"A lively story of a girl who could have been exceptional, but might have to settle for being ordinary."
Reviewed by Sue Burke
Posted August 16, 2010
After losing her powers in SEA GLASS, Opal Cowan has lost
her lust for life. No longer able to shape the glass magic
she loves, Opal is suddenly adrift. Lost in work and life,
Opal is spinning, directionless. Until she discovers some
of her blood has been stolen. Opal is convinced that
finding her blood will restore her power. She also has
reason to believe her blood may have fallen into the hands
of her enemy.
Opal's quest takes her through spy training and from one
end of the country to the other in search of answers. It
also puts her square in the middle of the two men who claim
to love her. For Opal, this is a battle that means all or
nothing. She will either regain her power and the love of
life, or lose everything.
The Glass trilogy follows Snyder's earlier Study books.
Both trilogies are well-worth reading. A master at fantasy
world building, Snyder tells a personal story here of a
girl who could have been exceptional who might have to
settle for being ordinary. The romantic ending may come as
a bit of a surprise to readers, but I think everyone will
be satisfied with the end of Opal's story.
After siphoning her own blood magic in the showdown at
Hubal, Opal Cowan has lost her powers. She can no longer
create glass magic. More, she's immune to the effects of
magic. Opal is now an outsider looking in, spying through
the glass on those with the powers she once had, powers that
make a difference in the world.
Until spying through the glass becomes her new power.
Suddenly, the beautiful pieces she makes flash in the
presence of magic. And then she discovers that someone has
stolen some of her blood - and that finding it might let her
regain her powers. Or know it could be they are lost
ExcerptCrouching in the darkness of the closet, I stilled as
footsteps approached. My instincts screamed to run. I stared
at the thin ribbon of light under the door, shadows of shoes
paused. I silently urged them to walk away. All I wanted was
one day of peace. One day. The knob turned. No luck. With a
whoosh of fresh air, my hiding spot was exposed.
sand's sake, Opal, what are you doing in there?" my mother
I suppressed a sigh. The truth—hiding from
her—wouldn't help. "Looking for my boots?"
deepened as she pushed back a lock of graying hair. "They're
on your feet."
"Come. There are a thousand things we
need to do, and you're wasting time." She shooed me through
my room and downstairs to the kitchen. "Sit and read me the
guest list while I cook lunch."
My gaze swept the long
wooden table filled with paper, swatches of fabric, lace,
sequins, sewing patterns and half-completed
decorations—enough clutter to force us to eat in our formal
dining room. I cursed my sister Mara under my breath. Before
returning to work at the Magician's Keep's glass shop, Mara
had asked our mother to plan her and Leif's wedding,
trusting her with everything. Smart girl. She remained a
safe five-day journey away from Mother's all-consuming new
When I failed to sit at the table, she
stabbed a spoon at the chair. "Guest list,
"You've been over it a hundred times."
want to be certain—"
"You haven't missed anyone. It's
perfect. Stop worrying."
She dried her hands on her
apron. The stained white fabric covered her chest and long
skirt. "Do you have something better to do? Did I interrupt
your moping time?"
"I'm not moping." My voice whined.
Not a good sign.
"Resting, recuperating, moping, it's
all the same." She hauled a kettle filled with water over to
the glowing coals in the hearth.
"No it isn't. A lot
She pished at me. My own
"Stop wallowing in the past. What's done is
done. Focus on the future. We only have one hundred and
fifty-three days until the wedding! Then it's only a matter
of time for grandchildren and maybe you and
Yanking the chair out with a loud scrape, I
plopped on it. I snatched the list from the pile and read
names aloud as my mother continued to bustle about the
kitchen. She had mentioned Kade almost every day since I'd
arrived. Sixty-three days of missing him, dodging her
questions and being drafted to help with preparations for an
event two and a half seasons away. How could one woman be so
irritating? For a second I wished for another family. A
sensible one without all this… stuff, like the Bloodrose
Clan, living in austere isolation.
"Opal, stop making
I glanced over the list, but her back was
to me. Long strands of hair had sprung from the knot she had
tied this morning. She rolled dough with quick
"How did you know?"
mother. I see all. Hear all. Know all."
I laughed. "If
that's true, then why do you ask me so many questions?" Ha.
Her hands stilled. She turned to me. "Because
you need to hear the answers."
arrival saved me from a retort I didn't have. He filled the
room with his large frame. Even though most of his short
hair had turned gray, he still looked young. My brother,
Ahir, bounded in behind him. A mirror image of our father
except Ahir's thick black hair brushed his
"Hey, mop top," I said to
"What's up, peanut?" He smirked.
I used to
tower over him, but now he was six inches taller than my own
Before I could throw
another insult at him, he handed me an aqua-green glass
vase. "New recipe. Look at the clarity. Sharp."
examined the glass in the sunlight. The cold crystal felt
dead in my hands. No throb of potential. No song vibrated in
my chest. Nothing. My glass magic was gone. Although
painfully aware of my loss, a small part of me hoped to feel
a spark every time I touched glass…only to be disappointed
"Working with this melt is pure joy," Ahir
said. "Let's go over to the factory, I'll gather a slug for
you to try."
I gave him a tight smile, letting him
know I saw through his blatant attempt to interest me in
creating with glass again. But no magic equaled no passion.
Before Yelena had uncovered my abilities, I hadn't known
about the magic. It had been masked by my desire to create.
Now, the inert lump in my hand was just another reminder of
my useless existence.
"I think I'll go for a ride
instead." Returning the vase to Ahir, I left the kitchen. My
mother's protests about missing lunch followed me to the
My family owned an eight-kiln glass factory, not
horses. However, when I decided to stay for a while, my
father cleaned out the shed, converting it into a temporary
stable for Quartz. The small enclosure had room to hang my
tack and saddle, and to give Quartz shelter from bad
weather. Being a Sandseed horse, she preferred to graze in
the Avibian Plains bordering our land.
No one would
dare bother a Sandseed horse in the plains. I scanned the
tall grasses. They swayed with the wind. The reds, yellows
and oranges of the cooling season had faded into the gray
and brown dullness of the cold season. I shivered, thinking
of the miserable weather yet to come. Believe it or not, I
had been anticipating this time of year. The fierce storms
on the coast had abated. Kade planned to spend a few weeks
with me, until the Commander of Ixia had invited him to
demonstrate his Stormdancing powers, taming the killer
blizzards blowing from the Northern Ice Sheet.
had invited me along, except I hated the cold and would
rather not be anywhere near the ice sheet. Plus what would I
do there? I would have no job other than keeping Kade's bed
warm. Well… That wouldn't be a chore at all. I smiled, but
sobered. Despite my mother's intentions, my one reason for
being home wasn't to help with Mara and Leif's wedding. I
needed to make a decision.
Unease twisted. My bad
decisions outweighed my good ones by two to one. I had a
thirty-three percent chance of getting it right. Dismissing
those useless thoughts, I stepped into the plains to search
After I traveled a hundred feet, magic
pressed on my skin as if I pushed against a giant sponge. I
waited for the pressure to dissipate as the protection
determined I wasn't a threat. It was usually suicidal to
walk into the plains without permission from the Sandseed
Clan. Their defensive magic would confuse me, sending me
into a panic, convinced I was lost. This time, my new
immunity blocked the Sandseed's magic. I could sense it, but
it registered my presence as a magical void. Nice perks,
Without my glass magic, I felt as if a chunk of
my soul had been sliced off. I had no regrets over my
actions, sacrificing my powers had been the right choice. So
if I wasn't moping, then why the ache? Why did I feel
trapped in the shadow world?
All maudlin thoughts
vanished when Quartz trotted into view. Considered a painted
mare, her coat was a patchwork of white and auburn colors.
The darker color covered her face, except for a white star
between her soft brown eyes. Forgoing a saddle and bridle, I
hopped onto her back and left my worries and Mother's
wedding plans far behind.
Sitting in the living area
later that evening, I addressed envelopes. My mother had
appealed to my ego by complimenting my handwriting and had
bribed my stomach by baking my favorite pie—black
Warmth and light pulsed from the fireplace.
I felt better after my ride with Quartz. Mother sat in her
favorite chair, sewing Mara's veil. Ahir sprawled on the
floor, snoring, and Father worked on bills. A true moment of
family peace. And like all such moments, it was too good to
stay true for long.
A knock on our door broke the
silence. Mother glanced at me in confusion, then brightened.
"It's the printer! He said he might be done with the
invitations tonight, and I told him to bring them over right
Silk and lace filled her lap. Before she could
untangle herself, I offered to answer the door. I suppressed
a sigh. If the invitations were indeed here, I would have to
stuff them into the envelopes, sealing them with wax. A
I glanced through the peephole.
Shadows covered the face of a man holding a bottle. Not the
printer. He must be the local winemaker Mother commissioned
to distill the special wed ding wine. She spared no expense,
and, for that, I was glad.
When I had sacrificed my
magic, the power had transformed into diamonds. The Sitian
Council had returned them all to me, and I had plenty of
money to pay for all the wedding expenses—my gift to Mara
I opened the door and froze in
Valek, the Commander of Ixia's personal
assassin, waited outside. Only one reason for Valek to be
"Hello, Opal. Sorry for the surprise visit. Is
this a bad time?" he asked with a pleasant tone and
It was always a bad time to
I gaped at Valek. He stood on our front step
within killing distance.
"Opal." My mother's voice cut
through my panic. "Don't stand there like a simpleton.
Invite your guest in."
I stuttered a few words and
backed up with numb legs. His smile widened as my mother
approached. The need to warn her lodged under my ribs. My
body's functions had disconnected, scattering my
"You must be Opal's mother," Valek said. He
shook her hand. "Your cooking skills are legendary, Mrs.
Cowan. I wouldn't be surprised if the Commander invites you
to cook for him in Ixia."
The wrinkles on her face
disappeared as she blushed, erasing years of worry and
stress. "Please, call me Vyncenza, Mr…?"
name erupted from my mouth. "What are you doing
"Opal, don't be rude."
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