Reader Reviewed The Crystal Run by Sheila O'Flanagan

The Crystal Run

Written by Sheila O'Flanagan
Part of the Crystal Run Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

June 2016 Debut of the Month High-octane, high-stakes fantasy quest in which a teenage boy finds himself embroiled a world of warring lands and self-sacrificing teenagers.

At first, “gangly” Joe might seem an unlikely hero. The gripping opening scene sees him bullied by a pair of boys who steal his headphones. Then, when he flees to safety, Joe falls and finds himself in unfamiliar surroundings. Disoriented, he meets and helps a girl called Kaia who says she's a Carcassian Runner, in training for something called the Crystal Run. While Joe insists he has no idea as to how he ended up here, Kaia’s people suspect him of being an enemy, or in possession of special powers - what else could explain him having passed through the protective Shield that surrounds their territory? But Kaia senses that Joe isn’t a threat and so reveals that the peaceful, weaponless Carcassia is at war with the Kanabians, and their only means of defence is the Shield. In order to uphold its power, three Runners are chosen to pass through the Shield at the turn of each cycle. Kaia has been chosen, and now Joe is to accompany her, and everyone knows that Runners can’t return…

This atmospheric YA debut from a bestselling novelist brims with all the hallmarks of a classic fantasy quest - a vividly evoked world, heart-rending conflict, compelling action - and the friendship that blossoms between Kaia and Joe makes their mission all the more powerful. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Emma Baird, age 13 - 'The Crystal Run is a thrilling adventure story which tells the tale of Joe’s dangerous adventures in the magical land of Carcassia and his mission to try and get home.'
  • Anastasia Abdian, age 11 - 'The Crystal Run is an amazing book, the minute I finished I thought: Where's the next one? This book is delightful to read and wonderfully described. I recommend this to anyone 11+.'
  • Sam Harper, age 11 -'Joe and Kaia’s journey both thrilled and gripped me from the first page. Action packed and thought provoking, I loved it!'
  • Beth Urquhart, age 9 - 'I enjoyed the book The Crystal Run because it is very adventurous. I like the way the characters are described throughout the book.'
  • Millie Rose, age 12 - 'This book is so exciting and engrossing that it nearly made me miss by bus stop!  I wanted a sequel immediately.'
  • James Griffith, age 12 - 'This enticing modern day fantasy story will suit all readers who love adventure whilst you follow Joe and Kaia through Carcassia and Kanabia. This is one of the best books I've ever read!'
  • Ross Dawson, age 12 - 'An absorbing, exhilarating adventure, guaranteed to appeal to teens who enjoy fantasy and intrigue.'
  • Adi Mehta, age 10 - 'The Crystal Run is a thoroughly interesting book that I would recommend to anyone 9 or over who enjoys dangerous and action themed books.'
  • Charlotte Cassidy, age 11 - 'The Crystal Run is a heart-pounding book that drew me in to the story straight away and left me wanting more.'
  • Rose Hopkins, age 10 - 'The Crystal Run is a book that goes from breath-taking to heart racing in seconds....  In short, it’s a great book.'
  • Alex Hall, age 10 - 'This book was full of drama, emotion and adventure, and sucks you into the story making it all seem very believable and real!'


The Crystal Run by Sheila O'Flanagan

On a typical afternoon, teenage Joe is being chased by bullies from school when he accidentally runs through a portal to another world. He finds himself in a training camp for a group of teenage boys and girls who will become Runners. Each cycle, three Runners are sent to place the power sources that will secure the shield that protects their land, Carcassia, and keeps the enemy Kabanians at bay. Once they've achieved their objective, a toxin is released into their bodies and they die. No one is permitted to return through the shield. And nobody can remain in the enemy territory. Joe is sent on the next Run, accompanying the Runner, Kaia. He is hoping that he will find a way back to Earth - much to Kaia's annoyance, as she is focused only on her goal. Gradually, a delicate friendship develops between the two, and Joe wonders if he can save Kaia as well as himself. But as they pursue their Run, Kaia and Joe come to question the histories they've been given, and the ambition of their enemy. The Run suddenly becomes more dangerous than anyone could have envisaged.


This atmospheric YA debut from a bestselling novelist brims with all the hallmarks of a classic fantasy quest - a vividly evoked world, heart-rending conflict, compelling action - and the friendship that blossoms between Kaia and Joe makes their mission all the more powerful. -- Joanne Owen Love Reading 4 Kids Will appeal to youngsters who enjoy reading about dangerous quests Sunday Independent O'Flanagan's writing is crisp and concise and her plotting deft Belfast Telegraph Intriguing hints that all it not what it seems within Kanabia SFX Magazine

About the Author

Sheila O'Flanagan

Sheila is an ex-bond dealer and financial journalist whose novels have all been immediate No 1 Irish bestsellers and Sheila also writes a weekly column for the Irish Times. Her books have been described 'as necessary to women as chocolate, and just as addictive!' Her last three novels have sold in excess of 1,000,000 copies in their British editions. With each publication she breaks her record of weeks at No 1. She was the recipient of the prestigious Irish Tatler Literary Woman of the Year award in 2003.

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Book Info


400 pages
Interest Age: From 10


Sheila O'Flanagan
More books by Sheila O'Flanagan

Author's Website


Hodder Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

19th May 2016




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