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I Belong

Review: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Title: Glimmerglass

Author: Jenna Black

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Faeriewalker (Book 1)

Publication Date: May 25, 2010

Format: Paperback, 304 Pages

ISBN-10: 0312575939 (St. Martin’s Press)

ISBN-13: 978-0312575939 (St. Martin’s Press)

Synopsis (Product Description):

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, Dana decides she’s had it with being her mother’s keeper, so she packs her bags and heads to stay with her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl—she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Soon, she finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone wants something from her, even her newfound friends and family. Suddenly, life with her alcoholic mom doesn’t sound half bad, and Dana would do anything to escape Avalon and get back home. Too bad both her friends and her enemies alike are determined not to let her go . . .

Quick & Dirty: An ill-fated adventure that captivates and enchants.

Opening Sentence: The absolute last straw was when my mom showed up at my recital drunk.

Excerpt: Here

The Review:

Glimmerglass is Jenna Black’s debut young adult novel.  For a series debut, Glimmerglass is a good novel with only a few flaws.  Ms. Black’s storytelling and writing style are captivating.  A great plot is very well laid out, and the characters are interesting and compelling.

Our narrator, Dana, who is half fae and half human, is in a tough situation.  Her mother is an alcoholic and Dana can’t continue to live with her mother’s poor choices.  She decides to reach out to her father, whom she’s never met.  Dana travels to Avalon to meet her father, a powerful faerie lord, and hi-jinx ensues.  In Avalon, humans and fae are supposed to be able to co-exist peacefully without the influence of the faerie courts.  It quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t true.  As events unfold, Dana learns that she’s a Faeriewalker, which is a really interesting concept.  Faeriewalkers are very rare and they have the ability travel between the mortal and faerie realm.  Dana is perceived as a threat because she can bring magic into the mortal world and modern technology into the faerie realm.  Intrigue and betrayal unfold as everyone around Dana has an ulterior motive, and will do anything to gain political leverage.  Confused and conflicted, Dana finds herself in a world of trouble.

For the most part, Dana is a sympathetic character, but I don’t think she’s all that likable.  She’s not a particularly strong character for someone who’s supposedly been taking care of herself and her alcoholic mother for years.  Dana is immature, ungrateful, selfish, dramatic and unreasonable.  Several times throughout the book, Dana talks about having to grow-up fast, and how the crushing weight of her responsibilities drove her to bail on her train wreck of a mother.  Given her exposure to the harsh realities of life, you would think that Dana would be more practical and mature.  Her behavior is also a bit erratic.  I found her snap judgments and unwillingness to listen to her father on just about any subject irrational.  Given that she sought out his care and parental guidance, she sure wasn’t open to it when he wanted to lay down the law.  I just never got the feeling that she wanted to build an actual relationship with her father, so what’s the point?  She does have some endearing personality traits.  Dana can be very funny at times, and witty.

In terms of romance, I’m not sure how well that will end up for Dana.  She quickly becomes enamored with Ethan, a powerful Unseelie fae and son to her father’s enemy.  Ethan is an entertaining character and has a lot of potential.  For someone with his future responsibilities and his ever growing powers, he doesn’t seem to take many things seriously.

Many of the secondary characters stand out, such as Finn, Dana’s fae Knight bodyguard.  Keane, Finn’s son, is also great.  He’s essentially Mr. Miyagi to Dana, teaching her how to fight and defend herself.  These secondary characters enhance the story, adding elements of danger, humor and sorrow.

I do have a few issues with the book’s structure.  It felt as if some of the details and back-story regarding the Faeriewalker mythology were glossed over.  I am also a bit disappointed that faerie court politics was portrayed as an afterthought, and not more closely tied to the plot given the fact that Dana is supposedly being used as a political pawn between Avalon and Faerie.  All of these “meetings” and “battles” about what’s best for Dana happen off of the pages.  I think the reader would have been better served by getting a firm grasp on the “players” and a better understanding of the gravity of the situation.  The reader wouldn’t be able to escape that sense of impending doom.  In addition, I never really got a feel for Avalon.  It never felt particularly magical or unique, which doesn’t really ring true when a lot of its inhabitants have all of these special abilities.

Overall, Glimmerglass is an enjoyable read.  With a great premise, suspenseful plot and good action sequences, readers are sure to be entertained.  I’m looking forward to the sequel, Shadowspell, to see just how dangerous this world can get, and see what surprises are in store for Dana.

Notable Scene:

I stopped worrying about the gun when an awful shrieking sound, like fingernails on a blackboard, only ten times worse, split the air.  With all the echoes, I couldn’t tell where it came from, but the three Fae seemed to have a good idea.  They stood side by side, knives at the ready as they faced one particularly dark pool of shadow.

Then the shadow moved, stepping into the glow of the torchlight.  I clapped my hand over my mouth to keep from screaming, because whatever it was, it wasn’t human.  Not even close.

It looked like it was made of sticks and straw, with a vaguely humanoid shape and huge black eyes.  The sticks that made up its fingers were sharpened at the end, and several of them glistened with blood.  My stomach almost revolted when I noticed another sharpened appendage, this one jutting out from between the creature’s legs.  There was blood on that, too.

The Faeriewalker Series:

1. Glimmerglass

2. Shadowspell – 2011

You can visit Jenna around the web here: Website | Twitter

FTC Advisory: St. Martin’s Press provided me with a copy of Glimmerglass.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.

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Review: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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3 Responses to “Review: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

  1. Lisa GibsonNo Gravatar

    Great review. Very in depth and I love the first line. I’ll be reading this at some point. :)

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  2. JuneNo Gravatar

    I’ve seen this book around and wondered what it was about. Thanks for a very comprehensive review.

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  3. Alex (Tales of a Teenage Book Lover)No Gravatar

    Great review! I think I liked it a touch more than you.

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