Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Synopsis (from STORM GLASS (GLASS BOOK 1)
As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she never knew she possessed... powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.

My Review:
First, let me say that it was Emily who first turned me to Maria Snyder. It was her review of Poison Study (a most excellent book) that led me to check out from the library it's sequel, Magic Study, and put on hold the third book in the Yelena series, Fire Study.

While I waited for the third of that series to become available, I also checked out both Storm Glass and its sequel, Sea Glass. These both feature Opal Cowen, a character we meet in the second of the Study series, and take place 5 years after the end of that series. While it's not necessary to have read the Study series first since Snyder does a good job of reviewing important information, it might be handy to read them first so that you don't get any spoilers.

One of the things that I love about Snyder's books is that she does a great job of creating realistic characters with a depth and complexity of emotions. Unlike fierce and determined Yelena, Opal Cowen is a young magician with some serious self-confidence issues. She's never totally sure of her abilities and doesn't put herself forth as a powerful person. She's certainly not a pushover, though. I don't think I could like a character like that. Opal's growth through the story is believable and interesting, and her sense of ironic humor adds a little sparkle to the narration.

Another thing that is wonderful about the book is the relationship between the characters, particularly Opal and the two men in her life, Ulrick and Kade. As you read in the synopsis, Kade is mysterious and 'mercurial'. As a Stormdancer with his share of tragedy in his past, he keeps himself distant and pushes himself away from Opal without seeming like, let's face it, just another emo hero that our YA heroine's keep falling for. As readers, we know we like him, but he isn't really available. Ulrick, however, is a fiercely protective and loyal friend who is willing to take it slow. It's fun to watch the development of these relationships and I loved that the book didn't have a totally straightforward romantic plot and that it wasn't all about 'does he like me or doesn't he?'.

Dialogue is also something Snyder does well in this book. Opal engages in some witty and playful banter that I imagine must have been fun for Snyder to write. And although there is a lot of travel back and forth between locations, the book doesn't seem like a travelogue, which is something that has bothered me with a few books I've read recently.

About the only thing I can think of that I didn't really like in the book is that Opal occasionally gets a little mopish, and I wish I could slap some sense into her, but I think that's the way good books are. You have to feel like the characters are real people, insecurities and all, and love the people anyway. And I most certainly do. I've gorged on 4 Snyder novels in the last two weeks and I'm having some serious adventure withdrawals waiting for the third in the series to be released.

Also, remember that this is not categorized as YA fiction. There is a fair amount of violence, although it is not necessarily gruesome, and there are allusions to some pretty tough things that characters have undergone in their pasts. Danger in the book is real, as are the consequences of being a female in some tough situations, but nothing of this sort is written in a graphic or descriptive manner.

My Rating:
4 Stars

Profanity: None
Drugs and Alcohol: Moderate
Sexuality: Moderate
Violence: Moderate (no gore)

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  1. was thinking of reading this. I think I will it looks really good. I like that there is no gore that helps a lot!

  2. I'm so glad someone loves Maria like I do! She's an amazing writer I agree. I'm reading Inside Out right now, and it's SO GOOD!!! :)