One of the risks to cutting crystal on the planet of Ballybran is memory loss. During the first two books, Killashandra was relatively new to singing crystal, so it wasn’t much of a problem. By the time that “Crystal Line” begins, there are noticeable lapses in her memory which progress as the book continues.
The Guild Master sends Killashandra and Lars Dahl (her soulmate from the last book) to investigate a planet that appears to have similar characteristics to Ballybran. It was an intriguing mission, and the duo discover a sentient metallic substance that absorbs anything that they feed it. However, they very quickly realize that they are out of their depth and leave it to scientists to further investigate.
After returning to Ballybran and to singing, years flash by as Killashandra experiences them. This was hard for me to read, and not at all enjoyable, as it reminded me of watching my grandmother’s deterioration from Alzheimer’s all over again. I realize that this isn’t any fault of the book, but rather my allowing personal experiences to cloud my reading. I couldn’t stop feeling awful for Lars, who managed to stay with Killashandra even as she became so forgetful as to not remember their relationship, and even though she pushed him away at every opportunity. Meanwhile, the old Guild Master killed himself, and Lars found himself taking over in his place, causing a further rift between him and Killashandra.
Lest I depress you or dissuade you from reading, I will say that I was quite satisfied with the ending, which was happy.
I like the fact that McCaffrey chose to keep focusing on Killashandra even as she lost her mind. That took talent, and you could still see her distinct personality as she kept assuring herself that she didn’t want to remember. It’s very interesting to read from the perspective of someone who is senile, while at the same time still being able to make sense of the story.
Overall, I would recommend this. It’s a good conclusion to the first two books, and the parts that I disliked were solely because of my own previous experiences. It’s a well-written book; it just wasn’t good for me because of the subject matter. Even though I didn’t care as much for this one, the trilogy is still one of my favorites when it comes to sci-fi novels.