Review: Crystal Cadets by Anne Toole and Katie O’Neill

Posted January 16, 2016 by Lola in Coyer, Fantasy, Review / 4 Comments


Crystal CadetsCrystal Cadets (Crystal Cadets #1)
by Anne Toole, Adam Staffaroni (Editor) and Katie O’Neill (Illustrator)

Zoe is a shy girl, struggling to fit in at her new school, when she finds a mysterious gem left to her by her birth mother. All of a sudden, darkness-spewing dragons are chasing her down in the schoolyard, and a squad of crystal-wielding girls is there to save her! What does this mean for Zoe? Find out in the all-new Crystal Cadets #1

My Review:
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

Crystal Cadets is a fun and cute graphic novel aimed at a Middle Grade audience, but as an adult I enjoyed it as well. It has beautiful colourful artwork and it was a fun and quick read. On the other hand I also felt it fell a bit flat, some scenes felt a bit rushed or the pace or time jumps could be a bit jarring. The story was entertaining, but it stayed a bit shallow and lacked depth. I wanted more out of it.

The story follows Zoe, she’s a bit shy and get’s bullied then some exchange students save her and once she get’s home she learns she’s adopted and get’s a letter and a crystal from her mom. Then she finds out there is the darkness and the crystal cadets has to fight it. They rush off in search of other cadets and fight enemies. The concept was fun. There are girls with different powers, who all have a crystal that gives them powers and they search for the few missing cadets, while battling evil.

The characters where all nice, but I never felt like there was time to get to know them, the pace goes really fast and there’s no time for extra conversation or relaxing and getting a feel for them and their daily life. They seemed like a fun cast of characters, but it was hard to get to know them well or get a feel for their personalities.

The artwork was pretty. The colours where bright and the I enjoyed watching the story play out. I did have some trouble following the right order at times as I am more used to reading manga’s, which go from right to left instead of left to right. In the are there were a few uncoloured pages and that made me realize how much the colour added to artwork. The colours definitely made everything come more alive and brought colour and life to the pages.

The magical powers thing was fun, but never really got explained. They have crystals, but some have elemental powers, the other has arrows and Zoe has crystal dust. It just seemed a bit random. And then they all had a big pet like familiar. The world building didn’t seem to make much sense and nothing got explained. We get a bit of background about the crystal cadets and how the powers get passed down, but that’s about it. Then the whole concept of the darkness stayed really vague and to me it just didn’t fully make sense. It also seemed weird they had to fight the darkness, while it was also mentioned they couldn’t really fight it unless they eliminated the source, which wasn’t something they could destroy with their powers, so why are they fighting it? It also seemed like a convenient way to have something dark and evil for them to fight against, without it really making sense or having an explanation or goal.

To summarize: Crystal cadets was a fun graphic novel, but it didn’t hook me enough to really get invested in the characters, story or world building. The artwork was really pretty and colourful and it made the story come alive. The pace felt a bit rushed and jarring at times. I wished there was a bit more explanation and time to get to know the characters. The world building stayed pretty vague and didn’t make much sense, especially the whole darkness thing they where fighting. I did enjoy it, but I am not sure if I will continue the series.



Do you read graphic novels? If yes, what’s your favourite graphic novel?


4 responses to “Review: Crystal Cadets by Anne Toole and Katie O’Neill

  1. It does have the makings of a good story particularly for the middle graders. But not having depth and rushing through the worldbuilding would make me lose a bit of interest, too.

    Once in a while I like to read a book for the younger audiences. I do like to read graphic novels, but I’ve only read a few that are based on a favorite series or are an extra story to the series.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Of Flame and Promise by Cecy Robson #ReviewMy Profile

    • It just felt a bit rushed and like it lacked depth. The concept was fun, but I just wished it all got explained a bit more.

      I do like how graphic novels can add a bit to the story by using the art and pictures. I used to read a lot of manga’s years ago, but eventualy stopped reading them as they are so pricey compared to books and the time you spent reading them.

  2. I love graphic novels. Ms. Marvel, Bitch Planet, Sex Criminals, The Walking Dead, Y: The Last Man, Lumberjanes, Locke & Key, Sandman, The Wicked & The Divine, Hawkeye, Saga – those are the some that I’ve read in the recent past or am reading now. Comixology is a great app for comics. I liked it better before they were purchased by Amazon because I could buy new issues directly from the app on my iPad, but even after losing that functionality, it’s a great app. They have a feature called “guided view” that’s really helpful, especially for beginners who may not be familiar with the way comics flow.
    Heather B recently posted…Audiobook Review – Magic Slays by Ilona AndrewsMy Profile

    • I used to read a lot of manga’s years ago, but besides that never really read graphic novels, although I do like the combination of art and story that the format provides. I’ll make sure to check out Comixology, it soudns like a handy site.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #161My Profile

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