Princess of Glass
by Jessica Day George
In this sequel to The Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess Poppy is sent off to a foreign country to help smooth the political stresses that her family curse kicked up in the last book. For the first time, she’s running off without her twin, or any other member of her family, and it turns out that her castle isn’t the only one that comes with curses.
This Cinderella retelling comes with the usual things – masquerades, glass slippers, and midnight bells – and a few unusual things: love spells, knitted bracelets and herbal concoctions to keep Princes safe, wicked witches, and doors in the fireplace. I enjoyed it for those small surprises, and if it stuck close to the familiar lines of the story, it also smartly decided to follow a main character that was not Cinderella herself.
Near the end of the book, the plot comes together in a tumble, a little too quickly for satisfaction. The characters’ bonding moments are not written as smoothly as they are in the first book, but there are also a few stand-out scenes that carried enough emotional energy to keep me happy.
Overall, I enjoyed Midnight Ball more, but Glass was a pleasant sequel and I enjoyed the chance to spend more time with the confident, capable Poppy.
by Victoria Schwab
The world is divided into three pieces: the Outer where the living reside; the Archives where the memories of the dead are stored as Histories; and the Narrows, a buffer between the two that looks like a twisted brick hallway with doors leading to both sides. Sometimes, the Histories wake up, confused and desperate for home, and escape into the Narrows. That’s when they call the Keepers, like Mackenzie and her grandfather before her, to track them down and return them safely to the Archives. If they reach the Outer… well, there are reasons we have such violent myths about ghosts.
When Mackenzie’s grandfather dies, it’s a long time coming, and she slips easily into his role as a Keeper. When her younger brother dies, it’s sudden, and the Archives rules and secrets seem harder to keep, especially when she knows where his memory is kept. While she’s grieving, her mother is busy try to move the family forward with a new home and a new business, and Histories begin escaping to the Narrows in larger numbers than she’s ever seen.
I didn’t realize I was picking up a ghost story when I first started reading this book, but I also wasn’t disappointed to find myself chasing down the dead with Mackenzie. The writing was smart, quick in most places, and easy to read. The world was even easier to slip into, full of libraries and abandoned places, silences that felt like home and some that felt like an old ache. I enjoyed myself every time I opened the book.
There are a few things I would change: There’s a kiss that bothered me because of its ulterior motives. There was a character that I thought could have had more interesting motivations. I honestly would have liked for the villain of the story not to be the villain.
Because all those things were stacked in the last fifty pages of the book, I don’t think I will be running out to pick up this book’s sequel. However, I’m keeping this book on my shelf, because I can imagine days I would like to slip back into this world.
What have you been reading?