In Part Two of my review of the Glass Series by Maria V Snyder, I discuss what I liked and didn’t like about the series, without spoilers! If you want to know the premise of this series, you can find a quick overview of it in Part One of my review.
I bought Storm Glass over a year ago, intent on reading it quickly so that I could move onto the second half of the Study series. At the time I didn’t realize who the main character was going to be only that it was recommended to read before the second part of the Study series to avoid spoilers. Thus I knew it took place in the same world. That isn’t to say I was only reading it for that sake, as Maria V Snyder is an excellent author and I did figure I would like these books, I just really wanted to continue on with the main character of the Study series.
When I learned this book would follow Opal, a glass blower and an interesting character from the Study series, I was happy and excited to read the book. However due to life and all that comes with it, it took over a year before I finally got to this book. Yet, I am thankful for this as I think I read these books at the right time. For one I was craving them by the time I got to them. The other reason I will get to in a moment.
What I liked or loved about this series:
The scenes describing glass blowing were very well done. Glass blowing has been an interest of mine for years. Thanks to the wonderful resource that is the internet I have learned quite a lot in that time and can tell you that I found nothing wrong in the terminology or descriptions that Snyder used during they glass blowing scenes. The fact that the author did obvious research on the topic and ensured her terminology and depictions were correct is something I really appreciate as not all writers do this. It makes the writing come alive and shows the author cares. Also I enjoyed reading a book were the main character is a glass blower.
It took until 2/3rds of the way through the first book before I realized I was reading a book set in 1st person perspective. This is a feat because I generally like 3rd person the best and normally notice 1st person point of view immediately and it takes a few paragraph or pages for me to get used to the 1st person perspective. Not this time because Snyder’s writing is so well worded and edited.
These books also don’t end with a cliffhanger which I will endlessly appreciate. Additionally, they pick up essentially where the last book ends so you get to see the consequences and ramifications of the previous book. However, one downside to this is that a lot happens to Opal in such a short period of time.
Throughout the three books, Opal goes through several transformations and character developments due to the situations she is thrown into and I really liked seeing her development. The impacts of the events in her life and her actions have consequences and those consequences impacted her character which influenced how she reacted to new events. Snyder did a great job at balancing this process and making it believable. One of Opal’s transformations was skimmed over and I would have liked to have seen more of it, however it would have made the book over 500 pages and most people wouldn’t have wanted to read through those scenes. Opal isn’t the only one to develop as a character over the course of this book, and development is not limited to main characters, another thing I appreciate.
These books follow a more character driven plot. The last two books do have more of an overarching plot line but they are still very character driven books. On a similar note, I also liked learning more about Opal’s powers, which where unique, interesting and nothing I’ve ever really seen before.
I read Storm Glass at a great point in my life. In this book Opal has feelings of doubt about herself, her skills and usefulness and is undergoing a transition from student to the work place and being the expert. At this point in my life I am also transitioning and going through similar feelings of doubt. I appreciate the reflections I can see of my life in Storm Glass.
The third book is the first time I remember Opal being described as not white (in this series, it likely happened in the Study series). This could be because I was reading too fast or because it didn’t occur previous to the third book. Either way, it’s annoying that it took that long but I do appreciate when PoC are in fantasy books where the plot is not driven by the colour of their skin. White people get to go on many adventures where skin colour is not a factor and PoC should get the same opportunity.
What I didn’t like or detested about this series:
There are certain themes and/or plot line/tropes that appear in every one of Snyder’s books and the Glass series was no exception. In the last book, Spy Glass, I almost thought I would get through a book without one of the plot lines occurring, yet in the last 22% it happened, making it 6 for 6 of the books I have read of hers. Most of her books this even happens multiple times making it all the more annoying and repetitive. More on this in the third part of this review.
In general, these books were well written and thought out, however there were a few inconsistencies that were over looked.
Another thing I had issue with was the fact that none of the ‘plot twists’ were actually plot twisty. I figured out all of them before they happened. It could be that I’m particularly astute and put together all the clues, but really I think the foreshadowing was just very heavy handed.
These books also contain the tired old ‘we touched and there were sparks’. As an asexual person this is all foreign to me however I watched a video recently by Sam at Thoughts on Tomes in which she has basically the same opinion as me: it’s not really a thing that happens and it puts unrealistic expectations on young woman for what a relationship should be.
There was a sort-of love triangle thing in these books, however it was about the least eye-roll worthy one I have read in years. Yet, I did not like the ultimate outcome (who Opal picked) for reasons that are spoilery and I will discuss at length in the third part of this review. In fact I was so very much against this person that it dropped the book rating 2 stars, a first for me.
I felt one of the books had a bit of deus ex machina at the end to resolve the plot, though agin, it wasn’t the worst case I have ever seen.
One of the books instead of using the ‘miscommunication’ trope used the ‘no one believes the main character’ trope instead to create tension. While it worked really well since I was super frustrated, I did like seeing the impact it had on Opal.
Finally, as a microbiologist, the blood magic parts of these books grosses me out just due to how easy it is to transfer disease through blood.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series and it was a solid 4 star read for me. The last book I did give 2 stars on but it was a 4 star read up until the last 20% or so when the same old tired trope showed up again and the final love interest was revealed that I am violently against them being together. This is one of the main things I want to talk about in the last spoilery discussion post on this series. If you are curious and don’t mind spoilers please join me for that! Despite giving the book 2 stars and not likely the ending, I was glad to have read the third book and would recommend this series to people that love fantasy and character-driven books. Again, these are adult books, and have triggering content to them so inform yourself if you do have triggers before picking these up.