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Thursday, 21 January 2010

Review: Storm Glass

Author: Maria Snyder
Release date: UK 2009
Genre: Fantasy
Target audience: Adult/ YA cross over

Summary from Waterstones:
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?



Review:
Storm Glass is a thoroughly riveting fantasy which takes us into the territory of Ixia. Opal is one of the Cowan Clan and she is studying magic at the Keep. She has been there for four years living on the periphery and fearing that her magic is limited to one ability. She can put magic inside of glass. It is a skill that no other magician has developed but for Opal it isn't enough. She wants to prove her worth to the other students and show she is not a one-trick-pony.
 
Opal is an interesting main character. She is strong although she fails to recognise that much of the time. She is an intelligent female lead and surprisingly reflective which isn't a character trait you see very often. There are other fascinating characters too. Kade - a Storm Dance magician who can call the power of a storm into a glass orb. There is Yelena - who features in the Poison Study Series - a Soul finder. There is Devlen who is a dark force from Opal's past and a person she deeply fears.
 
The plot fell nicely into two parts. The novel begins by Opal being assigned a mission by the Master Magicians and this is the first half of the novel. The second half of the novel is Opal discovering pieces of a larger puzzle that she inadvertently uncovered from the original mission. The book is well-paced and easy to become completely absorbed by. Much of the story revolves around Opal's own questions about her true self. She is burdened by guilt and has to come to terms with the decisions she makes.
 
I really enjoyed the descriptions of the processes of the glass making and the atmosphere inside the factory. This is certainly a strength of the book. Snyder successfully communicates Opal's passion for working with glass and I am even tempted to find out where I can try my hand at glass blowing. Overall, this was a great fantasy read. The territory of Ixia was a magical yet dark world populated by clans competing for power. Although I think this book is aimed at the adult market (I saw it in the adult section of WH Smith), it is certainly accessible to YA readers. I recommend this to people who enjoy epic fantasy and the mystery of magic.
 

16 comments:

brizmus said...

This sounds awesome! I like how the whole magic under glass idea seems to play out, and I can't wait to read the descriptions of the glass factories. Super cool. . .
It's been a long time since I read a great epic fantasy, but I used to ADORE them! Thanks for this review!

Charlotte (The Book on the Hill) said...

Glass blowing + beautiful cover + your positive review + a protagonist named after a stone = I would love to read this ! Like Brizmus said, the glass factory sounds like a great place. I've always been amazed by glassblowers. There is one next to where I lived when I was young, and I often went there just to watch him. Thank you for the great review.

Luisa at Chicklish said...

I'm fascinated by the process of glass-blowing. Great review - thanks!

Shweta said...

Great review. The detailed glass making description show how much efforts Snyder put into writing this. I finished Sea Glass ( took days for my copy to arrive but worth the wait) It is awesome too.

prophecygirl said...

I can't wait to read this, it sounds ace! Aren't Maria's books published as YA in the US? Or is that just the Study series?

Anyway, great review!

Becky said...

I wrote this when I wasn't feeling very inspired so thanks for all those very nice comments. Think you might all be a little too polite. Bless you.

Jenny, as I wrote this before the signing I was just going by the fact that I'd seen the books shelved in the Adult section of WHSmith. I guess we need a US blogger to tell us if the series is published as a YA series. Also Opal is 20 so I guess that puts the books right on the cusp of the divide between YA and Adult. They are certainly accessible to both markets.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I keep hearing great things about this one. I like the UK cover.

LovesSam said...

They're marketed in the YA section I think, much like Graceling and Fire. Here both of them are marketed as adult novels. I looked in the YA section loads of times for these books and just presumed we didn't have the UK rights, but sure enough, they were hiding in the fantasy/sci fi section

Yunaleska said...

It's a great review - truely! I love it as a series, Ixia's such a fun world to explore as a reader.

Allie said...

Excellent review, I will definitely be adding it to my list!

Lauren said...

I'm always a little uncertain about trying crossover titles, but I do like the sound of the glass blowing aspect to this. I think I'll probably wait till Inside Out to try Snyder's writing, but if I like that I'll definitely keep this one in mind for a follow up.

I Want To Read That said...

Sounds good - I really fancied it after seeing the trailer. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the review:)

Sarah said...

This sounds really good :o) I've already got her Study series on my wish list but think I'm going to have to add this series too!

Janssen said...

I love good cross-over books!

Miriam Halahmy said...

The kind of review that will have me looking out for this book, and I am always interested in cross-over fiction, especially when the book may not have been intended for the wider audience.

Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

I liked this too! Great review!