Review: Glamour in Glass
So did you read the first one yet? Or really any of them as I don’t think you lose too much if you take them out of order? The adventures of Jane and Vincent are at their best when you don’t know what to expect, but let me try to sell you on the second entry.
It’s fantasy, but in the best kind of way. Glamour, the ability to create illusion at the cost of a little endurance, is inserted into the world in the most Victorian kind of way. A distraction for the rich. It’s something that anyone can do, but it’s so ephemeral that the common person has no practical application beyond some small augmentation of normal activities. So much of my appreciation of the world building on display isn’t about the fantasy, but about the historical implications of this small change in the world. They are slight changes, people out of place, or implications of the abilities of those involved. It’s tricky to do, mostly because fantasy power has a way of swelling out of your control, and so the mastery on display in this series is the kind of work that inspires and not just entertains.
This one shows Kowal’s first expansion of the world out of the homes of the rich and into the politics of Europe in a post Napoleonic world. The story moves seamlessly between the global politics of the continent and little world that Jane and Vincent carry around with them. The life of a married couple who have eschewed most of their familial connections to pursue a life of their own.
And like the best historical fiction you don’t need to know much about the events that parallel the novel and yet there’s also no moments where the author has to sit you down and give you a lesson about the rise and fall of dictators.
In the end the swings of history pendulum along and it’s the small world of Jane and Vincent that wrenches your guts and leaves you with hope for the characters that survived in future novels. I love that these stories are so self contained and yet never so complete that I’m not ready to jump into the next part of the series. Four stars out of five.