Crystal Chronicles – Flame of the Fallen, by Dyon Whiteley, is an epic tale based in the futuristic fantasy Kingdom of Orericite. Many years after humans played a part in destroying organic earth, inorganic creatures - morphed from earth's stone and metallic ore - battle for control of the land leftover.
Whiteley kicks off his story in a dismal dark world where the inhabitants are about to engage in a violent civil war. With beautiful descriptions and memorable characters, Whiteley masterfully provides commentary on the politics, habits, and the ways of his fantastical creatures that are the new rulers of earth. An utterly gripping saga that is written in the first person in a way that pulls you into the "alien" perspective by the assumption that this perspective is "normal." The fun of reading Whiteley's novel is that somehow, he manages to think of and describe these malevolent entities that equal the surrealistic creatures and nightmare landscapes that HR Giger conceived in drawings. There is also a considerable amount of gore and cruelty in the novel that is written in such a way that pulls at your emotions.
The story begins abruptly in a political setting as a politician, called a Marth, instigates insurrection against King Scarcoda. High Marth Cyclonas, a malmorgan creature with a conscience and self-awareness, is presenting rumors to the senate that the "once heroic king's mind is deteriorating away into hysteria and anarchy".
Told in the first person by Itonious, a lesser Marth, the reader is given a brief history of the planet and of the creatures inhabiting it. He then begins his tale of his quest for peace and to save the life of his son, who is being held, hostage. Told through internal consciousness, internal dialog, and conversations with living as well as dead leaders, he relates his life and death struggles in his travels. Making a pact with a viciously demonic Stonriek Lord, leads him into chaos and battles that challenge the reader's imagination. Visuals of stone bodies cracking open and spilling magma, violence, and gore leave visual impressions as the fractured inorganic bodies suffer pain and then slowly regenerate.
Itonious's life and death scenarios are filled with human emotions and mind games. He learns that Cyclonas, as well as other Marths, are secretly planning to overtake the king. He encounters strange, terrifying, and fierce malmonites that have a sense of hearing, smell, and touch but no self-awareness and fight to the death. In a magma crater, at the base of a city, he encounters an organic creature, the only organic being left on earth except for the ones he meets in a series of mirage in his mind. Somehow human souls have influenced the makeup of these stone creatures. He also makes references to the historical world and traits of the organic soul that is caged in his mind.
Itonious expresses empathy through his body language and internal dialog. He has the morals of a hero but is trapped by a life-or-death pledge. He has not abandoned his son but did the only thing he could to save his son's life.
How can Itonious save his son and escape the control of his evil master, that has a fragment of his heartstone giving him the ability to kill Itonious should he choose.
Whiteley excels at patient plotting, building his narrative slowly toward a satisfying, action-packed finale.