*please note, I received The Glass Magician as an eARC, however half way through I broke my foot and ended up ill. As I was able to get the audio book, I listened to the rest whilst being too lazy to hold a book. My point being, if there were any discrepancies between the two editions that have affected my review I am sorry. *
I was lucky enough to read The Paper Magician and The Glass Magician back to back an thus I was able to let the story flow on, rather than halting between books. It gave a good overall perspective of the ongoing development of the plot and characters.
There were some changes in The Glass Magician that both excited and puzzled me. The romance (or lack thereof) progresses sweetly in Glass, and it is reminiscent of the older classical romance novels where the tension and furtive glances become more important than the physicality of the relationship. It actually made my investment in the romance much deeper, than if all that built up anxiety hadn't been there. I might be old fashioned, but I really liked that things aren't rushed forward for the sake of a quick hay romp.
Glass is a lot more sword and sorcery feeling than Paper. Much more running about frantically and throwing spells around. Risks and badly made decisions by the characters move the adventure forward rather than actual character development in this instalment. Less whimsy, more dirty. I wasn't perturbed as that is something I love to read, but I think it might be a bit off putting for some. Either way, it is a big difference. It wasn't all dash and scramble, there is a heavy emphasis put on the overlying theme of responsibility and where it lies within each character. It is sometimes quite emotionally confronting, probably more so for those inclined to try and carry burdens not their own.
Character wise there were some really flimsy introductions that were not particularly well handled. One seemed a convenience character and another probably would've made a better impact if she had been introduced in the first book so her eventual course held some real intensity. As it was, she seemed like a throw in that didn't have the grounding needed to create the relationship I think was trying to be portrayed. I liked the addition, just not the handling.
Actually, the timing in Glass seemed to be an issue and I think there were things that would've been better served spread throughout the series, rather than within the confines on this one installment. For instance, there was a game changer at the end that felt like either a cheap cliffhanger or a badly planned introduction into the next novel. I don't mind breaking some rules (they are meant to be broken right?), however something about the timing annoyed me, maybe the mystery of the 'change'(how, why, what could be done) could've been held over to the next book? The intrigue would've kept readers hooked into the series and it wouldn't have made me screw up my face so vehemently. As it is, the ending almost shuts the flow off like the turn of a tap. I guess time will tell on that one. I believe the next book is out in June of this year, so it will be interesting to see how it is handled.
Overall though, I still really enjoyed The Glass Magician. There were some foibles, but it still thrummed with excitement, tension and magical early Windsor era charm. I do look forward to seeing the progression in the next book and if I was enchanted with it whilst in an illness induced grump, it's worth it's weight in gold (the physical edition of course! The ebook being weightless doesn't give the statement much impact really)...This review was originally posted on Book Frivolity