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Storm Glass (The Chronicles of Ixia) Paperback – 19 Dec 2011
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'Storm Glass is accesible, unusual and most of all fun. If you're looking for a quick, entertaining summer read, you couldn't do much better.' -- --Deathray
'A novel of love, struggle, storms and magic and thoroughly enjoyable.' -- --lovereading.co.uk
'There is a lovely light touch to this series reminiscent of early Anne McCaffrey, so it s gratifying to see that Snyder has managed to deliver the old one-two fantasy-literature punch.' --Rhianna Pratchett, SFX, on Magic Study
About the Author
Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.
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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 Opal is a much more withdrawn, self-pitying and sometimes selfish character, and it seems like we only see the bad points about the others - in the end I wasn't quite sure why Opal liked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.
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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