Once again, I've been dawdling - you know what it's like when you're on a course about "Financial and Business Skills", you just get swept up in all the fun and forget everything else! Ok, so that isn't quite the case but I have had 'homework' for the first time since I was at uni so that's been taking up my time nicely...ANYway on to the review.
Cumulative Rating:4 stars
Source: Bought from Waterstones website
Genre: Fantasy; (possibly) YA
Published: By Mira Books in July and September 2009 respectively
The Synopses (Is that the plural of a 'synopsis'? Interesting...)
Storm Glass:Untrained. Untested. Unleashed. With her unique magical abilities, Opal has always felt unsure of her place at Sitia's magic academy. But when the Stormdancer clan needs help, Opal's knowledge makes her the perfect choice - until the mission goes awry. Pulling her powers in unfamiliar directions, Opal finds herself tapping into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. Now Opal must deal with plotters out to destroy the Stormdancer clan, as well as a traitor in their midst. With danger and deception rising around her, will Opal's untested abilities destroy her - or save them all?
Sea Glass: This is obviously the second in the Glass Trilogy so, in the interests of not spoiling the first one for you - if you want it read it, head here to GoodReads. Otherwise, go buy the books right away :)
I really enjoyed them so when I was offered a review copy of Spy Glass (the third in the Glass Trilogy) I was excited but couldn't bear to read it in isolation so I snatched up the first two and have finally got round to reading them, obviously back to back as is my usual unrestrained style.
Firstly, I definitely wouldn't say that to have to read the Study series before you read this but it does, I think, make the experience a lot more rounded and gives you much needed background on a lot of the characters, political intrigue, history and the magic. Although if you don't want to or don't have time, don't feel you have to - this series is fantastic in isolation too!
As before, I love the magic in this series - the whole world is coated with power from which some can draw. Those that can, are magicians. Opal Cowan is unique in that she can only draw power to glass - creating 'glass messengers' that magicians use to communicate with each other (think glass magic meets mobile phone technology...). Her abilities make her both revered among older magicians and an outcast among her peers. She struggles with being a one trick wonder and trying to find her place in the magical community.
Admittedly, at times, Opal can be a tad on the whiny side and it is a bit off-putting earlier on in the first novel but, I promise, she does get better. I love that she reacts to her experiences like a 'real person' - her relationships seem more realistic than those often found in fantasy novels aimed at younger readers as they are more complex. I've read criticism of the love triangle but I think it works and helps bring Opal to life more. The development of Opal throughout the books is fabulous and I find that the stories shift to reflect that.
Lastly, the dialogue in particular is perfect in this novel, if heavy on the sarcasm. There are moments when I've actually chuckled to myself and that kind of light relief is necessary when you have torture and murder lurking around! The stories get dark but are so involving that I was absolutely hooked.
Overall: This is sharper and snappier than the Study series and is greatly entertaining. There are some of what the film/TV industry call 'adult themes', as before, which make the series more gritty and exciting than the more commonplace fantasy offerings - I've yet to finish the series but I love the way its shaping up!
You can read another (less waffly) review of Storm Glass here over at e-Volving Books.
I'm currently reading Spy Glass so should be reviewing it over the weekend! And now, off to enjoy some Jonny Depp in Alice in Wonderland - Jonny Depp in full Blu-Ray loveliness? Yes, please!! :)