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Crystal Singer #1-3

The Crystal Singer Omnibus

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From world bestselling author, Anne McCaffrey, creator of the Dragons of Pern, comes the brilliant saga of the brave, beautiful, tragic people who are the Crystal Singers of Ballybran.

Killashandra thought her world had ended when she was told she would never become a concert singer. And then she met the stranger from off-world. He said he was a Crystal Singer - one of the unique ones of the Galaxy - and when Killashandra tried to find out what a Crystal Singer was the answers were vague, obtuse. All she could discover was that they were special people, shrouded in mystery, and danger, and beauty and something altogether incomprehensible. It was then that she decided she too must try and become a Crystal Singer - with all the dangers and gruelling demands made of the elite and glittering ones of Ballybran. This is the story, of Killashandra and the mysterious exploits of the Singers.

1079 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

Anne McCaffrey

554 books7,004 followers
Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.

Anne was educated at Stuart Hall in Staunton Virginia, Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey, and graduated cum laude from Radcliffe College, majoring in Slavonic Languages and Literatures.

Her working career included Liberty Music Shops and Helena Rubinstein (1947-1952). She married in 1950 and had three children: Alec Anthony, b. 1952, Todd, b.1956, and Georgeanne, b.1959.

Anne McCaffrey’s first story was published by Sam Moskowitz in Science Fiction + Magazine and her first novel was published by Ballantine Books in 1967. By the time the three children of her marriage were comfortably in school most of the day, she had already achieved enough success with short stories to devote full time to writing. Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed.

She died at the age of 85, after suffering a massive stroke on 21 November 2011.

Obituaries: Locus, GalleyCat.

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5 stars
935 (55%)
4 stars
494 (29%)
3 stars
213 (12%)
2 stars
33 (1%)
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10 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews
Profile Image for Karen Brooks.
Author 15 books545 followers
October 20, 2012

Anne McCaffrey's The Crystal Singer is the reading equivalent of comfort food for me. It's a book I pick up every few years and re-read and, each time I do the tale of failed diva, Killashandra Ree who, in a fit of emotional and psychological piqué, agrees to become the companion of a mysterious crystal singer while he holidays from his demanding job only to find herself, months later, on the dangerous planet Ballybran training for a career as a crystal cutter herself, never ceases to enthrall me. Original and compelling with a strong and forthright heroine who is not only confident in her abilities, but turns a major life-disappointment into a personal success, the egocentric but lovable Killashandra actually plays (ironically in terms of the narrative and its arc) second fiddle to the real main character, the crystal itself and the planet that spawns it and the spore that alters bipedal, humanoid physiology. McCaffrey's descriptions of the crystal, the geography and climate of wild Ballybran and the way in which this precious commodity that comes in different shades each of which has its own inherent value, structures an entire society and worlds is magical. I love losing myself in this universe, in the hierarchy, training, the personalities and conflicts as well as the romance - not simply between characters, but between Killashandra and the crystal. I always feel bereft when the story ends. Hence, the re-read. I know what will happen and can relish every word and page, much like favourite foods, music or films. The joy of expectations' fulfilled brings its own kind of pleasure and solace and, for me, The Crystal Singer offers that and so much more.
95 reviews
May 3, 2012
A very interesting first book, then a plain old love story in the second; it made me reluctant to start the third (delayed it up to a month). But the third book was much better - the obligatory sanguine happy-end notwithstanding.
Profile Image for Emily.
51 reviews12 followers
June 24, 2011
Came across this after reading some of the Dragonriders of Pern series. It has become one of my favourite "escapism" novels to re-read whenever I just want to be transported to another world.

Killashandra is a pompous, haughty singer, until the day that she's not given the part she's been training most of her life for. After a chance encounter with a Crystal Singer, which leads to her escorting him home when he is injured, she starts the process of becoming one herself.

The trilogy tells of Killa's time learning the trade of the Crystal Singers with all the highs and lows that go with it, progressing to expeditions she takes on behalf of the Heptite Guild (the guild that covers the Crystal Singers and all other workers on the planet).

A very enjoyable read.
8 reviews
May 11, 2018
I have read the Crystal Singer Trilogy more times than I can remember. It is one of my absolute favorites. Action, love and Killashandra Ree finding out who she is and where she belongs in the universe. Love it!
550 reviews3 followers
March 15, 2023
DNF. The story is a bit slow and detail oriented for me. I dislike all the characters. Everyone just don't seem like people I would ever want to know, including the main character. I kept reading because I wanted to know more about Crystal Singing, but it's not worth slogging through the beginning.
16 reviews
July 6, 2017
I wondered why there were no reviews for this trilogy. In fact there are many, but they can be found with the crystal singer omnibus, which is of course the same work as I read. Oh well, I'll just add my review anyway.

Anne McCaffrey is described as an author who wants women to be portrayed realistically in fantasy novels. She certainly succeeded in portraying a likeable heroine. From the first page I was attracted to this arrogant, slightly airheaded, but smart and resourceful woman, that gets herself into trouble just as easily as she bluffs her way out of it.

I also very much enjoyed the description of Ballybran, this mysterious, alluring and dangerous planet full of music, resonance and crystal. The details are well thought out, up to just a few that are still puzzling me. It never became fully clear to me why crystal singers need to leave the planet as well as stay on the planet??

The first part of the trilogy I liked best. In the second part the male main character is introduced, who is unfortunately portrayed as rather one-dimensional. In the third part Killashandra has aged, and again she is described convincingly and movingly. However, I was a bit disappointed by the rather sloppy and inconsistent 'living crystal' storyline, and the abrupt ending.
Profile Image for Maria Elmvang.
Author 2 books99 followers
July 11, 2017
This omnibus has the entire Crystal Singer trilogy ("The Crystal Singer", "Killashandra" and "The Crystal Line") in one book.

Over all, a 4.5-star trilogy, even though the first book is definitely the best. I guess I'd rate them 5, 4.5 and 3 respectively. I loved reading about how Killashandra learned how to cut crystal in the first one, and her relationship with Lars in the second. The third book couldn't quite live up to the two first ones, and took me a lot longer to finish. It's not boring as such, it just doesn't seem to know where it wants to go, and tries to span FAR too long a time period in just one book.

I had this book recommended to me because I mentioned liking McCaffrey's Harper's Hall trilogy, so I assumed Crystal Singer would be similar to this trilogy in its atmosphere and descriptions of music. Not so at all! It took me awhile to shake my pre-conceived notions of the book. Not that I was disappointed, it was just disconcerting to expect to read about dragons and thread fall and instead read about spaceships and crystal cutters.

That said, I loved the book, as the rating indicates, and would recommend it to anybody who enjoys a good fantasy/sci-fi novel. Crystal singers have a long life-span but cutting also results in severe memory loss, which makes for some very interesting situations. It also made me think - if I knew I was likely to forget everything about my past and everybody I knew... how much effort would I go to to make recordings of my life? What would I willingly forget, and what would I want to remember?
Profile Image for Robert.
816 reviews44 followers
September 20, 2008
When I picked this up I had many years before read the first two novels contained in it, but not the third. Read as a whole the three work better than most of the individual parts. The sequence then comes over as a coherent history of its protagonist, Killashandra Ree, divided into Youth, Middle Years and Later Years.

Only the middle book really works individually, when Ree is caught up in events of considerable significance beyond her own life and influences their outcome greatly and the reader can become involved in an adventure.

Even the perspective granted by following the whole of Ree's career does not eliminate all the flaws: The book is littered with Irish place-names as if Ireland had conquered the galaxy; Ballybran, Killashandra, Armagh and more. No explanation is ever given for this preponderance and it jars in its improbability. Also, one of the more interesting science fiction ideas presented, the "Opal Junk" from the third book, is under-developed disappointingly and turns out to be nothing more than a McGuffin for an essential plot device that helps a story that had veered toward Tragedy to veer abruptly back toward a fairy-tale ending.

Perhaps the most serious flaw for me is that I could never entirely like Killashandra Ree - she is a realistically portrayed character with many a flaw but I think one is supposed to like her - and I did not. This made me feel that she did not quite deserve her happy-ever-after.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amie.
39 reviews
December 30, 2010
Overall, I really liked this trilogy. I think that the character development and world building is really interesting, and believable. The main character Killa was easy enough to like, and I could relate to some of her characteristics, even though she isn't really anything like me overall - and I think most people probably could, which is good in a book usually.
The three books could be read separately but are even better together, as each links really well, with moments in the third book linking back or referencing even the first chapter of the first. I think that helped to engage me as a reader and keep things interesting.
The writing style was nice to read, a bit different to what I've been used to lately maybe, but not in a bad way. I think she did really well in creating a world so different to our own at least partly in values as well as being in the future and somewhere seemingly far away, but a world that is really believable and able to be understood.
A lot of the time I don't like Sci-Fi, but this I definitely really liked.
I'll be looking to read more of Anne McCaffrey's work.
Profile Image for Blake.
391 reviews34 followers
July 5, 2021
(FYI I tend to only review one book per series, unless I completely change my mind on a series, so want to change my scoring down a lot)

First time read the author's work?: No

Will you be reading more?: Yes

Would you recommend?: Yes -- One of my favourite authors, I tend to rate her series at 4 or 5 stars.

How I rate Stars: 5* = I loved (must read all I can find by the author)
4* = I really enjoyed (got to read all the series and try other books by the author).
3* = I enjoyed (I will continue to read the series)
3* = Good book just not my thing (I realised I don't like the genre or picked up a kids book to review in error.)

All of the above scores means I would recommend them!
2* = it was okay (I might give the next book in the series a try, to see if that was better IMHO.)
1* = Disliked

Note: adding these basic 'reviews' after finding out that some people see the stars differently than I do - hoping this clarifies how I feel about the book. :-)
Profile Image for Theresa.
7,528 reviews114 followers
March 1, 2015
Crystal Singer Omnibus
McCaffrey, Anne
Crystal singer, killesandra wants to find somewhere she can make a name for herself she happens to mea a crystal singer on holiday and fall in love with him. a captivating story of women and life

Killashandra the second book of crystal singer after becoming a crystal singer Killashandra has gained wealth and prestege but she is growing over rot with the power and difficulty of singing crystal, does she have enough wealth to leave the planet... does she want to return..
Killashandra learned from the adventure of her lifetime that restricted her to crystal singing

Crystal Line the third book in the series. a story of girl power
Profile Image for Anne.
472 reviews11 followers
July 9, 2011
3.5 stars. This was a re-read, I read these when I was about 15. They're not bad books, but not great, either. I was deep into my Anne McCaffrey phase, though, and re-read mostly out of curiosity. Not terribly well written, but the concepts are interesting and relatively compelling, though the main character gets kind of obnoxious pretty quickly. Also in the third book, there are these long, pointless off-world scenes that are just so unnecessary.
Profile Image for Mel.
597 reviews14 followers
June 8, 2017
The Crystal Singer is my comfort book. It has lots of problematic things but it is also a lovely Fantasy/Sci-Fi romance/growing up story. I never felt any inclination to read any other books that might be set in the same universe. This is simply my chocolate cake after one too many bad fantasy books. hmmmmm, it's almost time to pull it out again
Profile Image for Jemma.
618 reviews21 followers
September 14, 2015
Crystal Singer
I liked the idea of a Crystal Singer, I found it interesting. But I didn't like the characters or their morals and there was no plot.

The plot was good in this one but unfortunately the characters showed disgusting lack of moral and it has put me off reading the last book.

I would not recommend this book
Profile Image for Caitlin Kinsella.
37 reviews2 followers
December 10, 2015
I have loved Anne McCaffery since I was a kid, and this remains one of my favourite trilogies. Following a feisty, flawed heroine who is determined to be the best (whatever and however) this book is based on an intriguing a sci-fi premise that still gives me a twinge of longing to set a mountain range alight with crystal song - whatever the cost.
Profile Image for Sarah.
55 reviews1 follower
January 16, 2009
yes anne mccaffrey's books are slightly dorky but i loved them when i was younger and they are still great as comfort reading when i'm feeling sad. it's so convenient that they published a version with all three books. score!
Profile Image for Rattyfleef.
171 reviews3 followers
June 10, 2011
First two are better than the third, but enjoyable. Not a huge fan of her fantasy but have a soft spot for her science fiction. Undemanding and won't change the inside of your head. Good for a lazy afternoon in a hammock somewhere.
Profile Image for C..
Author 23 books403 followers
April 7, 2007
Just couldn't get into it. As a kid I could (and did) choked down a lot of mediocre fantasy, but I just couldn't do it with mediocre sci-fi.
April 30, 2010
This book was great wish there where more along the same lines of this. I want to know what goes on with the junk
Profile Image for Linda Wallis.
356 reviews3 followers
June 6, 2010
Next to the Dragons of Pern, this series is my favourite!
What a heroine Killashandra is!
Profile Image for Melanie's.
566 reviews30 followers
August 30, 2011
Just reread this again .... amazing .... definitely one of my all time favorites!!! V""V
Profile Image for Carleen.
11 reviews6 followers
January 23, 2012
One of my favorite books, I read it from time to time for a good dose of escapism. Killashandra is a fun, strong female character who grows immensely through the course of the three books.
May 24, 2015
I couldn't support the science part of this sci-fi book. There also seemed to be parts of this series that were inconsistent with other sections.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 33 reviews

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