SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1466 The Glasswrights' Progress, by Mindy L. Klasky Book Review |

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The Glasswrights' Progress, by Mindy L. Klasky
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Published: 2001
Review Posted: 6/11/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Glasswrights' Progress, by Mindy L. Klasky

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

The Glasswrights' Progress is the second book in the Glasswright series by Mindy L. Klasky and I finished it this morning. I though the first book, The Glasswrights' Apprentice, showed some real promise for the character and the world and I was looking forward to seeing how Rani, the main character, was going to go about restoring the Glasswrights' Guild that was destroyed in the first book. That seemed to me to be the obvious plotline for continuing the series after the way the first book ended.

However, that turns out NOT to be what the second book is about. There are hints of that storyline here--Rani has that goal--but there isn't much progress made toward that goal in this book, regardless of the title. Instead, the book is about how Rani is kidnapped from her life in the court of the new King Halaravilli, the boy she unwittingly helped put on the throne, and taken to the northern realm of Amanthia, where King Sin-Hazar is planning war. Of course, Rani becomes embroiled in the politics and the mechanics of the preparations for war and ends up being important in the final outcome. The most shocking aspect of this war is that King Sin Hazar appears intent on forming an army of children, training them as if they were men already.

I thought the book was interesting, especially in the way in which the two kingdoms differ in their idea of a caste system. In the south, Rani's homeland, the castes are separated by, essentially, the job the person has, such as Trader or Soldier or Touched. In Amanthia, the caste is predicted at the time of the person's birth, a tattoo traced on the person's face signifying whether they are lions, owls, swans, or suns. The rest of their life is dictated by that tattoo. I also liked how the Fellowship of Jair--the group that helped Rani reach her new position in the first book--is used and how its perception shifts in this book.

That said, I felt this second novel suffered from the rumored "second novel syndrome." I didn't feel it was as well written as the first, and I was disappointed that there wasn't more done with the restoration of the Glasswrights' Guild. Some progress is made in that respect, but it was more or less tacked on to the end. The new characters introduced were interesting, but I was still more invested in Rani and her plight than any of the others. And I felt that the threat of war needed to be . . . well, more threatening. There were a few good scenes indicating the stakes, but overall the war itself--the marching northward, the preparations, and the final confrontation--weren't a significant portion of the novel. Most of it was Rani's kidnapping, the introduction of the new characters in Amanthia, and the convergence of their plotlines.

So, in the end I enjoyed the book, but overall it felt like a bridging novel to the third book. I realize that in order for Rani to make any progress in restoring her guild that she needed to leave the realm of Morenia (all things glasswright were destroyed in the previous king's rage over his son's death), but I would have liked to have seen more developed along this plotline. I'm moving on to the third book, hoping for more on the guild.
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