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The Crystal Kingdom

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Based on the blockbuster podcast where the McElroy brothers and their dad play a tabletop RPG and illustrated by cartooning powerhouse Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom takes this #1 New York Times bestselling series to haunting new heights. A desperate call for help interrupts holiday celebrations at the Bureau of Balance, and sends Taako, Magnus and M Based on the blockbuster podcast where the McElroy brothers and their dad play a tabletop RPG and illustrated by cartooning powerhouse Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom takes this #1 New York Times bestselling series to haunting new heights. A desperate call for help interrupts holiday celebrations at the Bureau of Balance, and sends Taako, Magnus and Merle on a high-stakes mission to find and Reclaim a fourth deadly relic: a powerful transmutation stone, hidden somewhere in the depths of a floating arcane laboratory that’s home to the Doctors Maureen and Lucas Miller. An unknown menace has seized control of the stone, and is using it to transform the lab into a virulent pink crystal that spreads to everything it touches. It’s only a matter of time before this sparkling disaster crash-lands, but in order to find the stone and save the whole planet from being King Midased, our heroes will have to fight their way through a gauntlet of rowdy robots and crystal golems, decide whether they can trust the evasive Lucas Miller, and solve the mystery of what—or who—has put them all in peril, before there’s no world left to save.


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Based on the blockbuster podcast where the McElroy brothers and their dad play a tabletop RPG and illustrated by cartooning powerhouse Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom takes this #1 New York Times bestselling series to haunting new heights. A desperate call for help interrupts holiday celebrations at the Bureau of Balance, and sends Taako, Magnus and M Based on the blockbuster podcast where the McElroy brothers and their dad play a tabletop RPG and illustrated by cartooning powerhouse Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: The Crystal Kingdom takes this #1 New York Times bestselling series to haunting new heights. A desperate call for help interrupts holiday celebrations at the Bureau of Balance, and sends Taako, Magnus and Merle on a high-stakes mission to find and Reclaim a fourth deadly relic: a powerful transmutation stone, hidden somewhere in the depths of a floating arcane laboratory that’s home to the Doctors Maureen and Lucas Miller. An unknown menace has seized control of the stone, and is using it to transform the lab into a virulent pink crystal that spreads to everything it touches. It’s only a matter of time before this sparkling disaster crash-lands, but in order to find the stone and save the whole planet from being King Midased, our heroes will have to fight their way through a gauntlet of rowdy robots and crystal golems, decide whether they can trust the evasive Lucas Miller, and solve the mystery of what—or who—has put them all in peril, before there’s no world left to save.

30 review for The Crystal Kingdom

  1. 5 out of 5

    abby

    there's some uh SNAKES! and then the book's full of snakes, and you drown in snakes. it's all snakes. it's snakes all the way down. j.j. abrams wanted to take all this stuff out because it's real heavily laden with snakes and it becomes hard to follow because our heroes become snakes, and they are all married to snakes, and they use snakes as weapons! they eat snakes for fuel, and they become snake robots for a while. it's very confusing, got rid of most of the snakes. there's still a lot of sna there's some uh SNAKES! and then the book's full of snakes, and you drown in snakes. it's all snakes. it's snakes all the way down. j.j. abrams wanted to take all this stuff out because it's real heavily laden with snakes and it becomes hard to follow because our heroes become snakes, and they are all married to snakes, and they use snakes as weapons! they eat snakes for fuel, and they become snake robots for a while. it's very confusing, got rid of most of the snakes. there's still a lot of snakes, but i mean, there's just a regular amount of snakes for the adventure zone, which, for one thing, is still an enormous amount of snakes.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mara

    This series is just one of my yearly summer comfort reads at this point. TCK was a favorite arc on the original podcast, and this translation to the page was delightful. Noelle- my heart! Kravitz - love all the added flirting with Taako! And the ending for Maureen and Lucas - literally made me cry. I remember when the series was first coming out this was the arc where I was like... oh yeah. This is going interesting places. Also, I loved the behind the scenes material with the artist... I know n This series is just one of my yearly summer comfort reads at this point. TCK was a favorite arc on the original podcast, and this translation to the page was delightful. Noelle- my heart! Kravitz - love all the added flirting with Taako! And the ending for Maureen and Lucas - literally made me cry. I remember when the series was first coming out this was the arc where I was like... oh yeah. This is going interesting places. Also, I loved the behind the scenes material with the artist... I know next to nothing about how one adapts an existing property into a graphic novel, and it was very interesting to see how that process works

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mikorin

    highest anticipated title for 2021! this is the arc when i fell in love with the podcast

  4. 4 out of 5

    mia breckenridge scott

    the mcelroys: no bummers 😍🥰 corporeal barry bluejeans: you… found her? YOU FOUND HER??

  5. 5 out of 5

    The Bibliopossum

    UPDATE 7/16 4.75/5 The things that stayed consistent from the initial podcast were pretty good. There's a much better foundation for the Taako/Kravitz relationship. Roleplaying a romance in an audible space with a character your brother plays is hella awkward for sure, so letting it flourish in this rendition gives it a stronger beginning. And again, I need to reiterate that Kravitz is very yummy. I'm a little bummed they didn't keep the buckwild way the Horny Boys obtained the Philosopher's Stone, UPDATE 7/16 4.75/5 The things that stayed consistent from the initial podcast were pretty good. There's a much better foundation for the Taako/Kravitz relationship. Roleplaying a romance in an audible space with a character your brother plays is hella awkward for sure, so letting it flourish in this rendition gives it a stronger beginning. And again, I need to reiterate that Kravitz is very yummy. I'm a little bummed they didn't keep the buckwild way the Horny Boys obtained the Philosopher's Stone, but I completely understand why you wouldn't want to witness that whole procedure. You already have Upsy and the arm chop, we don't need another visceral visual for this book, pff. --------------------------------------------- UPDATE 4/20 (hell yeah) Kravitz got dropped in a recent online gathering for the novel and why is he so yummy? (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] --------------------------------------------- Aw HELL yeah, I'm here for Pan's lies and Kravitz's debut.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashe

    God LIED. where was Magnus swallowing the philosopher's stone? i wanted swirly guts otherwise, Kravitz is hot hot hot and the boiz were peak greatness let's not get started on the red robe and HER God LIED. where was Magnus swallowing the philosopher's stone? i wanted swirly guts otherwise, Kravitz is hot hot hot and the boiz were peak greatness let's not get started on the red robe and HER

  7. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Earle

    Pedals to the metal will always be my favourite arc BUT THIS WAS SO GOOD I love all the little Easter eggs and all the character development. It really adds to the podcast so we’ll! After finishing it I really wanted to go back and listen to all of Balance.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lizz

    Of course I loved this book. Did you think I wouldn't? Did you think the fourth graphic novel about my favorite podcast would suddenly disappoint and not punch me in the emotions yet once again? How foolish to even consider it. This volume is probably the arc that changed the most from the initial podcast, but that's not really a slight: cutting down on the number of fights to give the Millers and Kravitz more [meaningful] screen time was a great move. More Taako and Kravitz flirting? Love it. I Of course I loved this book. Did you think I wouldn't? Did you think the fourth graphic novel about my favorite podcast would suddenly disappoint and not punch me in the emotions yet once again? How foolish to even consider it. This volume is probably the arc that changed the most from the initial podcast, but that's not really a slight: cutting down on the number of fights to give the Millers and Kravitz more [meaningful] screen time was a great move. More Taako and Kravitz flirting? Love it. I can't believe Clint actually made me care about Lucas Freaking Miller. Yet again, I love all of the little in-jokes and foreshadowing that Clint and Carey throw in: No.3113's "hero time" was especially good, and by good I mean I put the book down and said "oh come on" out loud, and Magnus telling Avi he gave Garfield some of his blood before wondering, "I'm going to die, aren't I?" And then to end the book with the Seven Birds prophecy, the Red Robe's gift, and the silhouette of a certain spaceship? What a killer ending. Bits I yelled at (to Basia over texts): literally anything to do with Team Sweet Flips, the return of Angus McDonald, Kravitz being extra handsome, they somehow made Magnus' line about Julia sadder???? which I did not know was possible, they kept the Della Reese/Touched By An Angel joke. Honestly, the only thing I was sad to miss was Lucretia's "hot diggety shit, that is a baller cookie." (For real, though: Carey’s art suits this story so, so well, and her use of color is fantastic, especially in this book where the pink crystals are so dominant. Clint’s ability to streamline the rambling story they all created together is admirable, and I love so much that you can tell how much love went into this story, both initially and during the adaptation process. TL;DR - TAZ Balance made my 2019 (not a typo) bearable, it is near and dear to my heart, and getting to *see* and re-experience the story brings me massive amounts of joy. I am desperately, anxiously awaiting The Eleventh Hour (my favorite!) next summer.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Bea

    I think we're finally getting to where the podcast actually picks up. A lot of the comics before had felt a little flat in comparison to the podcast, but I actually had emotions at the end of this book. The action in the art still needs a bit of work, but actually being able to tell anything apart in a room full of pink crystal is pretty impressive! Excited for the next one now! I think we're finally getting to where the podcast actually picks up. A lot of the comics before had felt a little flat in comparison to the podcast, but I actually had emotions at the end of this book. The action in the art still needs a bit of work, but actually being able to tell anything apart in a room full of pink crystal is pretty impressive! Excited for the next one now!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eva B.

    The most aesthetically pleasing, but not my favorite of the storylines. Lucas <3

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Ames-Foley

    i almost cried 4x 😌 highly recommend listening to the Crystal Kingdom OST while reading: https://griffinmcelroy.bandcamp.com/a... i almost cried 4x 😌 highly recommend listening to the Crystal Kingdom OST while reading: https://griffinmcelroy.bandcamp.com/a...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grace W

    (c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) Loved this one! I love the changes they made from the source material and oh boy did they do good things with Kravitz! It did also make me cry and give me goosebumps and remind me that I want to get a Seven Birds tattoo...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bryn

    God these books are just so. I never thought a visual/non-audio medium could really capture the whole Vibe of TAZ, but these have definitely managed it. I especially love the fan art in the back as always, and this time there were art processes too! I just can’t emphasize how perfect all the art, the character design (I mean Carey? Lucas? Noelle!? KRAVITZ?!?), and how all the technical comic details are brought together. And all the little Easter eggs and references; this is really like listenin God these books are just so. I never thought a visual/non-audio medium could really capture the whole Vibe of TAZ, but these have definitely managed it. I especially love the fan art in the back as always, and this time there were art processes too! I just can’t emphasize how perfect all the art, the character design (I mean Carey? Lucas? Noelle!? KRAVITZ?!?), and how all the technical comic details are brought together. And all the little Easter eggs and references; this is really like listening to the podcast for the first time all over again, and it’s wonderful. And as a side note, I may or may not have cried (dammit Maureen always gets me!) which certainly does not bode well for my emotional state for upcoming arcs. The Eleventh Hour is gonna hit me like a murder train to the face, and I am READY FOR IT!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Leif

    Perfectly fine! There's something about the TAZ graphic novels that always leaves me a little cold, but I found this one of the more interesting story arcs and enjoyed it as a whole, so maybe that's just me grumbling. I will say that not having Griffin's exquisite musical accompaniment to the graphic novel is a big step down from the podcast for this arc - that's inarguable. Perfectly fine! There's something about the TAZ graphic novels that always leaves me a little cold, but I found this one of the more interesting story arcs and enjoyed it as a whole, so maybe that's just me grumbling. I will say that not having Griffin's exquisite musical accompaniment to the graphic novel is a big step down from the podcast for this arc - that's inarguable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joey Nardinelli

    I feel like it’s a challenge for Carey and Clint to make this a less than 5-star product at this point. I REALLY enjoyed Carey’s breakdown of her artistic process and notes on how she ended up designing many of the characters (while pointing out things like the Pan pipes on Merle’s sweater that I hadn’t noticed). She clearly is passionate about many of the side characters too (Kravitz, Killian, and Carey especially) and I think it shows in the efforts here. Admittedly, the pink crystal overload I feel like it’s a challenge for Carey and Clint to make this a less than 5-star product at this point. I REALLY enjoyed Carey’s breakdown of her artistic process and notes on how she ended up designing many of the characters (while pointing out things like the Pan pipes on Merle’s sweater that I hadn’t noticed). She clearly is passionate about many of the side characters too (Kravitz, Killian, and Carey especially) and I think it shows in the efforts here. Admittedly, the pink crystal overload of this volume might distract a bit from the clarity of action and just like past volumes, I found myself going back over and sometimes missing details that I could in fact find on re-examination. The use of icons for characters when they are talking through devices or out of panel was also a really brilliant choice for coherency. As such, while this is maybe the volume I was least interested in (it’s bookended by my favorite, 11th Hour, and second favorite, Petals to the Metal), I actually think compositionally and narratively that it might be the tightest, albeit at the expense of some comedy (and 11th Hour won’t be out for another year so who knows…). I still adore these as companion pieces though and now, two episodes into Graduation, I might find myself jumping back into Balance for a bit…

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sofia Panagoulias

    Did this book just get released today? Yes. Have I already finished it? Of course. The Crystal Kingdom is one of my favorite arcs in The Adventure Zone: Balance campaign, and so I was really anticipating seeing the story and characters illustrated. I loved the character design for Kravitz, and you can really see Pietsch's art steadily improving over this series. While I was sad some fan-favorite moments like Lucretia trying one of Taako's macaroons weren't included, Carey made up for it with lot Did this book just get released today? Yes. Have I already finished it? Of course. The Crystal Kingdom is one of my favorite arcs in The Adventure Zone: Balance campaign, and so I was really anticipating seeing the story and characters illustrated. I loved the character design for Kravitz, and you can really see Pietsch's art steadily improving over this series. While I was sad some fan-favorite moments like Lucretia trying one of Taako's macaroons weren't included, Carey made up for it with lots of banter between the Tres Horny Boys and Kravitz (especially him and Taako) which I really enjoyed. It was cool to see more of his interactions with the others than what we were supplied with in the podcast. Also, Carey and Killian's relationship! We don't officially know they're a couple until much later in the podcast, but Pietsch makes it quite clear right away, similar with how she portrayed Hurley and Sloane's relationship in the previous GN. We love to see it! Anyways, this was definitely one of the best installments of this series yet, and I'm super excited for The Eleventh Hour to be released next!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    Incredible, fun, and a wild ride. This is the arc that really hooked me in to the adventure zone podcast so seeing it all come together on a page was awesome. Its been a while since I listened but I instantly clicked in with this insane roller coaster of a plot. So much good stuff happens and this arc really punches up the spooky foreshadowing for the absolute mindboggler of a series ending. Also this is the one where things get gay which we ALWAYS support and we are CAREY AND KILLIAN STANS IN T Incredible, fun, and a wild ride. This is the arc that really hooked me in to the adventure zone podcast so seeing it all come together on a page was awesome. Its been a while since I listened but I instantly clicked in with this insane roller coaster of a plot. So much good stuff happens and this arc really punches up the spooky foreshadowing for the absolute mindboggler of a series ending. Also this is the one where things get gay which we ALWAYS support and we are CAREY AND KILLIAN STANS IN THIS HOUSE. Lovely art, great pacing and plot, awesome read

  18. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    Excellent art, as usual, and a solid adaptation of the source material! It's been literally years since I listened to Balance at this point, but it felt more obvious here than in previous volumes that there was a lot left out. However, it does feel like they cut to the core of the story without too many compromises and this also marks the big pivot towards the story that is going to unfold over the course of the rest of the series. I do think it could have benefited from a more suspenseful build Excellent art, as usual, and a solid adaptation of the source material! It's been literally years since I listened to Balance at this point, but it felt more obvious here than in previous volumes that there was a lot left out. However, it does feel like they cut to the core of the story without too many compromises and this also marks the big pivot towards the story that is going to unfold over the course of the rest of the series. I do think it could have benefited from a more suspenseful buildup to the reveal for this volume, but I'm not sure what you would change in adapting it to accomplish that and also fit everything else in. Overall, it you liked the previous volumes there's no reason why you wouldn't like this one!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Thea Jacobsen

    This was the book I was the most curious about how they would adapt. But they have trimmed down the podcast material very cleverly. The story still feels rushed from time to time, but it was still a great time! and they wrote in some more Kravitz parts, just like I hoped for.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Quinn

    Pros - The sequential art is still great, and adds life and personality to the characters - Set-up for plot points in coming works without being overbearing - LGBTQ representation - Surprisingly poignant, life-affirming story Cons - Benefits from the reading of the previous three books; it works well-enough as a self-contained story, but it's even better with context. The humor also ands better when you've spent some time with the characters and their players. Conclusion Fans of "The Adventure Zone" (T Pros - The sequential art is still great, and adds life and personality to the characters - Set-up for plot points in coming works without being overbearing - LGBTQ representation - Surprisingly poignant, life-affirming story Cons - Benefits from the reading of the previous three books; it works well-enough as a self-contained story, but it's even better with context. The humor also ands better when you've spent some time with the characters and their players. Conclusion Fans of "The Adventure Zone" (TAZ) were already going to read this one. With that said, as comic-book TAZ expands its world, characters, and plot, fans of D&D, fantasy, and even the occasional emotional gut-punch would be well-served by checking it out.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Peoria Public Library

    Spencer rated it 4 stars.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Basia

    I love these good, good boys.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

    Delightful

  24. 4 out of 5

    Isa

    I SWEAR next year I'll give TAZ Balance a good relisten before The Eleventh Hour comes out. This was just so good is the thing... Even from a purely artistic standpoint, although I will admit I am biased, the art keeps getting better every single year, the McElroys and Carey Pietsch just know how to tell a story. I had to put the book down a few times because this arc is just so iconic... The introduction of Kravitz.... Maureen Miller.... "You found her?!".... The emotional whiplash this book gav I SWEAR next year I'll give TAZ Balance a good relisten before The Eleventh Hour comes out. This was just so good is the thing... Even from a purely artistic standpoint, although I will admit I am biased, the art keeps getting better every single year, the McElroys and Carey Pietsch just know how to tell a story. I had to put the book down a few times because this arc is just so iconic... The introduction of Kravitz.... Maureen Miller.... "You found her?!".... The emotional whiplash this book gave me in 2.5 hours is unreal. I know this word has lost its meaning in internet spaces but I am: going feral On a more serious note, coming back to this series again feels like coming home just a little bit. I love this story and how it's only made better by the creators' ability to retell it in a different medium. Can't wait for The Eleventh Hour. I'm gonna need to lie down... listen to Julia by Reeder for a few hours

  25. 5 out of 5

    Renata

    I really dug this! It's one of my fav arcs from the podcast and I thought the way this got streamlined into a graphic novel worked really well. Also good job making Kravitz super hot. I really dug this! It's one of my fav arcs from the podcast and I thought the way this got streamlined into a graphic novel worked really well. Also good job making Kravitz super hot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Another great addition to the TAZ graphic novel adaptations! Carey Pietsch's artwork is as perfect as always. And while the story occasionally got bogged down in setting up some of the metaphysical explanations for the larger overarching plot, I still thoroughly enjoyed this one. Another great addition to the TAZ graphic novel adaptations! Carey Pietsch's artwork is as perfect as always. And while the story occasionally got bogged down in setting up some of the metaphysical explanations for the larger overarching plot, I still thoroughly enjoyed this one.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Gretal

    This was great, of course. The podcast is less fresh in my head now than when I read the previous books, but I think the changes that were made were great and I'm excited for the next one. This was great, of course. The podcast is less fresh in my head now than when I read the previous books, but I think the changes that were made were great and I'm excited for the next one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roaming_library

    I loved this next book in the TAZ series! The Crystal Kingdom had the same level of humor and adventure, paired with Carey Pietsch's beautiful art. It is great to see how the story is progressing, and we got to meet some of my favorite characters in this arc. As usual, the inclusion of diversity was wonderful to see, the jokes balanced out the more serious moments well, and the whole thing was a lot of fun to read. (view spoiler)[I especially loved Kravitz's design, the description "super handso I loved this next book in the TAZ series! The Crystal Kingdom had the same level of humor and adventure, paired with Carey Pietsch's beautiful art. It is great to see how the story is progressing, and we got to meet some of my favorite characters in this arc. As usual, the inclusion of diversity was wonderful to see, the jokes balanced out the more serious moments well, and the whole thing was a lot of fun to read. (view spoiler)[I especially loved Kravitz's design, the description "super handsome face" isn't a lot to go on, but Carey Pietsch really nailed it. I love all the little details added, like his skull socks, and his different forms from 'human' to 'skeleton'. (hide spoiler)] It is also really cool to see how they change aspects of the story, not only to better fit the medium, but also with the added knowledge of where the story is going to end up (something they didn't entirely have when making the podcast). I loved all the bits of foreshadowing added, and how they adjusted certain character arcs (view spoiler)[i.e. showing Killion and Carey's relationship and Taako and Kravitz's relationship developing or starting sooner. Those moments were very sweet (hide spoiler)] . And of course not everything from the podcast can make it into the graphic novel, but I liked how some of the things left out were still referenced in the artwork. I absolutely cannot wait for the next one in the series, especially since the next arc is one of my favorite ones.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Janta

    As with previous entries, the McElroys and Pietsch do a beautiful job adapting the podcast to a GN format. The storyline is really nicely tightened up, with some adjustments to how, when and where some information is revealed. Nothing too retcon-y, mind; there's just a really nice flow to the story, something that can be hard to achieve in an actual session of D&D. Pietsch's art is, as always, just perfect for the TAZ vibe; I think she just nails the character designs and expressions. Her backgr As with previous entries, the McElroys and Pietsch do a beautiful job adapting the podcast to a GN format. The storyline is really nicely tightened up, with some adjustments to how, when and where some information is revealed. Nothing too retcon-y, mind; there's just a really nice flow to the story, something that can be hard to achieve in an actual session of D&D. Pietsch's art is, as always, just perfect for the TAZ vibe; I think she just nails the character designs and expressions. Her backgrounds and set design are delightful as well. (A moment of spoiler-y squee: (view spoiler)[OMG KRAVITZ! Lookin' very good indeed. I think adding more detail to the relationship between Kravitz and Taako was absolutely the right call here, and it's just a joy to see. (hide spoiler)] )

  30. 5 out of 5

    Peyton Tracy

    Flawless, as usual! This arc is such a pivotal one in the series and I loved loved loved how this one built on the original narrative to draw more consistent threads throughout that build on the previous graphic novels. And the characters? GORGEOUS designs - Carey and Killian? Love them. Noelle? YES. KRAVITZ?? *swoon* all flawless, dahling! Also, maybe an unpopular opinion, but I liked how all the battles in this were handled compared to the podcast - it made for new experiences with this story Flawless, as usual! This arc is such a pivotal one in the series and I loved loved loved how this one built on the original narrative to draw more consistent threads throughout that build on the previous graphic novels. And the characters? GORGEOUS designs - Carey and Killian? Love them. Noelle? YES. KRAVITZ?? *swoon* all flawless, dahling! Also, maybe an unpopular opinion, but I liked how all the battles in this were handled compared to the podcast - it made for new experiences with this story and I love that endlessly! Can’t wait for the next one!!

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