Storm Glass – Book Review
Well, work has been horrendously busy for the past month. Between that and other life activities I haven’t had time for reading or posting. However over the past few days I did manage to eke out a little time to finally read something new.
So a long time ago – an actual number of years – I read a book called Poison Study. I enjoyed. I remember thinking it was an interesting concept, an engaging character and a pretty solid world. I don’t know why I never read the sequels, other than I had become distracted by other reads. Anyway, I was at the library on the weekend and picked up Maria V. Synder’s latest book called Storm Glass. Scanning the title, I quickly noted this was book one of a trilogy. Well, I didn’t let that put me off.
After three days of reading I thought I would do a review, share my thoughts and impressions – that was and is my intention. However, I am struggling to write anything interesting about a story that was just meh. It was not so terrible to be worthy of raging. It was certainly not good enough to gush about. It was safe, bland, predictable and largely lifeless. It had too many cameos of characters from previous books in this world, which I hadn’t read. For a book that should have stood on its own, it depended far too greatly on the reader being familiar with the world. As a reader not familiar with the world I was left with a very lack-luster description.
The main female protagonist was unapproachable. I was not familiar with her tragic background. Did all these events play out in other stories set in the same world? I don’t know. I do know that her past was supposed to be scarring, life-changing. It should have been the draw that kept me reading. Instead I just wished the character would stop sighing over her background.
Written in the first person, I should have been drawn into Opal’s life. I should have felt her internal struggle. I didn’t. Opal was not engaging. Her shy, disengaged character was played to good effect. It was clear the author wanted the reader to feel sorry for the main character, but her life didn’t seem so bad. She was taunted by her fellow students – but we didn’t see much of that. The one moment, when Opal accidentally steals the magic from one of the next greatest magicians was the closest we came to true emotional conflict and it was swept away with a little hand waving. Really – this could should have been a driving force for Opal’s actions. Instead she is lead or directed from one scene to the next.
The attempt at a love triangle was sloppy. There was no strong attraction between the characters and Opal seemed to like whoever was standing next to her. Really, the author didn’t even explore the conflict of being attracted to two different people at the same time. Everything was further brushed to the side when Opal decided not to explore feelings towards either man because she was afraid of rejection. A very normal thing to do, however when we only have Opal’s internal dialogue to lead us through this world the romantic tension is complete obliterated. Also, the author has already started to twist one of the men into a traitor and thus is killing the triangle – once more we enter a bland, straightforward world.
As concepts go, there was nothing offensive in the plot. I thought it was too unfocused for my tastes. It tried to have mystery which became a tangle of disconnected threads. I would have liked to see more character development, after all it is written first person. Less focus on the travelling, which was not interesting to read. The ending also fell flat as very little was actually resolved. This is book one after all. Perhaps if Opal was a more engaging character her supposed development over the course of the novel would have been a good arch. As it was, it read as poorly edited and half-baked.
I will say that while the author failed to craft a single engaging character she clearly did her research in glass making. It was almost interest to read about the process. Unfortunately it became page filling without serving a solid purpose.
Buried deep within Storm Glass is a decent story idea with potential. Unfortunately all that potential is unrealized in the actual product. The characters, world and plot is flat, boring and often predictable. Storm Glass is not terrible, but it is also not a good read.