Sunday, June 6, 2010

Review: Glimmerglass

WARNING: Review contains mention of rape

Title: Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker, #1)
Publisher: St Martin’s Press
ISBN: 978 0 3125 7593 9
Category: Fantasy
Rating: YA

Synopsis: Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the 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 who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone's trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn't sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .

My first impressions of this book were it was gearing up to be quite good. An interesting premise, two worlds overlapping, the Fae and the Human, with one key doorway city, Avalon. However the more I read the more it was shaping up to be another very formulaic YA tale. Average Mary Sue with some hardships moves to a new area, suddenly finds herself irresistibly attractive to the natives and crushes on the hottest guy who, shock horror, likes her back.  Mary Sue turns out to have some super power that will save everyone, cliff hanger ending, please wait 9 months for the next book in the series.  Except the ending wasn’t so cliff hanger. In fact I’m still waiting for the story climax. I felt as if the entire book was an introductory chapter because nothing of any significance actually happened.

Parts of this book were just oddly bizarre and I wasn’t sure why they were included at all if not to shock. In one scene Dana and her friends are attacked by stick creatures reminiscent of something from Rupert the bear but more evil. An apt evil minion for a fairy book, a vaguely humanoid creature made from sticks and straw with sharpened stick fingers that glistened with blood. I understand how that came to be, one boy was attacked and we are told he had deep scratches on his chest. But then Dana goes on to describe another sharp pointy stick appendage between the creature’s legs also glistening with blood. What the hell am I meant to take from that? The stick creature brutally raped someone? What other conclusion am I to draw? Yet Black tells us of no rape victim, and no other mention is made of it. But it’s one glaringly disturbing visual that haunted me for the rest of the book. I couldn’t even really take in the rest of the next few pages and had to reread them. I went back over it looking for more explanation, a deeper understanding of what I’d read. Nothing.  So why even include that in there? There was sufficient gore and description of the fighting wounded and allusion to the creatures menace already without the need to make reference to a pointy stick penis covered in blood that had probably just been used to stab a teenage girl through the uterus. Considering this is a book aimed at young adults I feel that was an unnecessary and cheap literary shock tool.

Also Ethan is quite possibly the creepiest male protagonist I have ever read. The guy can’t keep his hands off Dana. He’s up in her business flirting and groping her and just being generally disrespecting of the personal space bubble. The pièce de résistance however in his tirade of inappropriate was when he did the equivalent of roofying Dana by putting a chillax spell on her to make her compliant so he could make out with her. What a babe.

So what did I like about this book? Well a few things. As I mentioned before I really enjoyed the premise. The fairy world and Human world co-existing as sideways dimensions accessible through the portal of Avalon. There exists border patrols, kingdoms and politics that all have the potential to be a great infrastructure for a story.  I’m hoping the next book does justice to this as this one seemed to fart around, skim the edges and go nowhere.

I really enjoyed the side characters. The broody quasi goth Keane and his hunky knight of a dad Finn, Lachlan the kind hearted troll and Kimber the new friend living under her brothers shadow. All very interesting secondary characters who pulled me in. Far more interesting than the main protagonists in my opinion, but then I’m known to fall for the underdogs, it’s my thing.

I’d recommend this book only to those who are into the genre of fae books. Not one I’d read again but I’ll give the sequel ago in the eternal hope there will be some improvement in the lead characters and the direction of the story.

3 out of 5


Chaucey said...

Talking about a book where normal life and supernatural life collide like that is the Abhorsen books by Garth Nix. Have you read them? Definitely up there in my top 10 fav's list.

Chaucey said...

Would you believe my blog word verification word was "menses"??????

Andrea said...

omg really? haha

Yes, Zachary has the Garth Nix books I really enjoyed them.

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