Aug 24, 2010

Posted by in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (Glass #1)

May 1 2009
Trade Paperback
488 pages
Mira Books

Kick Ass Chick – Opal Cowan

From Goodreads

“As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowan 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 in to 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 hadn’t known she possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.”

After reading tons and tons of books about werewolves and shifters and vampires and fairies, how would it feel to read a fantastical book where only magic resides?  A pure fantasy with no huge monsters, no crazy moon phases and no bubbling cauldrons?  Apparently, it would feel like a very nice change of pace – especially when that book is written by Maria V. Snyder and when it takes place in her wonderfully crafted world.

My love for Maria’s books goes way back.  (Okay, I know I’ve only been reading novels for fun for 17 or so months…  just be quiet!  I mean way back to the beginning of my reading addiction).  It started when I decided that I was a little too grown up to only read YA titles anymore, but I was still a little embarrassed hesitant to dive into full on grown up paranormal romance material. I did my research and discovered Maria’s ‘Study’ series.  I fell in love with Poison Study.  To this day, it’s still one of my all-time favorite books.  I loved everything about it.  The story, the world, the adventure and of course Yelena, Valek (Mmm Valek!…) and the many other wonderful characters.  When I was finished reading the ‘Study’ series, I didn’t have to worry too much about going through Maria V. Snyder withdrawal because her ‘Glass’ series was already under way.

“Storm Glass” is the first book in Maria’s newest trilogy set in the lands of Ixia and Sitia.  It takes place five years after “Fire Study” and follows the adventures and misadventures of Opal Cowan, the glass magician who helped Yelena trap the bad guys into glass her figurines.  Even though her magic is unique and has helped better the lives of pretty much everyone in Sitia, Opal is not a confident person.  She is studying magic at the keep where she feels alone and isolated, even though she is surrounded by students.  Opal is very well written.  You feel her plight to fit in – her struggle to find and understand herself and where she stands in her world.

I am really glad that Maria has decided to incorporate characters from her ‘Study’ series into “Storm Glass”.  The mix of old and new will delight fans of her ‘Study’ series, but not overly confuse readers newly introduced to Maria’s books.  Yelena and her brother Leif make an appearance.  I loved their sibling banter in this book.  Very funny.  Leif is great at bringing a smile to your face even as you are reading about something as dire as the use of blood magic or the possible demise of the Sitian government.  Master Magician Zitora Cowan is Opal’s travel escort and school mentor.  Opal feels comfortable and trusting of Zitora and comes to value her friendship as well as her guidance.  Their interactions on the page are delightful.

The new characters we meet are plenty.  Each compelling in their own way, but a few do tend to stand out.  Ulrick, a fellow glass maker and potential glass magician.  Devlen, a swordsman and all-around suspicious character.  And Kade, the most powerful Stormdancer.  Opal meets Kade when she is asked to accompany Zitora on a mission to try and discover the reason behind why the Stormdancer’s glass orbes are breaking, subsequently killing the magicians.  Kade is a lovely character.  A brooding hero that Opal feels an attraction towards.  He tries to convince Opal of her worth.  He tells her that she should be proud of who she is and of all that she has accomplished.  Opal is reluctant.  That is when you think Kade is charming and you think he’d be a good match for our heroine.  But once the Stormdancer’s issue is resolved, Kade and Opal part ways and you are left thinking “Say what?!”

Many happening make you think “Say what?!” in this book.  The suspense in this story is not the kind that makes you want to throw the book across the room and bang your head against the wall.  It’s the kind that makes you wonder how on earth the author came up with that idea and makes you wish you could read faster to find out how it will all come to pass.

“Storm Glass” is an entertaining and exciting adventure story.  You truly don’t ever know where the story is headed which makes it a fun read.  The new characters are great and the revisiting characters put a smile to your face.  You won’t get totally disoriented if you don’t read Maria’s ‘Study’ series first, but you will get more out of the story if you do.  I recommend that you do.  I’m looking forward to reading the next chapter of Opal’s adventure; because the ending will definitely make you grateful that “Sea Glass” is already in stores and that you don’t have to wait to find out what’s next.

5 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’My feelings for you haven’t changed.  I just lied to myself for a while.  But now…Damn it, Kade, you’ve given me a reason to live.’

‘How is that bad?’

‘My plans worked so much better when I thought you didn’t want me.  I don’t have any other ideas on how to get us out of this.’”

  1. I can’t even say how happy I am that you recommended this series to me all those months ago. I literally went from one book to the next without breathing. I miss that magical world and the vivid detail and I can’t, can’t, can’t wait for the next book in the series. Love the review and you’re so right, the series is so much more thoroughly enjoyed when reading the Study series first. Looking forward to your interview and the rest of the series this week. And am I ever looking forward to seeing what happens to Valek… yummmm!

  2. Thanks for the review Julie. I’ve heard great things about this series but, I’ve never really been much of a fantasy reader. Are these books Lord of the Rings type fantasy or something a little less hardcore?

  3. Jen D. – Much less hard core! And much easier reads.

  4. Well if that’s the case I’ll consider giving the series a try.

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