Audiobook Review: The Crystal Bridge by Charlie Pulsipher

611kQkApR4L._SL300_Source: Audiobook Blast/Author – I received this in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Audible
Series: The Lost Shard #1
Narrator: Keith Michaelson
Edition: Audiobook, 9 Hours and 11 Minutes
Genre: Young Adult Sci-fi
Purchase: Amazon *
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5 Stars

The Egg followed Kaden home from the hospital. This glowing shell only he can see transports him across the emptiness between universes to distant worlds, but he’s afraid to use it. This strange Egg may have saved Kaden’s life once or twice, but it failed to save anyone else he cares about.

Aren’s sight reaches deep into the souls around her, seeing more than she wants in her friends and teachers at school. When she turns her gaze on Kaden, his Egg responds by sending them spiraling across space and time to a world where dragons, elves, dwarves, and peculiar gods dwell. Separated, lost, and alone in a hostile world on the brink of war, these teens must come to grips with their unique gifts if they ever want to see Earth again.

Back home, a biotechnology company tinkers with the science of reality, hoping to cure death itself by any means. But their work and the intrusion into the void have awakened something shadowy and powerful, a being imprisoned there for millennia. This dark being intends to break free and devour everything and everyone it touches. Infinite universes are in danger. Kaden and Aren must decide if they can save more than themselves. Can they save us all?

The Crystal Bridge is a delightful mix of science fiction and fantasy that really pulls the reader in and holds their attention. I always enjoy books that takes familiar ideas and add new twists, thus turning something average into something highly enjoyable and new.

This novel centers around three people: Aren, Kaden and James, as they are forced to deal with new ideas, worlds, and technology. What begins as a ‘portal fantasy’ turns into something much bigger as the novel progresses, bringing in moral dilemmas and emotional growth. We get to know Kaden first, who after an accident is left with a powerful “Egg” that gives him the ability to travel through wormholes to new worlds in an instant and revisit memories. I actually really liked him. He’s level headed, and has been through things most teens at his age have not giving him a very kind and open personality. He matches up well with Aren, who when we first meet her is closed off and quiet. Her ability to “know” a person and their memories being the major player in her standoffish ways, all so she can avoid prying into the personal lives of others and avoid losing herself in those moments. Kaden and Aren challenge each others existence, and find solace in it. Aren can look at him without delving into his mind, and Kaden can share the ‘egg’ with her when others are incapable of seeing it. And while the attraction is present there was no rush to push them into a relationship as soon as possible, they are still in the process of building a firm friendship despite the added stress of their realities. These two are incredibly mature and really loved the different but strong way they handle the obstacles thrown their way. James is much older than Kaden and Aren, and finds himself working for a bioengineering company with technology that seems mostly impossible. I really loved James as well, and I liked that the author gave us two different age ranges in the same story.

The world building itself is fantastic, though there is a lot going on and it does take a little while to get use to the different ideas colliding. The fantasy elements certainly have the familiar ring to them adding in the elf like Ealder and the dwarf like Dwaro, even some magic…but they go right up against the science fiction elements. Magic is explained in an almost scientific way, there is biotech beyond anything we are currently capable of (and a lot cooler too), and new worlds to discover. Once I got settled in I really loved the different ideas bouncing around. I loved having chapters that focused mostly on James and his work at the secret labs, bringing extinct things to life within a computer simulation, that ended and went right back to Aren or Kaden as they tried to understand the new world and the fantastical races of creatures they encountered. There is plenty of action spread through out but it is a slower paced book with a lot of build up. I spent a lot of time thinking on these two different story-lines would meet up, and how they correlated to Rho, the ancient being who seems to personify fear. And with the way the audiobook ended I definitely like where it is going!

I did listen to the audiobook version of this, and thought that it was a really fun listen. Kieth Michaelson did a really good job with the different voices and accents, and I especially loved the sing-song Dwaro accent that he created.

4 stars

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