Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

October 23, 2017 Book Review, Young Adult 7 ★★★★

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.

The Glass SpareThe Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
Published by Balzer + Bray on October 24th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Edelweiss
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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!


About Lauren DeStefano

Lauren DeStefano was born in New Haven, Connecticut and has never traveled far from the east coast. She received a BA in English from Albertus Magnus College, and has been writing since childhood. She made her authorial debut by writing on the back of children’s menus at restaurants and filling up the notepads in her mom’s purse. Her very first manuscript was written on a yellow legal pad with red pen, and it was about a haunted shed that ate small children.

Now that she is all grown up (for the most part), she writes fiction for young adults. Her failed career aspirations include: world’s worst receptionist, coffee house barista, sympathetic tax collector, and English tutor. When she isn’t writing, she’s screaming obscenities at her Nintendo DS, freaking her cats out with the laser pen, or rescuing thrift store finds and reconstructing them into killer new outfits.

Sara @ Forever 17 Books

7 Responses to “Review: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano”

  1. Nick

    I had read another review for this one on Friday from Ali and she really liked it too and mentioned how it was a unique fantasy. I honestly feel like YA fantasy has gotten to become so saturated, so I’m excited at the notion of something unique. Also enemies to more you say? I’m in!
    Nick recently posted…Absolutely Revolutionary: Dear Martin by Nic StoneMy Profile

    • Sara @ Forever 17 Books

      I haven’t read her second series yet either but I did love how unique The Chemical Gardens was. I’ve been noticing more and more lately that certain books barely seem to have any marketing going on and it makes me sad when you compare to some others.

      • Christine

        Hopping into this comment stream to say I completely agree! Sara, I think you and I talked about this a couple months ago. It’s like publishers are releasing so many books at once these days that some just get no attention whatsoever. I also noticed that this series is with HarperCollins now whereas all the others were with S&S so I wonder if that’s why? It’s weird though and I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of great books because they just aren’t getting any attention at all. The only reason I’ve read some of the ones I have is because of auto approval on Edelweiss. Otherwise? I’d completely miss them.

        Also, you both should read The Internment Chronicles! Another unique and fascinating storyline! Admittedly I never read the last book haha but the first two were great though!
        Christine recently posted…Review: The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine LockeMy Profile

  2. Christine

    So glad you ended up liking the rest of it!! I’m trying to think of what happened toward the end that you didn’t like. I’ll have to go back and flip through it and see if I can spot it! I agree about being slightly confused with the world building at times. I meant to touch on that in my review but completely forgot about it. It’s strange that they have advanced data stream goggles, something we don’t even have, and yet they don’t have cars or the internet? And some of the poorest parts of the kingdom have electricity where other parts don’t? I just kind of went with it after awhile haha. I’m excited to see how the rest of it plays out. I kind of felt like she was getting ahold of her powers?! And I’m curious to see what happens with Wil and Loom too. That should be interesting haha
    Christine recently posted…Review: The Girl with the Red Balloon by Katherine LockeMy Profile

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