Jeff Wheeler is an author that I see come up quite a lot. I’ve never read any of his books though, so I thought it was time to rectify that. It left me with mixed feelings but see what you think – here’s my review on Storm Glass.
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Publisher: 47North | Date: 2018 | Genre: Science Fiction
Plot: Theirs is a world of opposites. The privileged live in sky manors held aloft by a secretive magic known only as the Mysteries. Below, the earthbound poor are forced into factory work to maintain the engine of commerce. Only the wealthy can afford to learn the Mysteries, and they use their knowledge to further lock their hold on society.
Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.
Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.
Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.
But both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn both their worlds.
I received Storm Glass from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Storm Glass Review
Storm Glass left me with mixed feelings. For the majority of the book, I wasn’t certain if I was enjoying it or if the characterisations were grating on me. Then I suddenly realised that I was making the point of finishing it one evening rather than saving it for the train. I wanted to know what would happen though; something kept me engaged.
The two main characters are twelve-year-old girls, Cettie – a waif from “down below”, a nobody with nothing and Sera – a princess given everything but her freedom.
I liked Cettie. She has courage and only desires to fit in with a loving family, changing her life for the better. She aims to please and will do anything to be accepted by her new family, despite the hardships they throw at her. While not the strongest character, she was likeable enough.
Sera is spoilt. Not allowed to leave the house and denied an education, Sera suffers a form of abuse. Loneliness and isolation are her main companions. But there was something in Sera’s attitude: she doesn’t think of consequences and deliberately goads her governess. Despite her circumstances, it was sometimes hard to see past the spoilt exterior.
“To fully master your mind, you must learn not to react to being observed by others. We naturally seek to please. To be acceptable. And in so doing, we give others – even our loved ones – power over our minds.”Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler
Sera also goes from spending her lessons daydreaming to suddenly become studious and devouring everything she can. But, as a reader, I didn’t feel there was a transition period between the two and it was jarring.
At times, the adults in this book felt more childish than their children. Sera’s father especially acted as a toddler who wasn’t getting his own way. I couldn’t connect with any of the adults. Fitzroy was likeable enough, but I didn’t feel anything on an emotional level with the older characters.
The mixed feelings come from moments of pure frustration. Anna (Fitzroy’s youngest) is also plagued by ghosts. She can’t see them though, leaving her terrified. It’s obvious she feels how strongly Mrs Pullman – the housekeeper – dislikes her (despite no obvious reason as to why is given: I guessed it was because Anna has a good heart). I never understood why she didn’t tell her father as they clearly have a strong relationship.
Storm Glass has a fairly gentle pace for the majority of the book. The switching narration allows a few months to pass without feeling like there are obvious gaps, allowing Cettie to settle into her new life and Sera to adapt to her new schedule. The pace quickened towards the end and the tension increased, resulting in an engaging finale.
The final scene, however, felt rushed. Rather than concluding this book, it ended by setting up the next, which left characters in random places. It wasn’t the most satisfying ending.
Like I said: mixed feelings here. I ultimately enjoyed this book though and it held my attention throughout.
Have you read any of Wheeler’s books? Does this sound like your kind of thing?
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