After a bloody prologue, the Six opens with some familiar fantasy fare. We hop back and forth between several teenagers in a diverse set of unfortunate circumstances, but all of whom are experiencing significant dreams. As the aforementioned circumstances begin to drive the teenagers together, they realize that they are connected by a shared past, and in some cases, telepathy.
Their current adventure is rife with peril. A dragon king and his minions killed them once, and is hankering for a do-over. There’s also betrayal, as there are actually seven teens experiencing these dreams, and as the title clearly implies, one of them doesn’t belong. The characters represent a variety of backgrounds and personality types, and much of the book focuses around their personal interactions, which I felt were handled well. They start out wary of each other, but quickly begin to understand that they’re all a part of understanding the magic of the crystals.
Well, not the magic. Of course it's not magic. Towards the middle of the book the teens' mentors explain to their reincarnated, telepathic protégés that none of this is magic. It’s just science beyond your comprehension, you silly backwater teenagers. Now sing to your crystals of power before the sea monsters get you.
I’m aware that I am being snarky, and possibly unfair, here. The book stumbled upon one of my pet peeves, in that I have a hard time with science fantasy that pretends to be science fiction. I always feel that a story that attempts to demystify its own magical elements with false science diminishes its sense of wonder without becoming any more scientifically viable. If you would like me to retain my suspension of disbelief, it's best not to kick my inner-skeptic in the shins and remind him of all the science that makes this sort of stuff implausible. This is how midi-chlorians happen, people.
Overall, though, I found The Six and the Crystals of Ialana to be pleasant, if a bit routine. I feel like another round with a proofreader would do it some good, I think the villain is a bit flat, and I recognize that I am a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to mixing science in my fantasy. But the book has a good number of positive reviews on Goodreads (over 60 ratings at the time of this writing), and I can see why some people gave it high marks. There’s an entertaining story here with interesting, resilient characters that play well off each other, and it may be exactly what you’re looking for in your next book.