by Maria V. Snyder
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Untrained. Untested. Unleashed.
With her unique magical abilities, Opal has always felt unsure of her place at Sitia’s magic academy. But when the Stormdancer clan needs help, Opal’s knowledge makes her the perfect choice—until the mission goes awry. Pulling her powers in unfamiliar directions, Opal finds herself tapping into a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. Now Opal must deal with plotters out to destroy the Stormdancer clan, as well as a traitor in their midst. With danger and deception rising around her, will Opal’s untested abilities destroy her—or save them all?
(synopsis from Goodreads)
I've been hearing about Maria V. Snyder's books for a while now. I hadn't read either the Study or the Glass series, so I figured I'd pick the one that appealed to me the most and start. Unfortunately, as it turns out, that wasn't the best plan. Storm Glass may be the first book in its trilogy, but it is not the first book in the series... as is made quite clear with the constant references to the events of the Study series. The author tries to explain the events that came before, but it didn't work for me; the more things were explained, the more I felt like I'd missed something.
I read 100 pages, and I still don't feel like I know the characters. I certainly don't know them enough to care what happens to them. What's the big deal if the Stormdancers don't catch all the storms? Does weather have to be controlled by humans? What happened before the Stormdancers were around to harness that energy? I feel like I should know these things, but I don't. We're just told that it's important that they have their glass orbs for catching storms. If I'm supposed to care, shouldn't I have a better understanding of why?
I think the thing that turned me off the most about this book, though, was the writing. It reminded me of that of Alyson Noël, whose prose I can't stand due to the omnipresent sentence fragments and all-around grammar abuse. While Snyder's writing wasn't quite that bad, there were a few things that bothered me. There were sentence fragments all over the place. Long ones. While I don't mind them in certain circumstances, they don't always work when they get to be lengthy. When I end up searching for the verb and I can't find it, I get frustrated. The author also abused the poor semicolon; I don't think she quite knows how to use it. Most of the instances I can recall seemed to require a comma rather than a semicolon (since the part after the semicolon wasn't a complete sentence). It's little things like this that drive me to distraction, make me give up on the book, and (once again) curse the seeming dearth of editors in the publishing industry. This was not a self-published book. Why didn't anyone catch these mistakes?
One more point about the writing: if you're writing high fantasy, don't make your characters speak like contemporary tweens. "Yippee for me" is not something I expect to hear in a pre-industrial world of magic. That wasn't the only colloquialism that I encountered, but it was the most jarring.
So, in the final analysis, the reasons why I didn't finish Storm Glass are as follows:
- boring story that relies too much on its predecessors
- sentence fragments
- punctuation abuse
- "Yippee for me." Enough said.