Maria V. Snyder
It’s not surprising that Snyder is an award winning author. She has this stunning way of weaving intricate stories that take hold of my imagination and don’t let go even after I’ve turned the last page. Vividly written, she makes her places into people and her people into real Human Beings. It’s wonderful and every time I open one of her books, I can’t help but revel in it. This story is no exception. It’s set in the same universe as the Study series, which made me do a little happy dance. She has crafted this world in such detailed vibrance that a part of me would like to move there even knowing the trials that her lead characters have to fight through.
Publisher’s Blurb (an excerpt can be found at that link):
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 Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to 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 possessed…powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.
I can’t tell you how happy I was to learn that this is Opal’s story. I remember loving her and her bravery in the Study series. It’s rare that an author does a full series to follow a character who wasn’t exactly a lead in a past series, but after reading this book, it really needs to be done more often. Opal shines in her humanity. The uncertainty she battles made her incredibly empathetic. She feels familiar already, like a friend you haven’t seen in years and had forgotten how much you missed until you see them. This is one of Snyder’s great skills. She creates these women who are incredibly intelligent and strong, but almost never view themselves in that light.
I also loved how she included most of the cast from the previous series. Sure four years down the line, the characters from the Study series will be more comfortable in the positions and the countries of Ixia and Sitia will have changed a bit, but none of the characters had changed past the point of recognition. They were the same people at their cores, which added even more depth to the story because these are people that you already know and love. The story even references the Study series without going into great depth to explain the details. If you haven’t read any Snyder, I highly suggest you start with the Study series and then move on to this one. Having the context from the Study series really does make this series richer. Though I have to say, it’s plenty rich in its own right.
Snyder does an astonishing job of crafting a story that will capture your imagination. She introduces new characters and allows Opal the room to become truly brilliant. This is an action packed story that’s nothing short of addicting.
5 ink bottles.
Character Believability: 5 Buffys
Character Investibility: 5 Doctors
Pace/Urgency/Tension: 5 Dresdens
Worldbuilding: 5 Snyders
Language: 5 Feegles
Mystery: 5 Sherlocks