SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1467 The Glasswrights' Test, by Mindy L. Klasky Book Review |

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The Glasswrights' Test, by Mindy L. Klasky
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Roc
Published: 2003
Review Posted: 6/11/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Glasswrights' Test, by Mindy L. Klasky

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

The Glasswrights' Test is the fourth book in the Glasswrights series by Mindy L. Klasky. I've been steadily working my way through the series these last few months, with my limited reading time. This series is set in a medieval fantasy world--so castles, kings, guilds, etc--but the main focus in on Ranita Glasswright, her quest to restore the Glasswrights' Guild after her actions in the first book caused it to be destroyed, and her own personal quest to become a master glasswright herself, since the guild was destroyed when she was a mere apprentice.

I thought the first book was good, the second book not as much, but the third book rocked. I liked the new land and culture that was visited in that book, and how the plot focused more on the relationships between Rani and those around her, in particular the King of Morenia, Hal. This book once again has Rani traveling to a new land, Brianta, which is full of religious fervor, and not a few fanatics. She is ostensibly there to escort Princess Berylina (introduced in the third book as one of Hal's potential brides)--who has somehow been touched by the gods so that she can see, hear, smell, and taste them--but her own personal goal is to be tested as a master of the glasswright craft. When the guild was destroyed, those who managed to survive the purging fled to Brianta and set up a temporary guild in its holy city. The master of the new guild has invited Rani to come take the test. Unknown to Rani, the guild is being manipulated by the Fellowship, a secret society that Rani and Hal are both members of, but who have never really seen eye-to-eye with.

So, we once again have a new land to explore and unlike the second book, some good interpersonal relationships and personal problems to deal with. I liked how these played out while the group was in Brianta, with Rani coming face to face with a guild full of people who hate her and the stress that it places on her relationships with those around her. She is not only placed at odds with her lover, but also her friend, Mair. As the book progresses, these stresses are increased when the Fellowship begins making its moves on both her, Hal, and Mair. (I can't say anthing more without spoiling things.) At the same time, Berylina faces the religious powers in the city, who don't view her special relationship to the gods with as much welcome as she would have thought.

All of this tension comes to a spectacular and satisfying head toward the end of the novel, and I was all ready to give the book a solid 4 and a better review than the third book . . . but then Rani returns to Morenia in the last few chapters, to finish off the last of the main plot. And this is where things go bad. The confrontation with Hal that she has upon her return is great at first, but during the entire fight I kept saying to myself (OK, I was really yelling at Rani through the book) to just tell him what was happening! She'd been put in this horrible position, but if she trusted him as much as she claims (and as much as we've seen throughout all of the books), then she should have just told him the situation and had him help her come up with a solution, especially since it involved him. Instead, she says nothing and tries to solve it on her own for no real reason. Decisions made by characters like this annoy me. It's the equivalent of the author gagging the character in order to create a false sense of tension. Something like this happens in the third book with Berylina, but in that book I could let it pass since it wasn't as significant to the main plot. Here, the entire end of the main plot depends on Rani and Hal's actions here, so this one little thing destroyed the ending of the book for me, because it made the ending feel contrived.

Don't get me wrong though. My only real issue with the entire book was this one thing that happens within the last 50 pages of the novel. I loved everything that happened before this, and liked where the book leaves Rani and Hal and the others. I would recommend this book to those that have read the first three, but you'll likely have to bite your tongue a little at the end. The contrivance is a little hard to get over.

I'll certainly go on and read the fifth book, because I want to know how Rani's story ends. In particular, I'd like to see what becomes of the Fellowship, since I've hated them for at least two books now, feeling that their manipulations have NOT been in the interests of all of their own members.
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