Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The Glass Swallow by Julia Golding

Target Audience: Teens/Young Adults
Genre: Fantasy/Romance

The Glass Swallow

***Contains Some Spoilers***

Despite the slow start, i found this a heart-warming and truly charming read. The first 30 pages or so were a bit descriptive and not much happened, except for a bit of scene setting, but then everything kicked off.

Rain, a glassmakers' daughter, is forbidden to design and make glass because of the simple fact that she's a woman, and the glass makers guild is ridiculously sexist.
However, Rain has secretly been designing her fathers glass for a few years, and when the distant land of Magharna asks her father to design some glass for them, it is Rain that goes along with one of her cousins in order to design the glass windows.
But not everything goes according to plan and Rain finds herself stranded in a rather unfriendly country.

At the same time that she arrives and falls into danger, Peri, a young scavenger and falconer rescues her from the bandits who try to kidnap her, and from there, their paths become entwined. But things aren't made easy for them, as the country begins to fall apart around them.

What struck me the most whilst reading this, was the realism of the situation the characters end up in. The social class system is something that at first appears to be the thing that will keep Peri and Rain apart, but infact it is the crash of the country and economy that becomes the major issue of the novel.
Considering the last few years in which we've lived with the recession, at first i admit, on reading about a country falling apart economically, i initially thought 'oh no, i don't want to read about a recession' but actually it was a story more of hope than despair as one girl attempts to put a failing country back together again, with the help of the few people who haven't ran for the hills (so to speak).

Surviving a bandit attack, then being left in a country where she barely knows the language, and then attempting to save the country that gave her a less than warm welcome, i found extremelly inspiring and very brave to say the least, and for this alone i found it easy to warm to Rain.
With regards to peri, my opinion was a bit hit and miss, because quite simply he had moments that i like to call 'moments of idiocy' in which he does stupid things (such as shooting a friend, even if it was accidentally). And yes, Rain had her moments as well, but hers just didn't seem to be as stupid, more brave than anything else.
Having said that, I still loved them both. Peri was charming, sweet and protective and Rain was self-less, caring and very resillient to hardship.

The ending, in one word, is beautiful in more ways than one. A theme, what with all the stunning glass windows, is repeated throughout the novel. To summarise, this story is a beautiful love story with an artistic twist and a perfectly heartwarming and stunning ending.
Fans of Dragonfly by the same author will also be pleased at the appearence of some familar faces. Superb!

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