Published by Mira Storm Glass (Glass, #1) on May 1st 2009
Genres: Fantasy, YA
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 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.
This review contains spoilers.
I first want to mention, Opal, the heroine, is a character which features in the Study series. It’s based in the same world. So be warned, if you do read Storm Glass without reading the Study series, there are a lot of spoilers relating to the Study books, including Opal. While Storm Glass is not a continuation directly, I do think it’s somewhat linked.
I haven’t read all of the book in the Study series, so despite the spoilers, I really enjoyed this book. Maria V Snyder has such a unique story voice. The world she has created is vivid, and colourful. It’s mentioned that Maria has a hobby of glass making, and that knowledge is shown in great detail in the book.
Opal is a glass magician. She creates glass artefacts, which she infuses with her own magic, which can then be used as communicators. Opal thinks she is a one trick pony though, and has to fight her own insecurities which are tied with events that happened in the past. She’s trying to cope in the Keep, a magical academy for students, without any friends. One day, much to her surprise, she is called in to see the Master Magicians. They want her to go on a mission. A mission to help the Stormdancers!
The Stormdancers are a unique group of people who can trap a storm’s energy within a glass orb. Not only by trapping the energy does it help to temper down the dangerous storms, which can kill people, it also can be used as energy. There is a problem though. The orbs are failing, and two Stormdancers have died because of it. Opal must use her knowledge to help them, before anyone else perishes by the orbs.
Straight from the beginning, we see the love Opal has for glass making. She thinks her magic is not special or unique, and we see her disappointment. Through out the book though, Opal is proven wrong. Opal slowly evolves as a character, and new powers are seen. Opal is somewhat of a flawed character. There are scenes where she is being tortured, and she gives in. She’s not one of those heroines, who suffers in silence and stoically withholds the information they want. Opal does gives in, yet I didn’t think less of her. I would probably squeal like a pig if I was tortured!
Opal is the way she is because of events that happened in the past, which features in the Study books. Though, I did think that Opal should have been less trusting and less naïve in certain circumstances.
There is a undercurrent of romance in the story, and there are two love interests. Kade, a Stormdancer who is grieving over his sisters death, and Ulrick, another glass magician who has similar interests as Opal.
At the beginning we see the energy that literally sparks to life between Opal and Kade, but when Opal makes an opening, Kade shuts her down. I can understand why Kade did what he did. He was grieving for his sister, and I could understand his reluctance to give into his emotions. He was frightened of losing another person he cared for.
We then have Ulrick, who is also a glass magician, but he is frustrated and feels useless in his family’s eyes. Ulrick doesn’t know he is a glass magician until Opal tells him so, and he goes back with her to the Keep. Opal and Ulrick embark on a relationship on the urging of Opal’s sister, who tells her to stop living in the past.
I’m not sure what I make of the two love interests, and how Maria worked that through the plot. Both characters are featured through out the book, and I find myself in the Kade camp, whom I like very much.
There is a plot twist, that puts a spanner in the works with Ulrick. One night, after Ulrick comes back from visiting his sister, Opal thinks he is acting somewhat strangely, but puts it down to her imagination. She finally makes the important decision and decides to sleep with him. As their relationship goes deeper with these events, it finally emerges that a known enemy was impersonating Ulrick, who had been kidnapped on the night he visited his sister. Blue Eye’s, the enemy’s nickname, who we see in intermittent stages throughout the book, manages to use blood magic, which is forbidden, to accomplish this. It bothered me somewhat that there were no ramifications of Opal sleeping with the enemy, emotion wise. I hope Maria deals with this in Sea Glass, the next book in the series.
I was also confused by Opals decision at the end of the book.
Opal is kidnapped, again, along with Kade. After Kade watches Opal being tortured, he finally gives in and admits that he loves her. When things are resolved regarding the enemy, Opal is happy, and admits she loves him too. I was like yes! *pumps arms in air*
Next though, I was like, say what?
Opal tells Kade that while she loves him, she wants to find Ulrick and see what he has to offer her. I’m like nooooo! Why do you want to do that for. Didn’t you know enough about Ulrick while you were with him in the keep?
So, except for that issue, this book is one hell of a read. The plot kept on turning and going in different directions that kept me on edge. It looks like there is an unseen enemy, and we will probably see those events unfold in future books.