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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review, Giveaway, Interview: The Crystal Bridge ~4/5 Cupcakes~

Be sure to check out my interview with author Charles M. Pulsipher and find out more about how to win one of his books below my review

TITLE: The Crystal Bridge               AUTHOR: Charles M. Pulsipher
PUB: Create Space                              PUB. DATE: 9/15/11
FORMAT: ebook                                 
SOURCE: from author in exchange for honest review

The Crystal Bridge

Kaden is a typical teenage boy, except he can open wormholes to far away worlds.His first trip almost killed him. He’s been afraid to try another.Aren is far from a typical teenage girl. She has the ultimate gift of empathy, seeing into the memories and souls of others.Her gift makes her different and lonely despite how close it brings her to those she knows.When these two meet, the existence of two worlds will be endangered as their abilities plunge them into a planet at war.Their adventure may tear apart multiple universes…or they may just save us all

THREE WORDS: Innovative. Gripping. Fun

MY REVIEW: The synopsis to Charles Pulsipher’s The Crystal Bridge is quite brief and vague, so I really had no idea what to expect when I began this book, but it ended up taking me away on a thrilling and completely surprising ride from start to finish.

            MY BRIEF SUMMARY
Kaden, a teenage boy who can travel through wormholes, and Aren, a teenage girl who can see into the memories and souls of other people, are both pulled into one of Kaden’s wormholes and end up separated in a world full of magic, danger, and war. While back on Earth, in a mysterious and wondrous lab in the desert, a young geneticist, James, finds himself doing and creating things once deemed impossible. Kaden, Aren, and James find themselves swept away into their own adventures and find they each must play a significant role in saving, not only the world they call home, but the magical world of Ealdar from the dark god Rho.

            STORY
The Crystal Bridge offers a story quite unlike any I’ve ever read before. Pulsipher has taken the wonder of fantasy and the ever intriguing and thought provoking nature of sci-fi, added a sense of humor; compelling characters; and a lot of fun, to create a highly original and refreshing story.

There is a lot going on in this book and many characters and storylines are introduced in the beginning, so reading the first few chapters did feel a bit like reading two different, separate books. But once the different storylines are quickly developed, they begin to intertwine and make sense, not just as individual storylines, but as two parts of a whole. And I found that the two different, yet equally captivating storylines kept the book from ever moving too slow or becoming boring.  There was no real pattern as to what world (the lab on Earth or Ealdar) that each proceeding chapter would explore, so there were constant surprises, twists and turns, which kept me engrossed.

I’m a huge lover of fantasy, and the fantasy aspects in this book are awesome! The world of Ealdar is home to different magical and fantasy beings, such as the Sidra, which Kaden describes as being elf like, the Dwaros, dwarf like beings that live underground, and the Ancients (dragons). There’s something wonderfully whimsical about Pulispher’s fantasy beings, yet there is also something very sophisticated and eloquent in their creation, much like Tolkien’s elves, dwarves, and hobbits. The physical world of Ealder that Pulsipher creates is simply spellbinding. From the beautiful forest home of the Sidra A’Keitane to the dazzling underground world of the Dwaros, this world is presented to readers with a vivid and imaginative flourish.

The sci-fi elements are definitely intriguing, although most of the technical aspects kind of went over my head, which I found to be a little distracting at times. But for the most part, I found myself completely captivated by Pulsipher’s imagination and apparent and extensive scientific/technical knowledge. Plus, the things that James creates in the lab are wicked cool. Three words- Realistic Holographic Dinosaurs!

Kaden and Aren’s special abilities are really neat and unique. Pulsipher has definitely added something very new to the concepts of wormholes and the power of empathy.

I really liked the way the individual character stories unfolded and eventually intertwined. Each individual story really allowed me to get to know each character and added very well developed layers to the story as a whole. I had fun exploring and discovering the different parts of Ealdar with Kaden and Aren, I shared in James’ awe of the things taking place in the lab, and the action packed battle for Ealdar left me breathless.

Pulsipher has created a story and worlds that are easy to get swept into and sad to leave.

            CHARACTERS
There is a large cast of likable, well developed characters in The Crystal Bridge, that offers a myriad of dynamic, fun, enjoyable personalities.

Kaden and Aren are our two main teenage characters. They’re smart, brave, compassionate, stubborn, and witty. Not once while reading did I find myself not genuinely liking and rooting for these two. Even with their extraordinary powers, they’re both such realistic and relatable teenage characters. James is a really fun character, who provides a great deal of humor. Part of what makes this book so compelling to me, is how very attached and invested I became in these three characters and their stories.

There are some fabulous supporting characters that I just fell in love with. Dveldor the Dwaro is equal parts adorable and fierce. Evandrel and Hasla, two Sidra A’Keitane, are tough but funny. And Lyle, the young King of Ealdar is kind of crush-worthy ;)

And of course, you can’t have a great story without a great baddie, and the dark god Rho, also called the Devourer, makes for a chilling and exciting antagonist.

            RELATIONSHIPS
There are a lot of great relationships in this book and not just romantic ones, although there’s a few of those too.

Friendships are very important in this story and I really enjoyed all of them, especially the unlikely ones. The unlikely and surprising friendships are a lot of fun and will leave you with a big smile and going “Aww”.

And without spoiling anything, I’ll just say that the different romances are also fun to watch unfold and root for.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Crystal Bridge has an awesome blend of sci-fi and fantasy and offers a captivatingly original story. This is one book you really should read!


MY RATING
4/5 CUPCAKES

You can learn more about and connect with Charles M. Pulsipher here: 
You can purchase this book here:



Charles M. Pulsipher lives in Saint George Utah with his lovely wife and neurotic dog. He writes sci-fi and fantasy with the occasional zombie guide thrown in. He’s obsessed with surviving the zombie-pocalypse.

He draws cartoons on his blog that are usually funny if lacking in the amazingly artistic department. He spends his time away from the keyboard hiking and camping in stunning Southern Utah.

He neglects his twitter account.

His velociraptor impression is worth seeing, even if it makes grown-ups scream and hide. It’s probably the coolest thing about him.
picture and bio taken from author's website

Q. If you were to describe The Crystal Bridge in a Twitter tweet, using ONLY 140 characters or less, what would it say?


Nano-technology and wormholes injected into a YA version of Lord of the Rings.

Q. Did you find it challenging combining together both the idea of computer simulations crossing dimensions and the idea of a boy who traveled through wormholes? Did you ever consider writing them as two separate books?

I planned on two separate novels to begin with, but the two kept getting closer to one another in my head and then I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote the epilogue. From that point on, the two ideas merged and I couldn't stop them.

Q. Do you have a favorite character in The Crystal Bridge? A favorite scene?

Penny is my favorite. She was an accident, just appearing one day as I wrote a scene about James. I love her sarcasm and personality, especially being an AI character. She'll also play a huge role in the next book. The scene when Aren and Kaden fall into the wormhole is one I really liked writing.

Q. Are any of your characters based on real people?

Yes and no. They are made up of bits of many people I know, but no single character is based on a single person. They are each unique and special, my little brain-children.

Q. The world of Ealdar you’ve created is really awesome! Do you think you’ll ever return to this world in future books?

Yes, at least one more time, possibly two.

Q. Kaden and Aren both have pretty cool abilities! Would you rather be able to travel through wormholes like Kaden or be empathic like Aren?

Wormholes all the way. They are a million worlds to explore. I also don't want to know everyone's secrets.

Q. I have a fascination with villains…blame it on ol’ Billy Shakespeare. Who is your favorite literary villain, who do you just love to hate or hate to love?

All the villains in Tad Williams' Otherland series. Felix aJongleur is disturbingly driven and obsessed with living forever and Johnny "Dread" Wulgaru is scary and twisted with just the right amount of power. The Other itself is masterfully depicted as something beyond human and then Williams manages to humanized it in the end.

Q. I’m a self proclaimed TV and movie junkie, and nothing elicits more excitement and anxiety than learning that a beloved book is going to be adapted to the screen. What is your favorite TV show or movie based on a book? What book would you love to see turned into a show or movie? Other than your own of course ;)

Lord of the Rings was amazing in film. I'm excited to see what they make of The Hunger Games. I'm also still waiting on Ender's Game which is rumored to come out next year, but isn't it always? In the mean time, I'd love to see Shades of Grey, by Jasper Fforde make it to the big screen. Unfortunately, he needs to write the second one before that will ever happen.

Q. What’s the one book you think every person should read at least once in their life?

I can't choose just one. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Ender's Game. Shades of Grey.

Q. I do a pretty wicked T-Rex impression myself (it’s ALL about the little arms) and I’ve read that you do a pretty mean Velociraptor impression…so, do you have any advice for novice dinosaur impressionists?

Make sure you fall forward as you run. That's the best way to mimick the movements a dino makes. Also, screech loud enough to scare yourself and you will for sure scare others.


I want to thank Charles for taking the time to answer my questions and allowing us all the chance to get to know him and his book a little better!


I also want to thank him for offering one copy of his other awesome book Zombies at the Door, Planning for the Inevitable to be given away to one of you!
You can enter this giveaway and read my brief review of this book HERE







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