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The Crystal Gryphon by Andre Norton Review

Title: The Crystal Gryphon

Author: Andre Norton

First published January 1, 1972

250 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780812547382 (ISBN10: 0812547381)

Rating: 4.1


In the midst of chaos, Kerovan must navigate his way through a world that fears his differences. With his cloven hooves and unique abilities, he stands out amongst the humans of the Dales.

But his differences may be the key to his destiny as he seeks to claim his rightful place as heir to the throne of Ulm. However, his quest is complicated by the arrival of mysterious sea invaders and the interference of ancient beings known as the Old Ones.

Join Kerovan on his journey as he navigates a world of danger and intrigue in The Crystal Gryphon.

About the Author

Alice Mary Norton had a passion for the humanities from a young age, sparked by an inspiring high school teacher. As she delved into the world of publishing, she, like many other female writers of her time, adopted a male pseudonym to appeal to the male-dominated market.

In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice and went on to use other pseudonyms such as Andrew North and Allen Weston.

Norton published her first novel in 1934 and made history as the first woman to receive the Gandalf Grand Master Award from the World Science Fiction Society in 1977. She also won the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) association in 1983.

Norton was a two-time nominee for the Hugo Award and a three-time nominee for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, ultimately winning the award in 1998. Her works regularly appeared in the Locus annual “best of year” polls, and she won numerous other genre awards.

Norton’s influence on science fiction and fantasy was profound, with over 300 published titles that have been read by at least four generations of readers and writers in the genre. She was often referred to as the “Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy” by organizations such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Publishers Weekly, and Time.

The list of notable authors who cite Norton as an influence includes Greg Bear, Lois McMaster Bujold, C. J.

Cherryh, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, Tanya Huff, Mercedes Lackey, Charles de Lint, Joan D. Vinge, David Weber, K.

D. Wentworth, and Catherine Asaro.

In honor of Norton’s legacy, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America established the Andre Norton Award on February 20, 2005. This award is given annually for an outstanding work of fantasy or science fiction for the young adult literature market, beginning in 2006.

Editoral Review

The Crystal Gryphon by Andre Norton is a widely acclaimed high fantasy novel first published on January 1, 1972. This book is a part of Norton’s Witch World series, a world that the author has been expanding and developing for decades.

The novel is set in a world where magic exists, but it is a curse rather than a blessing. Within this hostile realm, Norton delivers a gripping and atmospheric tale of power, betrayal, and the unbreakable bond between a man and his gryphon.

The Crystal Gryphon tells the story of Kerovan, a man who was born with a strange birthmark, and Joisan, a woman who is forced to flee from her home. The two meet on their journey and quickly become companions who must face danger at every turn.

Together, they must unravel the mysteries of an ancient castle, protect themselves from evil sorcerers and malevolent creatures, and save their loved ones. Norton’s writing style is immersive and enchanting.

She brings to life the magical and dangerous world with vivid descriptions, clever world-building, and believable characters. Kerovan and Joisan are both fully developed and likeable protagonists who face their own struggles and challenges.

The supporting characters that they meet on their journey are equally interesting and add depth to the narrative. One of the strengths of The Crystal Gryphon is how Norton manages to keep the plot engaging without sacrificing any character development or world-building.

The pacing is spot on, and the action scenes are well-written, with just the right amount of suspense and danger. Norton’s writing style is detailed but not excessive, the story is easy to follow and filled with a sense of adventure that will keep readers turning the pages.

While The Crystal Gryphon is not as well-known as other high fantasy novels, it has an enduring quality that speaks to the genre’s fans. The themes of power and corruption still resonate today, as does the idea of a world where magic is a curse rather than a gift.

Norton’s writing is timeless, and her ability to create a believable world and well-rounded characters is something to be admired. The only weakness of The Crystal Gryphon is the ending.

While it’s satisfying, it feels a bit rushed, and there are some unanswered questions. However, this doesn’t detract from the overall quality of the novel.

In summary, The Crystal Gryphon is a beautifully written high fantasy novel that is perfect for fans of the genre. Norton’s world-building and character development are top-notch, and the sense of adventure is palpable.

This book is perfect for anyone who wants to escape to a fully realized world of magic and danger. I highly recommend it.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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