Fast Forward Book Review for June 2011
The Glass Trilogy: Storm Glass, Sea Glass and Spy Glass
Maria V. Snyder
by Colleen R. Cahill
Last month I told you about Maria V. Snyder's Spy Glass, from MIRA Books. Just to be a completist, I am going to talk about the Glass series as a whole. With a heady mix of fantasy, adventure and intrigue, this trilogy is a great read and certainly worth the set of three volumes.
Opal Cowan has the ability to create magical glass animals that allow magicians to talk over a distance, kind of like wakie-talkies. A unique talent, she is, of course, sent for training, but it is very disappointing; after years of study, she still has only that one magical ability. It seems providence when the glass orbs used by Stormdancers to capture power start to explode, with fatal results. Opal’s experience with both magic and glass blowing makes her the perfect investigator. It is not a simple task and is made more complex by her being “ambushed, attacked, incarcerated and kidnapped”. Opal has stumbled into a conspiracy, and the glass orbs are just one piece of the puzzle.
For years, Opal has felt a “one-trick wonder” who is sneered at by her fellow students. When she discovers she has another unique power, it does not make her life easier, as Opal can steal the power from other magicians… permanently. This is hardly likely to make her popular with others, as they expect her to be as greedy for more power as they would be. When she is kidnapped a second time, it is because of this gift, or rather, her blood. The conspirators use blood magic and Opal’s is loaded with power; it can even turn those with barely an ability into powerful magicians. Secrecy is becoming key to Opal's continuing existence, and, as the story unfolds, there is a smaller and smaller group she can trust, both for their own protection as well as for hers.
This is not to say Opal is isolated. She is drawn to several men, from Kade, a Stormdancer of power and heart, to Ulrick, who is also a glass maker with a magical ability. She even has mixed feelings for Devlen, who practiced his blood magic on her. She also has help from her family, from the powerful Yelena, and even from Ixia, as at one point the Spy Master Valek offers her a job.
Straightforward and gentle Opal as a spy? Being at the center of a maelstrom is life changing and as can be expected, the Opal we meet in the Poison series is very different from the one who emerges in these volumes. Experience, both good and bad, shapes Opal much like blown glass is shaped during creation. While it is still glass, it is very altered from its original form.
As I said previously, you do have to read all three of the Glass series in order to understand the story, but the good news is all the books are available now. You can dive in without reading the Poison series, but doing so does make this a more enjoyable experience. So, what's holding you back? Time to enjoy a bit of adventure, magic and fun with Storm Glass, Sea Glass and Spy Glass.