My first encounter with Anne McCaffrey may very well be the best. "Crystal Singer" is an engrossing book, with a very headstrong and admirable female character. By the time her new direction in life is setup and put into motion, I was totally entranced with the book and simply could not put it down. The characters, both male and female, are well fleshed out, and her rise from a rejected opera student to a full fledged crystal singer is a fascinating journey to embark on. The premise for the book - singing and cutting crystal - is unusual and well presented. There is a definite otherworldly flavor to the book as it has a strong sci fi theme that does not assault the reader with too much techno babble, thus its an enjoyable book for the diehards and the casual alike. As the first of a trilogy, its delightful, but also stands alone well with its satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended, but with a word of warning, its nearly impossible to break away from the lure of crystal.