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Storm Glass (Glass, Book 1) by Maria V. Snyder
Review by Harriet Klausner
Mira Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780778325642
Date: 01 May 2009 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Maria V. Snyder's Website / Publisher's Website / Show Official Info /

In Sitia, Opal Cowen, one of the best glassmakers in the realm, has been studying magic at the Keep since a few years ago she helped capture the Warpers (see the "Study" trilogy: Poisoned Study, Fire Study, and Magic Study). However, she realizes her mage skills are extremely limited and tied to her glass abilities. Opal considers leaving the Keep as she feels she is making no progress with her one trick magic and besides she believes no one would miss her if she left.

However as she ponders her future, the glass orbs used by Stormdancers to capture elemental energy in order to abate torrential storms are breaking apart and the glassmakers who constructed them are dying. The Master Magicians believe Opal with her magical glassmaking prowess is the one person who can solve what is going wrong. She has doubts, but with the encouragement and mentoring of Master Magician Cowan, and the help of Stormdancer Kade and glassmaker Ulrick, she investigates who is destroying the orbs as well as glassmakers, and why. None of the three understand that by making inquiries they are targets for death by those who are not ready to reveal their identities or their agenda.

The story line is fast-paced and filled with action from the onset, yet enables readers to understand the differing elements that make up society and their interrelationships especially rivalries. At the same time, Maria V. Snyder escorts the audience around Sitia inside and outside the Keep; the author creates an intriguing investigative mystery inside the fantasy, which provides excitement, action, and more insight into the realm. The Master mages and Glassmakers as well as readers wonder who would do this and why would they destroy the orbs and their makers that do so much to keep society safe.

The three males represent major aspects of society as the master magician, stormdancer and glassmaker are representative of powerful segments that shape Sitia. However, though they are developed, they mostly enhance the depth of the heroine. This is Opal's coming of age tale (told mostly by her) though ironically she was a heroine in Magic Study. Her limited unconventional magical skill has isolated her as a sort of freak. The magicians see her as being beneath them since she is 99% Glassmaker and 1% Mage. The Glassmakers see her as an outsider because none of them possess that 1% magical skill. Thus, not so much by choice, she is a loner who lacks confidence. Suddenly she becomes the focus of three men; one desires her but though she likes him he is her friend; a second she desires, but he grieves the death of his twin and has not noticed her as a woman; and the third mentors her as he believes she is the only one who can save their realm. Character driven Storm Glass is an exhilarating return to the world created by Maria V. Snyder and of an insecure protagonist who investigates serial killings that leave the realm in peril.

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