Book Review: ‘Crossing Over’ by Anna Kendall

Posted: 21 July 2011 in Book reviews
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I was doing my occasional perusing of the bookstore when I stumbled upon this book. I was in Waterstones (a bookstore in England) looking for English novels. Since I was in England at that time, I really wanted to find some great English authors that I would be less likely to find once I got back to the States. This just happened to be one of those books.

One of the things I love about this book is that it is a dark fantasy. Like other popular dark fantasies, it revels in the disturbingly perverse elements of the supernatural. It is by no means a light and fluffy fantasy suited for kids of all ages. I would definitely give this book a PG-13 rating. Not because of language, scenes of sexuality or even overly-indulged violence. Simply from the disturbing and sometimes shocking and graphic expression of human brutality, life and beliefs.

The story revolves around a teenage boy Roger who in the beginning lives with his manipulative and abusive uncle Hartah and complacent aunt Jo. Roger has the ability to cross over to the world of the dead. All that is required is pain and consciously letting go. His uncle first discovered this when Roger was 6 years old. From then on, he used the boy to con people, making them believe that they could communicate with those who had passed on. But Roger knows that this is not always so. As luck would have it, in a botched act of piracy, Hartah and Jo die, but not before Jo reveals to Roger the location where he should search for his mother.

After being saved from hanging by the wife of the ship’s captain (she survived, he didn’t) he ends of in the capitol city working as a ‘laundress’ for the queen. But once again he is summoned to cross over (an act which is seen as a form of witchcraft which could get you killed), this time by the queen who somehow learned of his abilities. Displaced from his role as a ‘laundress’ to the role of the queen’s fool, Roger is thrust into a world of conspiracy, royal rivalry, civil war and a fight for survival. To top it all off, he has caused the world of the dead to become unbalanced and must figure out a way to stop it from destroying itself and the world of the living.

He finally abandons the castle to search for Lady Cecilia, his love. Kept company by his new friend Maggie, the travel to Soulvine Moor, a place of unknown horror that people will not talk about. This is also the place that Jo told him about. But once he arrives there, his life is forever changed.

From here on out, I cannot tell the rest of the story as it gives away what happens to various characters and I’d rather give you the reader the opportunity to find it for yourselves.

I have to say that Anna Kendall has done an excellent job in creating this story. This is the first story I have read about a person who can cross over to the land of the dead in this way. Of course you have the greek myths about heroes travelling to the underworld, but in those cases, the underworld is a tangible place where any person could access it. In this book, Roger is one of few who are capable of doing so. Plus her characters are wonderfully different. Roger the naive teenager, Maggie the angry and lovelorn maid, Lady Cecilia the superficial lady, the queen the devious manipulator, and so on. Each one has a role and they play it perfectly. Not to mention of course the superb writing.

What makes this beautifully woven story even better is the fact that there is a sequel. I cannot wait to read it. If it is anything like ‘Crossing Over’, it will most definitely be a treat. For those who love dark fantasies and stories that are different from the mainstream mould, ‘Crossing Over’ is just the book for you. Enjoy 😉

  1. Ashley says:

    I love the book but please can you tell me is there going to be another book or not. I hope there is because there are so many questions i still want to know.


    • cetracy says:

      yes there is. it is called dark mist rising. it has been available for a few months now. i have yet to read it but i cannot wait. once you read it let me know what you think. cheers 🙂


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