I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.
Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
The concept of this fantasy is pretty awesome – a princess who discovers she can turn living things into gemstones. I’m a fan of Lauren DeStefano’s past work and I’m happy to report this new one did not disappoint!
Wil’s birth was anything but ordinary. She was born to a superstitious mother who longed for a daughter after having 3 sons. She appeared sickly, had a peculiar birthmark over her heart, and looked nothing like her brothers before her. Her father, the king, took advantage of this fact and used Wil as a spy. Though she has never been allowed to leave the kingdom despite how her wanderer heart desired it so, she is quite adept at sneaking out of the castle, especially when her alchemist brother requires materials from the underground market. It was on one such trip when she discovers her ability to turn things into gemstones. A curse she cannot control and one with deadly results that get her banished from the kingdom by her father. Wil suddenly finds herself on a journey to find a marveler who may be able to save her before its too late.
The Glass Spare wasn’t the typical fantasy I am used to reading. The world is sort of a mix of high fantasy with more of a modern sci-fi flare (perhaps a little steampunk-ish in ways?). There are data googles, airships, and automobiles to be found amidst the medival type atmosphere I usually expect. It was all quite fascinating though admittedly I didn’t quite understand the world building at times because of it. Alchemy and magic exist, which leads to some inventive weaponery and devious curses. Wil is not the only royal to be touched by such a curse as we discover when we meet the banished prince from a rivalry kingdom, Loom.
In addition to Wil, I loved all the characters we meet along the way – the good and the evil. The relationship between Wil and Loom was ever-changing (a little of the enemies to more type) and at a pace I enjoyed, except for one little hiccup towards the end I could have gone without… but nevertheless, I love the chemistry between these two. Really all the relationships we see are very interesting, complex, and a huge highlight of the novel.
The story being told was incredibly engaging throughout. The unique world building, amazing characters and relationships made this novel a delight to read. There are so many things left to discover and I’m so ready for the sequel already. Definitely one to pick up!