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Anthony Pardoe
The Crystal Cavern - Book 3 of the 'Star Sapphire and the Land of Gems' trilogy

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)

Quarter Finalist

Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 9 out of 10
Character/Execution: 10 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10


This winning final volume of Pardoe's trilogy follows Star and Jasper (a young girl and a sea pebble) through beautiful crystal caverns on their long journey home. The prose is filled with adventures, and the skillfully drawn, fully realized main characters develop an even stronger bond in this installment. The well rendered scenery is evocative and educational as well.

Date Submitted: September 02, 2016

Rich Follett for Readers' Favorite

In Star Sapphire and the Land of Gems: Book Three - The Crystal Cavern by Anthony Pardoe (in collaboration with Suzanne Pardoe), mythology meets geology in a delightful adventure unlike any other available to young readers. All of the familiar components of the quest are present: a displaced heroine (Star Sapphire) and her undersized-but-clever trusty sidekick (Jasper Pebble) are trying to return home to the Land of Gems, against impossible odds and with all of the requisite benisons, obstacles, allies, foes, and plot twists which make such a tale compelling. Anthony Pardoe's storytelling is rooted in epic tradition, with a surprising and enchanting infusion of real science for enrichment and added interest.

Young readers will come away from this adventure with a firm grasp of the names of various rocks and crystals, their composition, and their unique properties. This combination of masterful storytelling and practical
science results in a top-notch reading experience that is as enthralling as it is educational.

Another delightful feature of this third book in the Star Sapphire and the Land of Gems series is that the two central characters continually reference past events and reminisce about the adventures they have shared as the trilogy has unfolded, the result being that  readers become familiar with Star and Jasper on a personal level and become engaged with the overarching story line in such a way that they will undoubtedly develop a keen interest in reading the rest of the series.

It is a rare and wonderful thing to pick up a 'third book in a series' and not feel left out or confused. Pardoe has accomplished a small miracle in this regard. As if this were not enough, the book is supported by an online resource with additional scientific information about the rocks and gemstones featured in the text. This interactive component ensures a level of engagement
seldom seen in books for young readers.

In addition to its aforementioned sterling qualities, The Crystal Cavern is chock-full of positive messages about teamwork, self-esteem, courage, compassion, community, creative problem solving, resourcefulness, and humanity (these rocks are a great deal more humane than most people). Star and Jasper model real friendship and loyalty in a highly imaginative fantasy that will keep adolescents (and adults alike) turning pages long enough for positive values to sink in.

To find a thrilling book for young readers that educates while it entertains, encourages children to rely on imagination and to cultivate a sense of wonder, reinforces the power of faith, and fosters belief in the innate goodness of humanity is akin to turning over a spadeful of earth in the garden and discovering a jewel of epic proportions. Star Sapphire and the Land of Gems: Book Three - The Crystal Cavern by Anthony Pardoe is a true gem in every sense of the word.