Saturday, November 27, 2010

Book Review: Glimmerglass

When all I needed was to get away from my life, sink my teeth into a good book and be transported, Glimmerglass by Jenna Black was the answer to my prayers. Not only is Black's world-building believable and seamless, her story filled with high-stakes adventure and exciting duplicity, but her grasp of the teenage voice, of the everyday struggles of dealing with alcoholism, single-parenthood, and feeling like you don't belong is astounding.

When I met Dana on page one I was hooked. I could already relate to her and nothing had even happened yet. The power of her emotions was palpable, and I wanted to turn the pages just to know where her journey was taking her. And then, to my extreme delight, the rest of the story exceeded any expectation I could have had.

Normal: It's all she’s ever wanted to be, but it couldn’t be further from her grasp...

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn't just an ordinary teenage girl—she's a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her newfound friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with…until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again... (Cover copy, St. Martin's Griffin)

Charming, witty, and intelligent, Black's writing is brilliant and readable, keeping me in rapt attention as I followed Dana, Noah, and Kimber through the streets of Avalon. I zipped through this book in four days, much quicker than I had any book in a while, and found myself disappointed to put it away every time I had to stop reading for the day.

The only exception to my glowing review of this wonderful book is that the ending left me a bit unsatisfied, with the loose ends all still dangling and the necessity of a sequel very clear. Cliffhanger endings, in general, I don't have too much contention with...if it's done in such a way that I'm still satisfied that the book was complete enough in itself. Sure, I'll know another book in the series is to come, but when I close the binding, I need to be able to see the story as it's own whole. Glimmerglass left me unable to do that, my love for the story suddenly being outshined by my shock at the abrupt ending.

Looking back (I finished the book about a month ago *blush*), it's the love that I still recall--the phenomenal writing, the nonstop thrill, the depth of emotion. With that in mind I can wholeheartedly recommend this read to any fantasy or YA lover. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be snagging a copy of the next book, Shadowspell, as soon as it's released in early 2011.

The Last Word: A bright and bewitching page-turner with enough magic to draw a reader happily under its spell despite a somewhat surprising and unfinished ending.

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