If I am being honest I was not expecting to enjoy this book-at all. While I am a fan of Lauren Destefano as a person (she seems lovely and witty, if her Twitter is to be believed) and her The Chemical Garden trilogy was widely loved, her original series was not for me. With that in mind, I assumed The Glass Spare could easily go the same way for me. I'm pleasantly surprised to report that it did not.
Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
I thought the Glass Spare was an enjoyable read from page one. I had intended to just get a couple of chapters read and ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. Wil, the hidden princess, discovers a terrifying ability to turn things to gemstone. We embark with her on a thrilling journey as she is banished from her home and struggles against her powers.
The primary characters in the book- Wil, Loom, Owen, Gerdie, and Zay- were all incredibly well-rounded, enjoyable characters. I don't think any of the characters noticeably lacked dimension or development which was impressive. Loom and his sister, oddly enough, reminded me of Zuko and Azula which I was LIVING FOR. This book had great characters and an interesting premise. The world building was nice, and I always felt aware of the world I was reading. The journey was always fun to read and I never found it saggy.
I think going into this without specific expectation was what really enabled to enjoy this book. After reading this I added to my Goodreads, and while on the page I couldn't help noticing a lot of comparisons/perceptions that are very inaccurate to my experience with the book. I love Goodreads and reviewing, obviously, but in these cases I think it could completely set it up for failure if it is read with these ideas in mind. So
1.) The Glass Spare is not a Shatter Me 2.0. The person who said that had not read the book and was merely musing, which is perfectly fine. But I believe some people took that to heart and picked this up expecting it to be Shatter Me 2.0, which is wildly unfair. This book can be compared to lots of things but definitely has its own unique premise which is dissimilar to Shatter Me.
2.) This book does not have a villain love interest. I know one reader was particularly disappointed after it was sold to her that way. I believe to consider the love interest a villain is a horrible categorization. The 'cursed prince' is perfectly nice, it's just that, if anything, they could be considered at-odds with one another. NOT A VILLAIN. I can see where that set-up could be disappointing, if villain love interests are your thing.
3.)This book has been pitched, at some point, as a Steampunk Fantasy which I completely disagree with. This book is a fantasy but if you're picking this up because you love Steampunk- well, you're not going to find that.
Overall, The Glass Spare was a success for me and I am excited to follow the series as it continues. Click below to check it out on Goodreads, Amazon and Lauren Destefano's Site.