Book Review: ‘The Glass Sentence’ by S.E. Grove

Posted: 22 April 2017 in Book reviews
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In the 18th century, life as it was known suddenly wasn’t. Some regions of the world were suddenly hundreds of the years in the future. Some thousands. That was long before Sophia was born. This world is all she has ever known. As broken as the world is, she is fascinated by it. Then a measure is passed by Parliament to close the borders. This means her parents, who disappeared while on an expedition years before, would be barred from entering their own country should they return. And so her Uncle Shadrack prepares her to embark with him on a mission to find them before the deadline.

Her uncle getting kidnapped changes those plans.  Armed with an atlas, a glass map (with a note to find someone named Veressa), Theo (a strange boy from The Baldlands), and information from her housekeeper Mrs. Clay, Sophia begins a journey to save her uncle.

Their journey isn’t so simple though. The two are being relentlessly pursued by people who want something Sophia has. The two young travelers are unable to shake them until they are assisted by a group of pirates led by the charismatic siblings Calixta and Burr. The pirates accompany the duo all the way from New Occident to Nochtland, where they stumble upon Veressa. Together, they learn the significance of the glass map and the mystery it holds.

Before they can do anything with that knowledge, they are arrested and thrown in prison. Sophia and Theo escape, only to return to rescue the others. They sneak into a festival held on the palace grounds. Once inside, Sophia makes a discovery that changes everything: her uncle. Then she learns of the advancing glacier that is bent on destroying the world and everything on it. Their only chance of survival is her uncle rewriting the carta mayor, the fabled living map of the world.

With days, if not hours, before the glacier reaches Nochtland, will Sophia be able to convince Shadrack to do what he refuses to do? Or will she find another way?

My Thoughts

I learned of this book at NYCC 2015. It was one of the many reading suggestions I picked up whilst there and am only now getting around to reading. I am glad I did.

The book was published in 2014, but the beginning of the book had an almost prophetic feel to it. Legislation being presented to close the borders and not let anyone in or out is eerily reminiscent of the current happenings around the world now. The fear of those who are different (foreign), echos the feelings of many people now. I’m just glad such a thing hasn’t actually happened yet. Been close, but hasn’t happened for real. But this legislation is the driving point for the whole story. It adds a sense of urgency to the entire work. They must resolve the current issue so they can continue preparing to go find Sophia’s parent’s before the deadline. And everything does happen at quite a quick pace. None of the characters really have any time to rest before something else happens. I really enjoyed that.

For the most part, I really liked the characters. Calixta and Burr were wonderful characters. They were so much fun to read. I loved their charisma and over-the-top personalities. Shadrack was clever, albeit a bit oblivious. Sophia bothered me from time to time. It was almost as if she purposely was trying to find fault in Theo. I can understand her struggling to trust him when she knew so little about him and some of his actions were sketchy. But her always finding fault or misunderstanding his motives got old at times. I found Theo’s mysteriousness fascinating. I enjoyed learning about his background. He had a difficult childhood, but survived and seemed to have a good sense of right and wrong. Blanca was also interesting. I found her back story particularly fascinating and tragic.

The writing was great. It was easy to read, there was plenty of description, and it flowed very well. I loved the descriptions of the different ages and how complex and unique each one was. It’s hard to imagine that any of them came from the same planet. It was clearly very thought out.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. It was very imaginative and exciting. The characters were relatable and fun. It really was a great book. I honestly cannot wait to read the next one. Enjoy 😉

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