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4.2 out of 5 stars85
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 19 May 2010
I loved the Study Series, and bought this book on the back of that one, expecting it to be just as good. The Study Series swept me along with it's fast-paced plot and interesting heroine. This book, however, did not affect me the same way.

The story focuses on Opal Cowan, a minor character from the Study Series. Five years have passed since the end of Fire Study, and Opal is at the Keep, still learning about magic. She is frustrated that she has only "one trick", is bullied by the other students, and only finds joy when she's making her glass animals. This changes, however, when she is recruited on a mission to help the Stormdancers discover the fault with their glass orbs. Over the course of the book, another blood magician is discovered to have escaped Yelena's clutches after the events of Fire Study, and Opal also finds herself torn between two men (one a bad-tempered Stormdancer and the other a somewhat dull and untalented glassmaker).

I found the characters not even half as interesting as I hoped. Through Yelena's eyes even the minor characters had charm and a certain pull that kept me reading. Opal is a much more withdrawn, self-pitying and sometimes selfish character, and it seems like we only see the bad points about the others - in the end I wasn't quite sure why Opal liked either of the two men who were vying for her attentions (or indeed why they liked her). Not even the appearance of some old friends towards the end of the book could save the book for me. Another down point was the plot. It dragged along, only picking up in a couple of places.

I gave the book three stars because there were good points. The world is still interesting, and the characters we know from before still have that draw, that pull that makes you care about what happens. And I would still buy the others in the trilogy to find out what happens to everyone. But I don't think I'd recommend this to anyone else. Overall, a disappointment.
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on 20 July 2010
I read the Study Series a while ago and I was utterly gripped and compelled - especially with Poison Study - so when I got wind of the fact that another series was going to come out, I couldn't wait - I've never felt so excited about book releases since Harry Potter ... but I wasn't as fascinated with Storm Glass when it came to reading it.

Firstly, I find the main character Opal rather self-pittying and irritating. I just want to shake her or tell her to get over herself. I know she's lost her (younger???) sister, I know she's been through a lot already, she's going to find it hard to trust people, blah-blah-blah. She just doesn't seem to appreciate anyone and she makes judgements without even making an effort herself. She's sulky and, I think, if I was at the Keep with her, I'd just ignore her aswell and get uppety with her - I don't think I'd go as far as treating her like Pazia does, but I wouldn't have much time for her.

I wasn't interested in the story. I actually struggled to find a story - it was just like a load of scenes thrown together - which is fine in its way - but I think there is a story in there somewhere and it would be nice to see it properly. Also, I don't really approve of the idea of 'sleep with the guy now or you'll regret it' - which is basically one of the issues and ideas portrayed throughout the book. But then I'm not a big lover of romance at the best of times so that might be just a personal thing. Also, I think we were all spoilt with Valek, so the love-interests in this series have a lot to live up to and, in my opinion, they all fail.

The action was plentiful and I was intrigued with each and every action scene - Snyder seems to have this knack of pulling you straight into the centre of the action - but ... I began to get a bit bored and now, in reading Sea Glass, I find it funny, with everyone either jabbing or getting jabbed in the 'Solar Plexis' - it was like Snyder had just discovered that this body-part existed and decided to make good use of it in every fight Opal encounters.

The other characters - like I said - big sisterly advice 'sleep with the man or you'll regret it' seemed a bit out of order to me. Opal should have felt able to make that decision herself and should have only made any advance when she was ready - make her own choices, show some strength of character etc. I found Opal's sister a bit thin on characterisation at the best of times and just found no interest in her at all and didn't care much for the opinions and attitudes she threw about. The male interests - one big, fit and brooding, the other dark, handsome stranger - a bit cliché in contrasts and I found Kade a bit too brooding - but I warmed to him. And I am secretly delighted that, so far, Opal has gone for him more - even though it might be because the other guy betrayed her. I was looking forward to seeing Yelena and Lief again - but I just cringed for some reason. Yelena's 'little friend' the bat and her constant banter with Lief - it just didn't do anything for me except to make me roll my eyes and think 'ohhh dear'.

Snyder still has the lovely smooth writing-style - it's not clumsy, it's not trying to be anything its not so it clearly brings everything to life and doesn't smother the events in the book - but in the Study series she can make you fret, she can make you laugh, bite your nails and the story flows wonderfully with it - but, although her style was still elegant in Storm Glass - it lacked the emotions and it was just as though I was reading a text-book - explaining the events rather than telling the story, which again, I just couldn't find.

HOWEVER ....

Something must have gone right. Despite my criticisms - I loved it. And I don't know why - I can't think of anything in the book that I found really compelling or that drew me closer to the characters or sparked any interest, and, as I've mentioned, I found plenty of flaws, but I couldn't stop reading and I'm currently reading Sea Glass - which is taking me a bit longer - It's presently on my table with a bookmark half-way through it, which is where it has been for maybe a couple of weeks - but, I think I'll be reading Spy Glass.

I've given it three stars because of the things I didn't particularly like, but something obviously worked for me and, I still stand by my original thoughts of SNyder as a writer - she has a rare gift and before I read Poison Study, I thought I'd lost my enthusiasm for reading altogether and Maria V. Snyder brought it all back - sometihng I'm grateful for. I would reccomend her to anyone and she is still one of my favourite authors. I just hope Spy Glass or her next series of books brings back her full potential as a writer because she deserves it.
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I have become a huge fan of Maria V. Snyder's since I discovered her books, I absolutely loved the Study trilogy staring Yelena and Valek but I was also looking forward to exploring more of this world she has created and meeting a new cast of characters in the Glass series. Although these trilogies are about different characters I would personally recommend reading the Ixia books in order, starting with the Study books and then moving on to the Glass series. It will make more sense to you that way as you'll get to see the full scope of the world and characters from previous books do make appearances in Storm Glass.

Opal was introduced in the previous books but we didn't get to know her well so I was really excited to learn more about her abilities to create wonderful creatures using glass and capture magic inside them. The magical glass she makes can be used by other magicians to communicate over long distances and I was interested to see what else she was capable of. One of my favourite things about this book was the description of glass blowing, I found it absolutely fascinating and it was described so vividly that I was able to picture exactly what Opal was doing. I actually quite fancy learning how to blow glass myself now and might have to look into the possibility of finding a class if it's not too expensive.

Opal has been studying at the Keep under the master magicians for four years now and although she is the only one who has the ability to trap magic within glass she really struggles with even the easiest kinds of magic. The other students make fun of her and consider her a one trick pony and she feels incredibly frustrated that she can't get the hang of anything else. She worries that she doesn't deserve her place at the Keep and is nervous that she will be sent back home.

Kade is a Stormdancer who is able to trap the energy from storms in glass orbs, these orbs are then used as an important energy source for factories and businesses but it is creating them and bleeding energy from the storms that helps the clans survive the winter weather. The Stormdancers have a problem though, the latest batch of orbs aren't able to do the job they were made for and they are cracking when they try to fill them with energy. Not only does this mean they are unable to reduce the strength of the upcoming storms but it also puts lives at risk when they try to channel the energy. Since this is a problem with glass Opal is the obvious person for the Keep to send to assist them but things are a lot more complicated than they first appear and Opal soon finds herself in the midst of a complex web of deceit and betrayal.

I found myself really liking Opal, she isn't as strong as Yelena was in the beginning, in fact, she's a little unsure of herself and doesn't really have much confidence in her magical abilities but she's intelligent and hard working which made it easy to respect her. We've already seen her kidnapped and tortured so the fact that she's come out the other side of her ordeal and with her sanity in tact shows that she has a strong backbone even if she doesn't realise it herself. I loved seeing her grow in confidence throughout the story, she really does come a long way and I'm sure we're going to see that continue throughout the series. I loved seeing her discover new sides to her abilities and things are definitely going to get interesting now we've seen more of what she is capable of. Opal may not be kick-ass in the same way Yelena was but she definitely has her own strengths and I'm glad she's so different to our previous main character.

I loved Stormdancer Kade from the beginning so was rooting for the two of them to end up together. I was a little frustrated by the triangle that formed when Ulrick came on the scene, I never really warmed to his character and hope that he doesn't have such a big role in the second book. It was also great to catch up with some of the characters we already know and love, Yelena makes an appearance along with her brother Leif and we also get to see a fair bit of Janco which was nice. I'll admit to being a little disappointed that we didn't get to catch up with Valek but I'm hoping that will change in the next book. Even though Storm Dance is a long book I found it to be a very quick read because I didn't want to put it down. Maria V. Snyder has a way of writing that hooks me in from the get go and I always feel incredibly invested in her characters and the journey they take. I can't wait to continue reading this series and see where she takes Opal next!
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on 2 June 2009
This book is superb and heralds a great series to come. This is the first book in a new series by Maria, it does have links to the another series written by Maria (Poison study, Magic study, Fire study), however you don't have to have read them as everything is explained.The blurb reads:

As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it's time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan's glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stromdancers- particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade- require
Opal's unqiue talents to prevent it happening again.
But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear.
With lives hanging in the balance- including her own- Opal must control powers she hadn't known she possed... powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she has ever known.

This is a wonderful book that I would re-read many times over.
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on 11 December 2011
Having read Snyder's previous study series I was very excited for this trilogy and rightly so. I couldnt disagree more with the 3 star reviews below. If anything this story is non stop thrilling and enjoyable throughout. The author begins the story with action and develops the pace very well throughout the book. There is just the right amount of action, emotion and storyline. If anything I would say it generates alot more suspense than the previous trilogy.

The plot line is brilliant in this book. It is so much thicker than the previous trilogy and makes for a longer read (which I love). The story develops well and Snyder makes a very good attempt at introducing and describing all the key characters without leaving out detailed explanations of Sitia. There are also many ups and downs that you find yourself reading well past your bed time.

The main character, Opal, goes through many phases of change throughout the book and I thought it was fabulous to have this in a story. I don't think characters are ever perfect from beginning to end as people are in real life so this brings an essence of realisticness to the story. There are many points in this story and the rest of the trilogy where you do want to scream at Opal but I think it's all part of how her character grows. Being annoyed at the main characters actions is just another emotion your forced to feel while reading and reading is all about making you feel different emotions!

The thing I love about Snyder's books are her descriptions of magic. Many books (Harry Potter included) use magic as a main part of their story lines but actually fail to say where it comes from and what it feels like. Snyder however has gone into great detail about magic (as have many of my favourite sci-fi authors) and this just makes the experience of reading her books all the more worthwhile. My sister and I really wish there was such a thing as magic after reading this book!

All in all I devoured this book as soon as I got it and purchased the entire trilogy! Its up their with the Harry Potter series but at times I think I enjoy reading Snyder's books much much more! I would recommend this to everyone who loves sci-fi fantasy and in fact I have managed to get 5 other people into this series!
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VINE VOICEon 12 September 2009
I have read the author's previous trilogy and loved poison study and magic study, I thought that the last one 'fire study' was the weakest book of the three. This new book is largely based on events from that book and therefore appeared to be a re-hash of that plot. The main character has no real appeal and her potential suitors are the same, quite dull. If you didn't enjoy 'Fire Study' you won't enjoy this book either.
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on 6 September 2010
Boring, boring and boring - the first books were so interesting and full of character - this one is not worth reading really ... I've got half-way through it and given up. I was really looking forward to this book and now I feel deflated and disappointed. What went wrong - it doesn't even seem like the same author wrote them.
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on 23 January 2011
Storm glass is a great story i just couldnt put it down, when i got the end i just wanted more. I kept reading it at every moment i had spare, lunch break ,on the bus to and from school ,when i got home from school,before i when to bed. when ever i could it just great!
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on 14 October 2013
Opal has never felt totally secure in her place at the Keep, the magical academy in Sitia. She feels isolated from her peers and has never really gotten over the brutal events of her kidnapping and torture. But there is one thing in her life that she understands and controls above anything else - glass. She has been making her glass animals for the masters and the small amount of magic she traps inside allows the owners to use them to communicate.

When a powerful Stormdancer clan approaches the Keep for help, it is Opal's unique abilities that can save them. And it is there that Opal meets the strongest Stormdancer, Kade, who carries with him an unbearable load of grief and guilt. Opal understands him in ways few others can and as she helps the rest of his clan, their bond deepens.

As she tries to get to the bottom of the Stormdancer's problems, it forces Opal to push her own magic and develop her powers which are frighteningly strong and has the potential to make Opal an unbeatable force.

Storm Glass was an absolute pleasure to read. I am a massive Maria V. Snyder fan and thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in the Chronicles of Ixia series. Opal makes her first appearance in the third book, so it was a delight for her to get her own spinoff.

Opal herself is a complex character. She struggles with what happened to her when she first met Yelena and doesn't really know who she is or what her place is at the Keep. I really enjoyed seeing Opal begin to discover herself and form real bonds with other people.

Storm Glass was an exhilarating adventure story that had me on the edge of my seat. It has a softer side with a love triangle. It's a slow burner that will more than likely take the length of all three books to fully develop. Opal still has a lot of growing to do...and some decisions to make.

This stunning fantasy book will please all fans who adore Ixia and all her people.
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on 9 September 2013
Opal is always unsure of her place at Sitia's magic academy. In her 5th year at the magicians keep she'd hoped to be able to do more with her magic. Fearing she is limited to one magical skill, and called a one trick wonder by classmates, after she helped Liaison Yelena capture evil souls, and haunted by her past, she's nervous to undertake her very first mission with Zitora, a master magician from her clan. Opal makes glass statues, specifically animals, and her one magical skill is that she can insert a thread of magic into them that only magicians can see. The glass animals she creates allow the magicians to communicated over distances, glass messengers. the Stormdance clan magicians can siphon the energy of a storm into glass orbs providing an energy source. The Stormdancers orbs have been inexplicably shattering ever since the old glassmaker died, those left make the orbs but the glass is flawed. Every time an orb shatters it kills a Stormdancer, and Opal is sent to find and correct the problem before the clan is massacred and more damage is done. They need her skills to protect their people. But there's a group of mysterious masked strangers trying to stop them reaching and helping the Stormdance clan and perhaps something more is going on. And do they have anything to do with the contaminated lime? When she meets the mercurial, mysterious, Stormdancer Kade, their plea for help is hard to resist, but she's also drawn to the protective Ulrick, but is he who he seems? However, Opal uncovers a new kind of magic that's incredibly potent and frightening. Surrounded by danger and deception, will Opal and her untested abilities destroy her? Or will she save them?

I found it hard to get in to the story and connect with the protagonist right off the bat which made the book very difficult for me to read. I thought from the back the main plot line was about the Stormdancers and the orbs and Kade, but that was solved pretty early on and then we met Ulrick and his relationship with Opal seemed to make Kade and the description the back a bit redundant.

I don't think the blurb of the book sets the reader up with an adequate look at the book and what happens. I found myself wondering half way through the book what the actual plot line was supposed to be because it chopped and changed so much, the main plot line indicated only lasted a small portion of the book and wasn't the main plotline.

I'd also like to point out that this is supposedly the start of a new trilogy, Yelena's story was pretty much recapped every other chapter, and at every available chance.If you picked this up hoping for a new angle on the world of Ixia....you can forget about that right now and prepare for endless pages of "Yelena this, Yelena that, Yelena, Yelena, Yelena"

My other issue with the book is that I didn't like Opal, the main character very much. She's very whiney,she withholds useful information very conveniently, she just wanders through the story having things happen to her, going wherever the author pushes her with no character development or thought at all, she's not a strong female character at all.

She gets kidnapped left, right and centre, and after every attempt she still thinks "hmmm even though I've failed to multiple times now...I still think I can maybe defend myself" and each time fails. Opal is like a wannabe Yelena, and i'm fairly certain she isn't supposed to be. But then considering the shambolic and episodic layout of the storyline who knows what the Author wanted to achieve? If there was an objective for Opal then I have no clue what it was because it wasn't made clear.

Sure there where small parts of interest, but the whole mean girl thing was so cliche, and we weren't shown the girls behavior, we where just told so personally I felt no sympathy for her whatsoever. It felt at one point like we'd have the mean girl and Opal suddenly put aside the differences and become friends when there was the whole "I thought you thought you where better than everyone" "no I thought you thought you where better than everyone" conversation, but that was abandoned. While there's a real and human aspect to the character of Opal and her doubts, it just gets irritating after a point.
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