Glamour in Glass – Mary Robinette Kowal

glamourOn the Cover: Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it. Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison…and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country’s war.

Published: 2012

Other Books in this series:

Shades of Milk and Honey

 


 

The Review:

I was really apprehensive when I picked up Glamour in Glass. I really liked the first novel, and I had fond memories of the glamour present throughout the story. The first book follows the storyline of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice up to the conclusion of Austen’s novel – and as the second novel went beyond the outline of the first, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Glamour in Glass.

I ended up really enjoying where the story took me. Jane and her husband travel abroad to learn more about the glamour craft. It is this dedication to glamour that made me love the story. Jane and Vincent are wonderful in their interactions together and their drive to better understand how to work and manipulate the glamour to create beautiful things. Vincent is a wonderful artist on the page, and Jane is like a scientist, driven by her pursuit to push the craft of glamour beyond all known boundaries. I love these two together and their dedication to their art.

glamour-in-glass-hungarian-cover

Perhaps what interested me the most in this story is that the two characters come up against an obstacle that they cannot fight: Jane becomes pregnant. I was incredibly intrigued by this turn of events, as this is not a subject I’m used to reading about in classically set novels. Women were typically hidden away during their pregnancies and it’s certainly not a subject dwelled upon. Yet I absolutely loved its presence in the story. Not only is Jane faced with the difficulties of the time period while pregnant, but she also faced the issues of how pregnancy affects glamour. I’ve never read a book that questions how magic is affected by a pregnancy and I greatly enjoyed the exploration into the subject. Jane has some great character development that comes from her pregnancy and it made me adore her character even more.

There are some really great things that happen in Glamour in Glass in terms of glamour, art, and the scientific study of the ether. While the ending gets away from itself and turns a bit silly, the overall story is very solid. Kowal does a great job at expanding her story beyond the constraints of Pride and Prejudice and making this into her own world that resonates with beauty. This is a series that I’m very much enjoying, and would recommend to anyone who likes historical novels touched with fantasy.

Rating: 4 / 5

 

Corsets & Clockwork – Trisha Telep (Editor)

corsets-clockworkOn The Cover: Dark, urban fantasies come to life in the newest collection of Steampunk stories, Corsets & Clockwork. Young heroes and heroines battle evils with the help of supernatural or super-technological powers, each individual story perfectly balancing historical and fantastical elements. Throw in epic romances that transcend time, and this trendy, engrossing anthology is sure to become another hit for the fast-growing Steampunk genre!

Published: 2011

Why I Chose It: This collection grabbed my attention when I was searching for works by Maria V. Snyder. When I saw the description and list of authors I knew I had to give it a try!

 


 

The Review:

It is very rare in an anthology to like all of the stories it contains, and yet, somehow it has happened. Yes, there are stories in this collection that are very different from what I usually read, some that puzzled me and some that left me thinking, but all of them fascinated me. This collection could have easily been twice as long and I would have happily read it all. This is an extremely strong collection for anyone who likes fantasy or steampunk stories with a romantic element. It has a really great variety of writing and I can’t wait to check out more works by all of the authors.

Overall Rating: 5 / 5

 

My Favourites:

The Clockwork Corset – Adrienne Kress

I loved this story because it was both a solid romance and a solid steampunk. While this story started slow, it continued to get better and better until the ending, which had me totally head over heels. The ending was beautiful – both for the clockwork corset and the romance story. Kress’ story ended up being really sweet and definitely made me smile long after I was finished reading.

 

Tick, Tick, Boom – Kiersten White

This story could have easily been a full novel. I still kind of want this one to be a novel so that I can read it. I fell in love with Catherine within the first page, and her adventure had me tearing through the remainder of the story. I loved that Catherine built devices using pocket watches, and her involvement with the political world was fascinating. White does an amazing job of leaving you wanting more, and oh, do I want more.

 

King of the Greenlight City – Tessa Gratton

When I put down this book, this is the story I kept thinking about. I loved this story. In such a small writing space, Gratton creates an amazing world that has an incredible amount of detail. Not only was I totally swept away by the space in which the characters existed, the characters themselves were totally endearing. This was such a unique and powerful story, and the ending absolutely shocked me, and I simply cannot stop thinking about it. This was easily my favourite short story in the collection.

 


 

Quotations:

“That was the fascinating thing about iron. It could be crafted to look as delicate as a willow branch but still have all the strength of an oak. In this instance, the platform’s supports had been wrought to appear as twisting vines. The natural and the man-made creating a new kind of beauty.” (The Clockwork Corset, Adrienne Kress)

“From the window of the library in the Promethean Tower, Alys could see the crown of the Seventh. A giant model of the solar system turned there with an audible tick-tick-tick. The planets were gilded and silver-cast, glowing in the sunset all the colors of blood. A scattering of glass stars hung from the clockwork and caught the light too, dazzling her eyes. Each was the size of her skull, but from this distance seemed little more than pinpricks against the sky.” (King of the Greenlight City, Tessa Gratton)

 

The Collection:

Rude Mechanicals – Lesley Livingston
The Cannibal Fiend of Rotherhithe – Frewin Jones
Wild Magic – Ann Aguirre
Deadwood – Michael Scott
Code of Blood – Dru Pagliassotti
The Clockwork Corset – Adrienne Kress
The Airship Gemini – Jaclyn Dolamore
Under Amber Skies – Maria V. Snyder
King of the Greenlight City – Tessa Gratton
The Emperor’s Man – Tiffany Trent
Chickie Hill’s Badass Ride – Dia Reeves
The Vast Machinery of Dreams – Caitlin Kittredge
Tick, Tick, Boom – Kiersten White