Reviews of Kathryn Sullivan’s works
Reviews of THE CRYSTAL THRONE, AGENTS & ADEPTS, TALKING TO TREES, and others
Brenda Gayle of The Write Lifestyle said
“…The action is practically non stop throughout the story. Each incident takes you to the next until, before you realize it, you’ve reached the end. The plot moves smoothly, while it grabs and holds on to your imagination. Young adults aren’t the only ones who will enjoy this tale. Anyone who holds a fascination for the world of magical creatures will undoubtedly enjoy the fantasy as well. So clear your minds and follow Jeanne and Peter as their adventures take them in search of The Crystal Throne.”
Rhiannon West of Simply E-Books (now Timeless Tales) gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4 1/2 stars.
“… Kathryn Sullivan has created a magical kingdom guaranteed to hold the reader spellbound by the superb imagery and characterization in this book. The story glides along like a swan on a lake, flowing freely from chapter to chapter, with all questions answered and conflicts resolved by the end. I will certainly be looking out for more of Kathryn’s writing in the future.
“I could read The Crystal Throne many times over and still want to read it again. I would love to see this story on the big screen sharing the limelight with Willow and The Dark Crystal. If you feel like losing yourself in a fantasy adventure, I would highly recommend this book.”
Katherine Schlem of Promo Preview gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 5 out of 5 stars.
“This book, The Crystal Throne is an absolute gem. It is a fantastic romp through a fantasy land that is made excitingly real in the readers mind. With the heightened action and fanciful characters, this was a definite “page turner” for me.
“This book was deeply engrossing, and the characters seemed so alive. And with no rough language and very little violence, this fantasy is appropriate for all ages. Little ones will definitely thrill to the descriptions of trees that talk and horses that can do magic. Parents will be similarly entertained by the “human” interaction and the love of others that this portrays. …”
Bob Yosco of Shadow Keep Zine gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4 Shadowstars.
Issue 21 – 15 April 2001
“… The Watcher has found his heroes, the ones capable of saving The World from the evil domination of the three surviving witches who’ve cast a forget spell upon the The World, causing most magickers to forget that magic even existed…hey this is nice stuff. Wonderfully written, sans the usual clichés, nice twists to an existing theme, heroes that are heroic, bad guys that are despicable, and for cripes sake the characters are interesting and believable. I only give away the plot of books I detest, so don’t expect anything more from me than an unqualified thumbs up if Fantasy is your bag because you won’t be disappointed. Nice work, Ms Sullivan.”
“…Excellent story! Filled with goblins, trolls, dwarfs, ghosts (life-drainers), windborne hounds, a wizard, elves, shadow creatures … you get the idea. Jeanne and Peter seem to be in their mid-teens, but no exact age is given. All-in-all, in my opinion, this is one of the best fantasy e-books I have read! Highly recommended!“
Harriet Klausner of Sime-Gen Reviews gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4 stars.
“… an exciting young adult fantasy tale that will remind readers of early Norton and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The story line is enjoyable as the two intrepid heroes battle impossible odds to try to save a realm while seeking a passage through the haunted tree to their home. Sullivan demonstrates her abilities as a first-rate storyteller with this fabulous teen fantasy adventure.”
The McQuark Review gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE a B+.
“It’s not often that a truly original premise is introduced into fantasy literature, but Kathryn Sullivan has done it.
Assigned to write essays about the legends surrounding a supposedly haunted tree in a nearby forest, teenage friends Jeanne and Peter find themselves engulfed by the tree and translated into another world. Jeanne is a psychic, constantly struggling with the ridicule that goes with being different in our world. So far, so familiar. But Peter is Jeanne’s opposite, a dedicated rationalist. “Great special effects!” he exclaims as the two are attacked by a red-violet dragon “You can’t see any wires or blue matte outlines. Wonder how they’re projecting that pteranodon”? (page 12).
In most fantasies, skeptics are there to be converted, but as this adventure unfolds and the two find themselves allied with elves, wizards, and a race of sentient horses in a battle against three vicious and destructive witches, Peter’s disbelief (which neutralizes illusions) proves to be just as much of a weapon as Jeanne’s growing psychic powers and magic ring. Happily, author Sullivan also knows that fantasy is about more than “special effects” (although there are plenty of these). Even amid the attacks of witch hounds, goblins, and elementals, the ultimate weapons of both sides are fear, self-doubt, and guilt….”
Elizabeth Burton of Blue Iris Journal wrote:
“…The world Ms. Sullivan has developed is as complex and intriguing as any fantasy lover could wish for, and her descriptions as Jeanne and Peter and their companions travel to confront their enemy are vivid and easy to envision. The various races she creates are drawn from traditional folklore, for the most part, and some have a tendency to become interchangeable, but her equine clan, the Windkin, are delightful. …
“… if your taste is for tales full of action, adventure and magic, The Crystal Throne is an engrossing, full-bodied tale of sword and sorcery that will entertain from beginning to end.”
Renee L’Amour of The Romance Studio gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4 hearts.
Kitty at Love Romances gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4 and a half roses.
Kate at Fallen Angel Reviews gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4 angels
“…The Crystal Throne is a rollicking adventure that captures the imagination, as Jeanne and Peter find strength and courage they never knew they had. The story addresses prejudice in the relationship between magical characters, as well as the age-old battle of good against evil…”
Mary at Enchanted in Romance gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 4½ stars
“And while you might expect The Crystal Throne to be a simple tale of good-vs.-evil, Ms. Sullivan has provided greater depth to the characters. Jeanne struggles with accepting her talents, with her unfolding self-acceptance and self-esteem. Peter faces physical and psychological challenges as well, and he grows in purpose and character through the book. “Control fear. Never let terror rule you…” Jeanne is counseled by a wise character. This is a book about growth and friendship. The Crystal Throne is enchanting, refreshing, and bound to be popular for years to come. Ms. Sullivan has left the door open to her alternate world, and I hope we will see her characters step through that door again.
Teresa Knight at Teen Books: Suite 101.com recommended THE CRYSTAL THRONE
The Crystal Throne is a fun mystical adventure that captures the readers imagination. The action is non-stop throughout the book. The characters seem so alive. Adults will love the story as much as their children will.
I would recommend the story to kids and adults of all ages. Anyone who is fascinated with the world of magical creatures will truly enjoy this fantasy. The book has no rough or bad language and very little violence. Young readers will love the trees that talk and the horses that can do magic….”
“…”The Crystal Throne” is a fresh and fast-paced story, with sudden twists that captivate the reader’s interest and keeps the story’s tension high. If you like fantasy, you’ll love this story, winner of EPPIE 2002 Award as Best Fantasy Book.
Kathy Martin of In the Library Reviews gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 8 gargoyles.
“This was a great fantasy story, perfectly suitable for both adults and teenagers. While Jeanne’s sensitivity is perceived as “empathy” in her world, she is actually clairvoyant and can read people’s emotions and pain as well as heal their injuries. I found it interesting that a main character (Peter) is written to not believe in magic. Usually in fantasy it is just accepted that magic just “is” and there is no way around it. His skepticism turns out to be his greatest strength.
The array of characters are delightful. I was able to get a good feel for all of them by the way they spoke and reacted to each other. Not only are they entertaining, but I was privy to the old feuds between different races (i.e. elves, humans, dwarves, trolls). The old animosities are always under the surface and many times have to be dealt with. These are just two of the things that keep the story fascinating, and kept me turning page after page as fast as I could.
Anyone who is enthralled by the current popular fantasy characters out there would like this book.
Janie Franz reviewed THE CRYSTAL THRONE at MyShelf.com
tigerlily1122 at epinions.com gave THE CRYSTAL THRONE 5 stars.
Feb 7, 2006 – User Rating: 5 stars. Pros: Magic, wizards, elves and evil witches. Cons: Can’t think of any.
KC Heath reviewed THE CRYSTAL THRONE at Escape Time!
Jaleta Clegg reviewed THE CRYSTAL THRONE at her blog.
Agents and Adepts
“…this would be ideal for a youngster getting his or her first taste of fantasy…”
David Farnsworth of Round Table Reviews commented on AGENTS & ADEPTS:
“It quickly became apparent to me that Kathryn Sullivan’s strength lies in her fantasy novellas, particularly when she tackles ogres. I found myself eagerly reading those stories.”
Kitty at Love Romances gave AGENTS & ADEPTS four and a half hearts.
Fans of Kathryn Sullivan’s Crystal Throne will rejoice! Within the 16 stories of Agents and Adepts are several that revisit that faraway enchanted land and some of the beloved characters living there. Along with those are some other very entertaining fantasy stories of magic users and interstellar agents that protect less developed worlds peopled with unusual natives and species. In Goodbye, Jennie!!, The Twin Bond, and Someone Is Watching, Sullivan introduces the reader to intelligent orbs and vegetation lives as she thrills them with the adventures of two out of the ordinary psi-capable twins. In Demon’s Storeroom, Sullivan spins a delightful and humorous new twist on the old theme of interdimensional thieving and Curses, Foiled Again, is again a humorous twist on an old theme – how do you break a spell cast that can only be broken by love’s true kiss when the couple is a bear and a stag? – Or an amorous rabbit with no mate and designs on a sorcerer’s apprentice? In the Transfer Student, the reader meets a human sized sentient Parrot and gets a tongue-in-cheek look at the suspicions and trials that such an alien among us might be faced with.
Along with these whimsical thoroughly enjoyable stories Sullivan has included two sets of shorts revisiting the magical land she created in Crystal Throne. In Softly Follow a young man enlists the aid of the wizard Calada to find and help his sword-sister thwart the danger he saw for her in a dream.
Free Trader Mead must deal with a wizard who constantly gifts her with dangerous “toys” and insists she has chosen to be his apprentice despite her protests to the contrary in the 3 short enchanting stories There Was A Crooked Staff, There Was A Broken Arrow, and Bound by a Belt of Web. Those lovable Windkin of the land – magical sentient horses Hahle, Renw, and Elin are revisited in the prequel tales of Elin’s finding his magic and Renw and the elf Leheero meeting in the tales The Windkin, Srike Watch, and The Lore Master’s Apprentice.
The characters in these stories are well drawn and likeable and the tales are quick reading and entrancing, leaving the reader wishing for more. This reviewer is hopeful that Ms. Sullivan has more trips to the land of Free traders and Windkin in store for us. The stories of other off-world fantasies are very enjoyable reading that takes many humorous twists as Ms. Sullivan creates creatures and characters one would just love to meet on any given day, and a few to be avoided at any cost! The only thing this reviewer felt just slightly detracted from the smooth read of the stories is that while the other sets of stories that went together were grouped, the three tales about the twins were interspersed in the book and would have been more pleasing if also grouped. Fans of fantasy fiction and of Kathryn Sullivan’s books alike will not want to miss out on this one!!
Reviewed by KITTY
Kate at Fallen Angel Reviews gave AGENTS & ADEPTS 4 angels
“Agents and Adepts is a collection of 15 short stories which speak to young adults of not only myth and magic, but of responsibility, loyalty, kindness, love, and adventure. The main characters are as varied in their circumstances as they are in their race and gender. …”
“AGENTS AND ADEPTS contains some of the most original and intriguing fantasy short stories to come along in quite some time. …”
Patrick Vandewiele reviewed AGENTS AND ADEPTS in the December 2005 issue of FANTASTIEK (p.48)
Lillian Cauldwell gave TALKING TO TREES five trees.
“At first glance, the reader might say to themselves, “Not another Tolkien ripoff!” As you begin your journey with Jody, Twyl, Rafi, Jeanne, and Peter, that notion quickly vanishes. “Talking to Trees” stands on its own merit and strength, with a diverse cast of characters one doesn’t find in “The Chronicles of Narnia” or “Lord of the Rings.” A book worth waiting for…ever!”
Karen Magill at Coffee Time Romance gave TALKING TO TREES four cups.
Lesley at Eternal Night commented:
“…The writing is enchanting and extremely easy to read and the main characters are well detailed and the storyline flows along easily. All in all I found this to be a wonderful story which had me hooked from the very beginning. In fact, from the first moment I picked up this book I wasn’t able to put it down until I had finished the story! …”
Janie Franz reviewed TALKING TO TREES at MyShelf.com
Harriet Klausner calls TALKING TO TREES “a terrific young adult fantasy”.
“…entertaining yet involved read.”
Write What Inspires You! synopsis
Pirates and Privateers review
Bee’s Knees Reviews review
Starburst Magazine review
Nerds in Babeland review
From the Heart of Europe review
Richard McGinlayof Sci-Fi Online gives Short Trips: Repercussions a 5
“Meanwhile The Diplomat’s Story, by Kathryn Sullivan, is good, although the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn depart less than half way through…”
Paul Clarke of the Discontinuity Guide
“Rather sweet actually…”
“All said, I found this collective title to be outstanding! I am proud to be able to recommend it to everyone who enjoys sci-fi and fantasy tales that go beyond the normal. Fans of the old show “The Twilight Zone” should especially take note of this release.”
RT Bookclub gave FLIGHTS OF MIND 3 stars
3 Stars! The 29 stories featured in Beyond the Mundane: Flights of Mind offer something for just about every lover of short science fiction and fantasy, with romance, suspense and good plain fun….
…nice little anthology…
Michael L. Thal of Scribes World gave FLIGHTS OF MIND 5 Stars
The collection is very satisfying reading and fun to pick up when you want something different… An electrifying read with 29 tales to send you into outer space and fantasylands!
Orinoco, 9/04/00, rec.arts.drwho
I must admit to being a big Benny fan (not as big as some, but I do enjoy her character). The virgin Benny books started with the tag line ‘SF has never been this much fun’, and I think that if the BF adventures follow in the vein of this short story collection, this tagline will still be apt. The adventures carry on from where the virgin ones finished. But all that horrible continuity isn’t important. What is important is that Benny is the same character, and has fun adventures.
Kathryn Sullivan’s story about monsters visiting a world and leaving a legacy, along with a bit of one-upmanship is an enjoyable little read, although I was a bit confused about exactly how the second archaeologist was actually hoist by his own petard. I don’t think it was clear, although I was pretty tired when I read it. I did think that the idea of the ancient culture mining out an even older spaceship and basing their mythology on the inhabitants of that spaceship a wonderful one. Definitely a good use of the archaeology theme.
Given so many first time writers in this collection, it is a bit surprising that it is as good and as polished as it is. I really hope that all the writers involved get to write more stories for Benny, and if the forthcoming novels are this good, I would heartily recommend them to everyone who was a bit of a Benny fan. (Now not only Ms Symcox owes me a pint *8-) ).
Gordon Dempster, 9/06/00, rec.arts.drwho
Yes, I loved this one, especially with the bipedal armadillos (long story!) lots of resonances in this story, from St. George And The Dragon, to cargo cults, to arsehole scientists, it’s nice to let it wash over you, but fun and enjoyable as well.
All in all, a great start to the range, without a duff story in sight, of course, YMMV. A good sign for things to come.
Cameron Mason’s review page, 12/30/00
The Monster and the Archaeologists:
A story about rivalry between archaeologists is what this story boils down to, but Kathy Sullivan’s story is very entertaining, introducing some characters I would like to see more of in the future.
Doctor Who Fan Ratings Guide, added 2003