Storm Glass by Maria V Snyder
or: *sigh of contentment*
Synopsis: 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.
I think I sat there looking at this book on the shelf for quite a few months. Not long after finishing Fire Study, I quickly raced out and purchased this one…. and then promptly became distracted and uninspired. I think I was initially wary; I was used to hearing things from Yelena’s point of view and I felt mildly uncomfortable about moving away from Yelena and Valek and moving towards the under described and utilised Opal.
In fact, I didn’t even fall in love with Opal or like her much in general until I hit the middle of the book. I really got into this book in the middle of a train trip on the way to Sydney even though I had been trying to get comfortable with it for a few weeks.
It wasn’t due to Snyder’s skill; if anything Snyder’s abilities from Fire Study have only improved (let’s be honest, Fire Study was a bit of a hot mess). I think Opal is just a character who takes a while to warm up to.
I loved learning more about Sitia and the other clans that Yelena didn’t have time to meet. The Storm dancer clan and what they did was really interesting, as was delving more into the glass work made by the Cowan Clan. While waiting for Opal’s character to grow, you are able to focus more on the world around her though I would have very much liked to have known more on how the Citadel and school fared after the disastrous end of Fire Study; like how did they clean up? What was the process of re-organising? Did they create a corruption Inquiry to see how many members of the council Roze had corrupted? What was the effect on the other students?
These questions kind of went un-answered but, I’m honestly not too mad about it.
The pace in this book is a lot better than the previous two; Snyder seems to have found her feet and I think her pacing theory here feels right. It will be interesting to see if she sticks with it through the next two books that we spend with Opal.
Snyder introduces a swath of new characters for this book but focuses mainly on developing Opal which was something that was desperately needed. The new characters are all refreshing and each character is still incredibly different from the last. While old faces do pop up, I really enjoyed all of Snyder’s new characters. I loved Kade. He was interesting, complex and nothing at all like Valek which was a relief. I’m definitely rooting for him and Opal to be a thing.
Snyder also seems to have a fondness for kidnapping her heroines. She doesn’t just do it once, no. I don’t really see why both Opal and Yelena need to be kidnapped so many times. Honestly, it’s starting to just feel like a minor inconvenience now rather than the horrific happening it should be. I mean, Snyder, there are other plot devices and things. Slow down with the kidnapping and hostage scenarios. More than twice in a book would be too much but you’re going way more overboard.
On the positive side, I’m glad Opal was more of an every man than Yelena. Opal seems slightly more realistic to me than Yelena, despite the fact I initially struggled to warm up to her. I’m very excited to see where Snyder takes her next. The next two books are from Opal’s point of view and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on them when my TBR pile diminishes them a bit.
Overall, while I have been critical of this book, I really enjoyed it. Maybe not so much the beginning but the middle and end definitely.
Read: English paperback