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Wednesday, June 4, 2014
by McCormick Templeman

Death hasn't visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders' bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal.



Rowan's village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village.

Review: A confession: some scenes in this book gave me the creeps. Seriously, the up late reading-what was that noise-suspicious look all around the room creeps. That’s how engrossing I found the writing to be.  The Glass Casket is a great example of how frequently used story elements  (fairytales, etc.) can be used as a starting point for a story that’s unique.  Though certain details of the novel seem designed to evoke the Snow White that received the Disney treatment, the plot is loosely based on the less well known Grimm tale Snow White and Rose Red. 
            
  One of the novel’s greatest strengths is the world building. We are introduced the small mountain community of Nag’s End, set in a fantastical reality with technology equivalent to 14th century Europe and a history of dark magic largely lost to time and engulfed in superstition.  Citizens of Nag’s End have their own traditions, religions, and a patriarchal style of government. They largely ignore their rulers located in a city several miles away, until the bizarre incident of the deaths of the riders of the city. This sets off a series of grisly and tragic events.
           
  The four teenagers that are at the center of this story are Rowan, a girl with a gift for translating historical documents, her best friend Tom, Tom’s brother Jude, and the new-in-town Fiona Eira.  Their messy and complicated relationships serve as an emotional counterpoint to the horror slowing building in the village. These characters are individuals and very well drawn. Another point in the novel’s favor is that while it portrays an archaic society in which men hold power, it also shows the very harmful effects this structure has on the women living under it. Rowan, one of the smartest characters in the story, figures out what is really going on but finds herself disregarded and entrapped. The consequences are dire.
           
   Throughout the first half of the book I found that I was kept guessing, not knowing in which direction the narrative was going to turn. This is a feeling I find increasingly rare the more books I read, so I appreciated it. The story ends on a satisfying note, but if McCormick Templeman sets any future books in this world, I’d be happy to read them. 

5 Stars

5 comments:

Jazmen Greene said...

This book looks so creepy I think it would give me nightmares lol but you sure did it justice with your review! :)

JaimeLH said...

Thank you! It's definitely creepy, but in a fun way.

JaimeLH said...

haha thanks :)

Axie Oh said...

I've had this book on my radar for a long time. Great review. I love tension in a novel, so I'm looking forward to the twists and turns in the narrative. I also totally love creepy scenes. And I didn't know it was inspired by a Grimm Fairy Tale. LOVE fairy tale-inspired stories.

JaimeLH said...

Thank you! It's definitely at the darker end of the fairytale spectrum. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to know your thoughts in the future.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review: The Glass Casket by McCormick Templeman

by McCormick Templeman

Death hasn't visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders' bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal.



Rowan's village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village.

Review: A confession: some scenes in this book gave me the creeps. Seriously, the up late reading-what was that noise-suspicious look all around the room creeps. That’s how engrossing I found the writing to be.  The Glass Casket is a great example of how frequently used story elements  (fairytales, etc.) can be used as a starting point for a story that’s unique.  Though certain details of the novel seem designed to evoke the Snow White that received the Disney treatment, the plot is loosely based on the less well known Grimm tale Snow White and Rose Red. 
            
  One of the novel’s greatest strengths is the world building. We are introduced the small mountain community of Nag’s End, set in a fantastical reality with technology equivalent to 14th century Europe and a history of dark magic largely lost to time and engulfed in superstition.  Citizens of Nag’s End have their own traditions, religions, and a patriarchal style of government. They largely ignore their rulers located in a city several miles away, until the bizarre incident of the deaths of the riders of the city. This sets off a series of grisly and tragic events.
           
  The four teenagers that are at the center of this story are Rowan, a girl with a gift for translating historical documents, her best friend Tom, Tom’s brother Jude, and the new-in-town Fiona Eira.  Their messy and complicated relationships serve as an emotional counterpoint to the horror slowing building in the village. These characters are individuals and very well drawn. Another point in the novel’s favor is that while it portrays an archaic society in which men hold power, it also shows the very harmful effects this structure has on the women living under it. Rowan, one of the smartest characters in the story, figures out what is really going on but finds herself disregarded and entrapped. The consequences are dire.
           
   Throughout the first half of the book I found that I was kept guessing, not knowing in which direction the narrative was going to turn. This is a feeling I find increasingly rare the more books I read, so I appreciated it. The story ends on a satisfying note, but if McCormick Templeman sets any future books in this world, I’d be happy to read them. 

5 Stars

5 comments:

  1. This book looks so creepy I think it would give me nightmares lol but you sure did it justice with your review! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! It's definitely creepy, but in a fun way.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've had this book on my radar for a long time. Great review. I love tension in a novel, so I'm looking forward to the twists and turns in the narrative. I also totally love creepy scenes. And I didn't know it was inspired by a Grimm Fairy Tale. LOVE fairy tale-inspired stories.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you! It's definitely at the darker end of the fairytale spectrum. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to know your thoughts in the future.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you, comments are appreciated :)