsalive rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
I really enjoyed this story of Kerovan and Joisin, & of the Light Power defeating the Dark Power yet again. I loved the crystal gryphon inside its crystal ball. I wish I had the other 2 books in the Gryphon Saga so I could continue the story right now.

back cover:
The story of Kerovan, half-human, half-something-else, who sought his rightful heritage to the throne of Ulm at a time when strange sea invaders were shattering the old kingdoms and equally enigmatic manifestations of the Old Ones we
Mar 04, 2015 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
1978 grade C
Anne Elizabeth
I like this book a lot.

The story alternates between two narrators, Kerovan and Joisan. I find Kerovan particularly easy to sympathize and even identify with. He feels like an outcast because he has yellow eyes and hooves for feet. Joisan, the girl he weds long-distance when they're both children, is also sympathetic. They are separate at first, as the story shows how they each try to do their best in difficult circumstances.

Now I want to see how they fare in the sequel, Gryphon in Glory. {Smile
Arlene Allen
Jun 16, 2010 Arlene Allen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
it's kind of sad I didn't discover Andre Norton while I was still in my teens! I sadly don't remember much about this book, but I just found out she wrote a sequel many years later. I had pretty much discovered fantasy only a couple of years before this. One of the things that I loved about fantasy then is that you could pick up a book and it wasn't part one of the Gazilliad.
Oct 21, 2012 Dan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: signal
Exasperating reliance on prophecy to advance the plot.

Doubly exasperating romance-novel subplot -- specifically this is the "one party to the romance decides they're not worthy and does something stupid intended to end it, which of course the author then foils because this is the lead pairing" trope.

In fairness this seems to be the Nth book in a series.
I love this story. One of my first Andre Norton reads lo these many years ago. What could be better than a hero who was mistreated and maligned all his life who has butter yellow eyes and cloven hooves for feet? I loved both Kerovan and Joisan. High adventure, romance and Norton's brand of mystic magic. Great story.
Apr 06, 2013 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once you get over the faux-Olde Timey writing style (and the funny names I'm not sure how to pronounce, even mentally), the characters are engaging and the story is good. Going to have to get me to the library so that I can pick up the rest of Kerovan and Joisan's adventures.
R.J. Peters
Jun 04, 2011 R.J. Peters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a 5 star book. Andree Norton has done it again. She creates a whole world with humans and animals that can talk to each other and does it in such a way as to draw you into the story in and you hate to see it come to an end.
Oct 25, 2013 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trashy-fantasy
Its eminently ok, the kind of thing you read in the bath to kill some brain cells. Little bit of adventure, and I will read the sequel, bc I did like the characters, even if there wasn't much of a plot to speak of.
Kim Luu
Aug 03, 2010 Kim Luu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Andre Norton is one of the greatest science fiction writer of all time. She wrote books with young female protagonists and I learned that nothing can limit me as a little girl.
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Alice Mary Norton always had an affinity to the humanities. She started writing in her teens, inspired by a charismatic high school teacher. First contacts with the publishing world led her, as many other contemporary female writers targeting a male-dominated market, to choose a literary pseudonym. In 1934 she legally changed her name to Andre Alice. The androgynous Andre doesn't really say "male" ...more
More about Andre Norton...

Other Books in the Series

Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Horn Crown (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #0)
  • Year of the Unicorn (Witch World Series 2, High Hallack Cycle, #1)
  • Spell of the Witch World (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #2)
  • The Jargoon Pard (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #3)
  • Zarsthor's Bane (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #4)
  • Gryphon in Glory (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #6)
  • Gryphon's Eyrie (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #7)
  • Were-Wrath
  • Songsmith (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #9)
  • Silver May Tarnish (Witch World Series 2: High Hallack Cycle, #10)

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