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Crystal Singer

(Crystal Singer #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  19,315 ratings  ·  525 reviews
Her name was Killashandra Ree. And after ten grueling years of musical training, she was still without prospects. Until she heard of the mysterious Heptite Guild who could provide careers, security, and wealth beyond imagining. The problem was, few people who landed on Ballybran ever left. But to Killashandra the risks were acceptable....
Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 12th 1985 by Del Rey Books (first published February 1982)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,315 ratings  ·  525 reviews

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Jan 14, 2014 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 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
I could never carry a tune, but that in no way ever deterred me from playing “Crystal Singer” with my other precociously adult book-reading childhood friend.
Jul 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Karen’s Library
That was just as enjoyable to reread as the other 15 times or so I've read it. On to book 2. Love me some Anne McCaffrey! ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Phillip Simpson
Mar 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this first back when it was originally published, in 1985. Back then, I didn't care much for the heroine, Killashandra Ree. She wasn't very sympathetic. To me, she was stuck up, arrogant, obnoxious. Reading it again, 32 years later, I see her more sympathetically. She starts off devastated by failure at her chosen profession in music-- not just music, but as a concert singer and operatic star, possibly for the first time. Then she stumbles across a man who is tormented just like she is by ...more
Sep 23, 2009 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. ...more
Angela Blount
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
This book generally felt like an earlier work from McCaffrey. I would have given it more of a 2 ½ 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, w
This was a good story but also a lot of world building. I've read it before, a number of years ago. Killashandra has been rejected from her dream career in music as a soloist. She ends up on Ballybran singing crystal. We learn a lot about the world and the items that make this world unique in the Federation. Because of the world building, the plot is a bit disjointed and rushed. I'm interested in rereading the second one and just discovered there is a third that I'm fairly certain I have never r ...more
Feb 06, 2011 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
Pure unadulterated entertainment and pretty good entertainment at that. Killashandra Ree is a rather self-centered, intelligent, young woman. She's told that, after 10 long years of study, that she will never be a soloist because she has a burr in her voice in the higher octaves. Killa is not going to be any other type of singer so she quits school and decides to leave her planet. While at the spaceport she encounters an "older" man (Carrick), who just happens to be a crystal singer who saves th ...more
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The Good: The late great Anne McCaffrey had a wonderful way with words, as is evident here. Crisp writing and lots of details took me to another galaxy without leaving my chair. Killashandra was a likable heroine; despite dire circumstances, she refused to give up, and overcame her shattered longtime dream.

The Bad: Unfortunately, Ms. McCaffrey also decided to include some bedroom scenes which include sexual details that smack of a trashy paperback romance at times. Those who are sensitive to suc
Sara J. (kefuwa)
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I forgot to update GR when I finished this one! Lol! Oh well~ quite enjoyed reading this tome (view spoiler) and quite looking forward to the next one! Crystals crystals crystals! I don't know why but I see tragedy on the horizon... I always expect it when characters are long-lived. Huhu.

First finished: 24dec2019
Source: Bookdepository (birthday gift from Cel! ty!)
Anna Frohling
Jun 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
First published in 1982.

Good to know. In this case, I'm going to be milder and only say: this book didn't age well.

The Con:
I absoltely have no sympathy for authors who can't keep the physical traits of their (secondary) characters straight throughout a book.

Neither do I have any sympathy for authors who spoil their own books, not once, but twice during the first story (view spoiler)
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
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An old favourite

I've lost count of the number of times I've read this book and it has been a few years since the last time. It holds my attention as much now as it did the first time, when I was a teenager. Into my 40's now, maturity has brought greater understanding of some of the themes but not lost any of the compelling story. The character of Killashandra delights me in many ways but also brings recognition of her flaws. McCaffrey was always a genius at creating human characters that you cou
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
I read this book as a child and loved it and have reread it now as an adult and loved it so I think a high ranking is well deserved!
Marion Hill
Dec 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
Sometimes going down an internet rabbit’s hole can lead you to an author you had never thought to read before. This is the scenario with Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey. Every time I go to my local used bookstore here in San Antonio, I see many of the McCaffrey books in the science fiction and fantasy section. I will admit that the dragon covers from her famed Pern Series never interested me. I don’t read fantasy novels for dragons. Sorry, epic fantasy readers.

However, I read several internet a
Sam (Hissing Potatoes)
Chapter 1: Main character can't be #1 in her field, rage-quits after 10 years of training despite infinite other career possibilities in the field

Chapter 2: Main character physically restrained by stranger, thinks it's not yet time to call for help despite help being readily available because she's apparently somehow not technically in "personal-liberty infringement" zone yet

Me: Nope
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book was only 300 pages, but it seemed to go on foreeeever.

Alas, by the end, I did not care at all about what happened to our dear, over-dramatic heroine, Killashandra Ree (you can tell McCaffrey really loved writing that name, because her full name is used way more often than necessary).

Which was fine, because it's not like there was any tension anyway. To be fair, this is more of a character-based book than a plot-based one. Unfortunately, I didn't care much for the character. Killashandr
Deborah Ideiosepius
This book is one of my old favorites from when I was first discovering Science - Fiction back in my teenaged years. Back in the day, when sci-fi covered ALL types of fiction that were not mainstream.

This is a book I have re-read so often over the years and yet it never grows old for me. I has, most definitely, dated somewhat but I think that in many small areas this has good predicative elements, such as the use of voice recording with voice locks, personal recorders, the use of the computer sys
Nov 14, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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. Why?
May 29, 2014 marked it as dnf  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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.
This books makes even less sense than I remembered, and I didn't think that was possible. ...more
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Classic Trash: Crystal Singer: Finished (Spoilers) 4 3 Nov 10, 2019 09:58PM  
Classic Trash: Crystal Singer: In Progress (No Spoilers) 5 5 Nov 05, 2019 08:01PM  

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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 Scho

Other books in the series

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

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