Friday, March 2, 2012

The Magic Crystal, L.T. Suzuki & Nia Suzuki-White



The first installment in ‘The Dream Merchant Saga’, ‘The MagicCrystal’ is absolutely enchanting.  As the authors say in the prologue, it is “an imperfect tale about imperfect people.” It is an untraditional fairy-tale, told in a thoroughly traditional style.  Written by the mother and daughter team of L.T. Suzuki of 'Imago' fame, and her young daughter Nia Suzuki-White, The Magic Crystal delivers on all counts.

The tale opens with the spoiled, temperamental, thoroughly aggravating 16 year old Princess Rose abusing her servants and ‘her jester’ an unfortunate boy named Tag.  Rose has ruined Tag's life, and made it impossible for him to achieve his goal of becoming a knight, something which he holds against her and she doesn’t give a fig about. She enjoys the fact that he has to serve her no matter what he really wishes.

Always looking out for herself, she has crafted a plan to trap the Tooth Fairy and thereby force her to grant Princess Rose 3 wishes.  Rose tries to force Tag to help her steal the tooth of a child. He refuses to help her, but she gets the tooth through bribery. Her plan succeeds, but goes awry, when the enraged fairy rats her out to her parents.  Her parents are not really that strong on discipline and leave it up to the tooth fairy to discipline Rose, as long as she doesn’t do any magic, such as changing her into a toad. Rose makes a bargain with the fairy who agrees to introduce her to the Dream Merchant who will make all her wishes come true.  Though she is warned many times that this is not that good of an idea, Rose insists and the fairy accepts a small silver heart-shaped locket in lieu of a good deed to make the deal binding.

Of course, Princess Rose is her usual charming self when the Dream Merchant arrives, and thus is set into motion a wonderful set of adventures that are perfectly befitting the arrogant girl. He tells her that she shall have no more than 3 wishes per day, and that devious manipulation of the rules on her part will reduce her to 1 wish per day.  He gives her a dream crystal and tells her to keep it safe, for if it should fall into the wrong hands, the consequences would be dire. She is told that she must learn something called wakeful dreaming to use it properly. He only asks for one thing in payment for the Crystal – the love of her parents.  She agrees, as she does not think that her parents love her since they are always trying to get her to behave.  He warns her to be careful of what she wishes for, tells her how to get hold of him if she wants to return the crystal and disappears.

Of course the next day she finds herself tossed out of the castle, and the only one who recognizes her is her despised jester, Tag who reluctantly helps her. Soon they are on a quest to find the one thing that can get her life back to normal - her heart. On the way they meet a wonderful character, Cankles Mayron, the local V.I (or Village Idiot).  He helps them out and becomes an indispensible part of their life.

I enjoyed this creative and amazing series of adventures immensely. I laughed and cried with Rose and Tag, and loved the way that one misadventure flowed into another. Sorcerers, dragons, and mistaken identity - it is all rolled into one of the funnier tales I have read in a long time. The uneasy alliance of Princess Rose and Tag, and Cankles is a brilliant, entertaining story that will become a classic in my family.  The Magic Crystal is a read-aloud sort of story, one that will enchant the adults as well as the children.

I am eagerly looking forward to reading the second installment in this series, The Silver Sword. It waits within my Kindle, tantalizing me, begging me to drop everything and read it!

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1 comment:

Alison said...

I love Lorna's books, so I will definitely pick this up. Thanks so much!