Saturday, June 6, 2009

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder

In a daunting new tale of adventure written by acclaimed author Maria V. Snyder, Opal, a young glassmaker and magician-in-training sets off on a journey of self discovery.

Having come from a family of simple glass makers, Opal Cowen finds great joy in working with glass. For her, the utmost pleasure can be found when she works over a hot kiln and brings her beautiful pieces to life. As a student at the Magician's Keep, a school for those who have been shown to possess magicial abilities, Opal is far from the strongest magician. In fact, her skills seem to be quite limited. Though, that said, she is very good at what she does.

Commissioned by the Keep's master magicians, Opal fashions flawless glass animals in which she infuses a special magical touch. Unlike anything the Keep has seen before, Opal's magic allows magicians throughout Sitia, and surrounding areas, to relay important messages one to another via her exquisite animal carvings. It's such an incredible gift, but for a fifth year student Opal's skills just don't match those of her class mates. Dubbed the "One-Trick-Wonder", Opal herself has begun to seriously have doubts about why she is even still at The Keep.

Those doubts are anything but alleviated when Master Magician Zitora Cowan calls upon Opal to assist alongside her on a mission to the Stormdancer's land. Opal hopes it's the break she's been looking for, though disappointment sets in when Opal realizes she's been called on not because of her ability with magic but because of her knowledge and expertise with glass. The Stormdancer's orbs, which are carefully and acurately constructed to contain a storm's essance and energy, have begun to shatter when filled. Causing two fatalities already, the clan must figure out what is causing the weakness and how to correct the problem. Time is of the essence, because big storms wait on the horizon. If the Stormdancers are not prepared by the time the storms reach them, it will be too late. And the loss and devestation will be rerephensible.

Opal is no stranger to danger, but she is not prepared for all that is to come as she takes on the role of Master Cowan's private pupil. While working to solve the mystery of the Stormdancer's glass and searching out an illegal diamond smuggler, Opal finds herself stabbed, beaten, kidnapped, tricked, and tortured. She also discovers there's more to her power than meets the eye. However, if she's to uncover its full potential, and in doing so save herself and the ones she loves, she must learn to trust in herself, like others do. Others like her father, Master Cowan, Kade (the Stormdancer), and Ulrick (the glassmaker).

To round out the drama and action, Snyder throws in some romance in the form of two possible love interests for Opal. Always the "other sister", Opal has grown up living in her older sister Mara's shadow. The stunningly beautiful Mara was always the one the boys flocked to, leaving Opal to only imagine what the attention must feel like. Now as young glassmaker and magician-in-the-making, Opal's time to shine has finally come. But how to decide which path her heart should follow.

There's Kade the handsome and diligent Stormdancer. They might not have a lot in common when it comes to upbringing and interests, but when she worked with him at the caves, Opal felt a spark. The trouble is, her feelings appear to be unrequited. Wrapped up in the loss of his sister, Kade is unwilling to risk another attachment that could, in the end, leave him hurt and alone again.

Then there's Ulrick. Of the two, he seems to be the far more likely choice. A glassmaker's son and hopeful magician-in-training, Ulrick shares the same background and interests as Opal. Not only this, but he's head over heels in love with her. As her self appointed body guard, Ulrick is determined to keep Opal safe and prove his love to her in the process.

It's a tough decision to make. She can choose Kade and hope the spark felt between them will be enough to secure and build a relationship on should he give her the time of day. Or she can choose Ulrick who she knows loves her and would do anything for her. The love she feels in return is genuine, but without that soul burning fire will it be enough to sustain her?

Maria V. Snyder is back again with her new GLASS series. Set in the same world as her earlier acclaimed STUDY trilogy, this time around she draws the focus to some of her previously lesser developed characters. Tying in loosely to past storylines, Storm Glass is the perfect continuation of an already wonderful storyline, and it's an even better beginning to a new one. And while I do believe this could be read as a stand alone without having first read the STUDY books, I would highly recommend new readers go back and pick up a copy of Snyder's first book Poison Study. It's not going to be the end of the world if you read this book without having read the three previous books first because while the author does frequently refer back to times, places, people, and things featured in the earlier books, she does a good enough job of explaining the relevancy within the current storyline. I recommend going back to book one though because I think this is a series that deserves all the attention it can get. And I have no doubt that if a reader should opt for this book first, she will quickly find herself drawn to the STUDY trilogy afterwards anyways. The author's capable writing style does not lack for anything, and the stories draw you in and capture your attention from the git go, even when reading outside your usual genre.

***To read a free excerpt, click HERE.***

~Bookish Mom, aka RebekahC

Anxiously awaiting the release of book two, Sea Glass, due out in September 2009...

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