This book haunted my childhood memories for years, a mysterious specter, the title of which I couldn't recall. What incomplete details I had retained eventually proved adequate for discovery on the internet. Once I identified the text, it lingered in my unconscious until I happened to be in the juvenile fiction section of the public library one day in my mid 30s. Browsing an aisle, I turned around and saw the title on the spine before me, a spooky beacon of serendipity, as I had not been looking for it.
I checked it out, read it to my son, and got to relive the experience. It does fall short of great fantasy, largely due to insubstantial resolutions. With a shared world similar to though less distinct than J. K. Rowling's dichotomy of wizards and muggles, the story demanded more rational conclusions to what it proposed. Aside from the disappointing ending, this story was one of my first glimpses into fantasy and abstract concepts of time, freedom, telepathy, and sanity, and subliminally technology's role in human development. It also dealt with death and misery in a way I had never encountered in a children's tale. The Silver Crown certainly nurtured a burgeoning philosophical curiosity on my young psyche and O'Brien deserves credit for that.