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The Crystal Gryphon

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

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,392 ratings  ·  46 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.
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published 1973 by Victor Gollancz (first published January 1st 1972)
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4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,392 ratings  ·  46 reviews


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Mandapanda
Mar 26, 2015 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 Written back in the 70's, it felt very outdated.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.
Angie
Jan 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, 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 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
...more
LaDawn
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!
Andrea
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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.
Jude
Jul 14, 2015 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
David Sarkies
Oct 16, 2012 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
...more
Cheryl
Jun 22, 2013 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
Jan
Sep 22, 2012 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
...more
jonathan rose
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Truly a great love story giving us a little of the old ones trying to open our eyes to the knowledge of the old one's

So we can look beyond the veil a little more from the writings to know the old ones



Great book



David Layton
Andre Norton has never been known for daring or strikingly original writing. However, her books are always dependable for very human characters in mythical settings. "The Crystal Gryphon" is set on the Witch World, a series Norton had begun a decade earlier. Originally, the stories were ostensibly science fiction, supposedly occurring in another dimension in which magic replaced science. Really, these novels are all medieval fantasy, written in a period when it was still a slightly frowned-upon ...more
Ash
Sep 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everything in this book feels like it's narrated from a few kilometres up. There are characters, technically, but none of the scenes feel like scenes. Just descriptions of events rather than depictions of events. We're told there are events, an invasion, duplicity, high emotion, but none of it is strong enough to reach the reader. One of the coolest book covers I own, though.
Valerie
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
...more
Derek
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, witch-world, fantasy
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 so
...more
M.P.
Jan 22, 2016 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
Valerie
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
...more
Jacey
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
This is a re-read of a book read and enjoyed many years ago. It’s sometimes a mistake to go back, but though it’s of its time, this stood up pretty wall. Kerovan, born with hooves instead of feet and with amber-coloured eyes, is his father’s heir, but he’s raised away from the castle, and by the time he’s ready to inherit invaders from over the sea, the Hounds of Alizon, have turned his homeland into a battleground. His proxy marriage to Joisan all but forgotten, he becomes a scout. Joisan in he ...more
***Dave Hill
Nov 10, 2011 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
...more
Jon
Sep 17, 2015 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
Annalisa
Jun 08, 2008 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
Magill
While this is numbered as 5 in the High Hallack series, it takes place before the Wereriders agree to help the Dales fight Alizon.

Alternating between Kerovan, the heir with the cloven hooves, and his ax-bride, Joisan, the story, I suppose, is a bit 1970's YA, but the setting of High Hallack and the Old Ones allows for a bit more than youthful angst-ridden drama, bringing in the battle between Dark and Light.

Both Kerovan and Joisan have to find themselves and their way to one another and learn ab
...more
Catsalive
Jul 29, 2008 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
...more
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
...more
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
...more
Bowee
Oct 11, 2015 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.
Arlene Allen
Jun 16, 2010 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.
Jacqueline J
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.
Dan
Oct 21, 2012 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.
R.J. Peters
Jun 04, 2011 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.
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.
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994 followers
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. She also used the names Andrew North and Allen ...more

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)