Title: The Glass Spare
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: The Glass Spare, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
I found this book through a recommendation, and I was excited by the pretty cover. I had one last renewal on it before it went back to the library, so I pushed it up to the top of the stack so I could read it before then. When I finally did, I was rewarded with a rich, rip-roaring fantasy, complete with runaway princesses, dark, forbidden magic, political intrigue, mysterious curses, assassins, and deadly secrets—this book was almost perfect. The only issue is, some of the worldbuilding wasn’t explained clearly, and it left something to be desired; other than that, it was a really great book, and I can’t wait for the sequel!
Princess Wilhemina ‘Wil’ Heidle knows her place in the royal hierarchy. She is one of three spares, and she’s desperate to prove her worth to her cold, distant father, who sees his only daughter as a means to an end. She is his spy, bringing information and other resources so that he can expand his growing empire. Never mind that she longs for her own life, to explore the world and find out who she is on her own terms. But when tragedy strikes and she discovers a dark, hidden power inside of her, she is forced to flee her kingdom and strike out on her own for the first time. When she is drawn into a dangerous web of political alliances and intrigue, she discovers that everyone has their own motives, and more than one person want to use her dangerous, intoxicating power for themselves. And that’s not even mentioning the mysterious, frightening boy who pleads for her help and has dark secrets of his own…
I really enjoyed this book, even with its few flaws. It was a stunning series opener, with gorgeous prose and characters that I really grew to love and care for. It took a little while for me to get in to; for a minute there, I was nervous that I was going to have to shelve it. But once things really started rolling, the pacing became breakneck and I couldn’t put it down; there were times when I could barely focus on my real life, the book was in my head so deeply. I loved the political intrigue; that was one of my favorite things about the book. Wil’s family offered a sharp, biting contrast to her restless nature. Her loving, superstitious mother and science-mad brother were particular standouts. I also really liked Zay and Loom, two people from a neighboring kingdom with a deep relationship and secrets of their own to hide. And the romance! Ugh, I was totally swooning, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was screaming in total frustration! The ending was what really killed me; how am I supposed to wait until next year for the sequel? I’m dying here! The only issues were the pacing at the beginning; it took a little bit for it to keep going. The worldbuilding was confusing at times and not explained enough; there were times that I was lost. Nonetheless, The Glass Spare was a gorgeous, sprawling fantasy that had me screaming, weeping, and cheering—I can’t wait for the sequel! The bottom line: Despite some pacing and worldbuilding issues, I really liked The Glass Spare—it was an amazing, exciting series opener, and I can’t wait for more! Next on deck: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao!