Set in the same world as her previous series, The Study Series, Maria V. Snyder tantalizes readers with another complex, masterful story set in a magical world so convincing that she’ll have you believing that it’s actually real. Being a huge fan of The Study Series, I opened Storm Glass with huge expectations. It didn’t take too long for me to realise that Maria V. Snyder was not going to disappoint me, either.
Opal Cowan is good with glass. Really good. There is only one other person in all of Sitia that can equal her talent, and that’s her father. She has been living in The Keep for the last few years trying to learn the art of magic, but magic, it seems, is not one of Opal’s stronger points. She did successfully help Liaison Yelana trap a whole bunch of evil souls once, but since then Opal hasn’t had a whole lot of luck learning how to use magic. The other students at The Keep call her a One-Trick-Wonder. Consequently, Opal is a bit of a loner.
But Opal underestimates her abilities and lacks the self-confidence required to identify and nurture her talents. You see, Opal isn’t just good with glass – she’s incredible. She has created a communications system for the Master Magicians out of ‘magical’ tiny glass creatures. Master Cowan believes in Opal, even if she doesn’t believe in herself, and when the Stormdancers orbs start shattering, killing Stormdancers in the process, Master Cowan orders Opal to accompany her on a mission to their caves to investigate the reason the orbs are shattering.
The recipe for the Stormdancers’s glass orbs is a big secret, and the glassmakers in their tribe are the only ones that know it. But Opal is smart and figures it out quickly. Then the glassmakers that know the recipe start dying – or rather, they’re murdered – and Opal finds her life in danger. Ulrick – a fellow glassmaker and good friend – appoints himself as Opal’s bodyguard. But Ulrick has a vested interest, you see. He’s hopelessly in love with Opal and would do anything to keep her safe. Opal feels a little spark with Ulrick, but there’s no raging fire, if you know what I mean.
Then there is Kade, a Stormdancer. When it comes to Kade, Opals insides explode like fireworks. But Kade isn’t interested in Opal – he’s too caught up in mourning the death of his twin to notice anything else. Would it be wrong of Opal to enter into a relationship with Ulrick – someone she only has luke-warm feelings for – when she feels so strongly for someone else?
The true scope of Opal’s power is astonishing, but she seems to be the only one who can’t see it. So when she’s kidnapped and forced to realise her power for herself in order to save her own life and the life of the one she loves, the outcome will leave readers gaping in amazement.
Storm Glass is a lesson in confidence and demonstrates that in order to reach one’s full potential, you must believe in yourself first and foremost. In this suspenseful page-turner Maria V. Snyder explores the depths of human relationships and evidences that love, honesty and compassion are far more powerful than magic ever could be. Opal is a bit of a door-mat and at several points throughout the novel, I found myself wishing that Opal would just grow a pair already. I’m happy to report that she does.
This is one for the underdogs of the world. You can be great, too, if you just believe in yourself first.
Storm Glass is scheduled for release on April 28, 2009.