Review: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

7 May

Series: Faeriewalker, book #1

Published: May 25th 2010 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Details: Paperback, 294 pages

My Rating: 3/5

My Summary:

About Dana, who runs away from her alcoholic human mother, to stay with her faery father. She soon realizes that she has a unique ability that makes her a great threat to the people in power. In other words, she is in danger. This book starts out great, then started sagging in the middle with fuzzily explained motives and political faery intrigues. Great secondary characters though. I may read the sequel Shadowspell.


A few chapters in:

I usually don’t pay much attention to beautiful book covers, because to me they are nothing more than just that.. book covers, and hence no proof whether the content is good or not.

However, last week I think an exception occurred. I passed through a book store, and somehow ended up walking out with Glimmerglass in my hand, even though I had no idea what it was about (apart from the obvious faery theme), nor did I know if it had received good reviews.

Then what happened?

Well, a gorgeous book cover lured me in. That’s what happened!

I have checked a few reviews now, which hasn’t really helped as they are all quite mixed. So, let’s just hope for the best now, shall we?

I’m a few chapters in and at least I am intrigued by the opening of the book, which is a good sign.

Dana, our 16-year old heroine is tired of living and taking care of her drunken mom, and so she decides to go and live with her dad instead. The thing is, her dad is a faery, and he lives in Avalon which is the only town in the world where faeries and humans can co-exist, a kind of border if you like to the fairy world. So Dana jumps on a plane to head over there.

She barely touches ground before she gets into trouble. Instead of her dad meeting her, she’s picked up by her aunt Grace who locks her into her home claiming it’s for Dana’s own protection.

And weirder it gets, when in the middle of the night she gets kidnapped from her aunt’s cell by two stranger teenager sibling faeries, and taken to an underground get-to-together.

The kidnappers don’t seem to be the bad guys though. Kimber and Ethan as they’re called, explain to Dana that her aunt Grace was holding her imprisoned for selfish political reasons. It appears as if Avalon is getting closer to an important election, and both Dana’s aunt and dad are fighting for the throne.

It’s believed that Dana has some kind of power that could cement the victory, which is why aunt Grace thought it necessary to keep her locked away. However, what exactly that power is, remains a mystery.

And that is as far as I’ve got. But like I said, I’m intrigued. The start promises a great world-building, as we dive into Avalon and the land of fairies with unseelie and seelie courts, monsters and a cute faery healer (Ethan). 



After finishing the book:

So, I just finished Glimmerglass and I wish I could say it was as great as the cover promised..

But unfortunately, I can’t. Because this book was just okay.

As seen above, we literally get thrown into the story as Dana goes to live with her dad in the gate town of the faery land , also know as Avalon. She immediately gets into trouble, is kidnapped a number of times by various people, faces monsters and meets a cute fairy. In other words, so far I was really enjoying it and I felt confident it was heading towards at least a 4/5.

Then gradually, starting from somewhere in the middle when Dana finally finds her dad, my interest started to fade, and I’m having troubles putting my finger on exactly why.

I have a couple of theories though:

First of all, the pace and the thread of the plot halted once Dana found her dad. Up until that point, it had been an exciting ride to follow Dana as she was searching for her dad in an unknown country filled with dangers and strange faery people. When she did find her dad, everything halted. Because what now?

As Dana was now safely tucked into her dad’s place, the plot took a political direction with Dana’s dad heading off to various political meetings to try to sort out how to protect Dana the best. Whenever action was needed there would be a random attack on Dana, then once again she would be moved to a protected place and more political meetings followed. In short, the plot suddenly felt random, rather than well-thought.

However, all this (political stuff) would have been okay if only I had understood better why Dana was in such mortal danger.  

It is explained that the reason why everyone is after Dana is because she is a faery walker, and while I understand the idea (someone who can walk in both worlds – faery and human), the reasons why that made her such an incredible threat were quite vague. I mean true, the last faery walker was apparently no angel, and yes I do get that Dana can bring dangerous technology into the faery world, as well as magic into the human world. Yet, I still don’t get how that makes her a huge threat to everyone, so much that she can potentially cement a victory for anyone who allies themselves with her.

And while speaking about fuzziness, I thought the world-building was a bit fuzzily drawn too. Especially this whole thing  with fairies not being able to enter the human world and vice versa. Why was that? And what about Avalon? Why could both species co-exist there? I would have loved to get a better feel for Avalon and what made  that place so unique. As it was now, I had a hard time picturing the place in my mind.

I also didn’t quite get all the political stuff. It’s explained that a fairy consul is to be appointed soon which is creating quite a stir, but I had a hard time connecting this bit of information to Dana’s story. True, tension ran a bit higher than usual in Avalon, but how is Dana being a fairy walker helping a consul to get elected? By bringing technology into the fairy land or what?

Or maybe I’m asking too much from the start of a series?

I just don’t know. All I know is that I like to feel immersed into a world, and while the glimpses that I got from this faery world (water witches, knights, seelie courts etc) were intriguing, never did I feel completely immersed. I think simply because the glimpses that I got were too few.

Lastly, I felt that the villain in the end was drawn a bit too black-and white for me. I like my villains to be multi-dimensional with a well motivated agenda rather than just “I’m evil and this is what evil people do”. The villain in this book definitely fit the latter category. 

However, as much as it sounds like I’m bashing the book now, I did give it a 3/5 for a reason.

Essentially, what saved it from a lower grade, was the characters, combined with the glimpses of the fairy world that we got. In fact, I liked pretty much all of the secondary characters; Dana’s stern and blunt dad, the secret-police look-alike Finn and his rebellious goth son, the insecure Kimberly and the womanizer Ethan.

Strangely enough the heroine Dana was the character I felt the least for, or rather, she was just okay.  In fact, she felt like any other teen-ager, with her rebellious acts against her father, insecurities and pouting around. In other words, not particularly strong, but she may experience growth in the following books.

Which leads me to: Will I read the following books?

To be honest, I don’t know. The sequel Shadowspell is already out on the shelves, and the third installment is to be released this summer. Judging by the reviews of Shadowspell, there is some improvement to the series, so I might give it a go. But it won’t happen anytime soon.

3 Responses to “Review: Glimmerglass by Jenna Black”

  1. patsy williams May 6, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    put down whatever you are reading
    get in your car
    drive to bookstore
    buy Divergent by Veronica Roth
    If blog was called readingafterhungergames
    this is what you would want to read next
    very hyped book that actually nails it
    love story, plot, world building, bad guys
    all spot on
    only had four and a half hours sleep last night cos i had to finish it
    and have that still thinking about it feeling today
    go now!!

    • tess May 7, 2011 at 7:59 am #

      I just did the next best thing, which is ordering it on amazon, so it will arrive shortly! Love how enthusiastic you are! But I can see it was an amazing read if you are all sleep deprived because of it, I really cannot WAIT to read this one now! As always, thanks for your book tips!!


  1. Review: Iron King by Julie Kagawa « After Twilight… - June 28, 2011

    […] of similarities, it also shares some similarities with Glimmerglass, with how both heroines (due to mixed parentage) can live in both worlds. All though, while I had […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: