Four years after Opal Cowan helped Yelena capture the Warpers in Maria V. Snyder’s Study Series, she’s still dealing with the aftermath. She’s a student at the Keep, learning to be a magician, except she’s more of a one-trick wonder. Sure, that one trick — blowing magic into her glass sculptures in order to test for a person’s magic ability, and enabling magicians to communicate with each other — is pretty useful. But she keeps her distance from the others students, assuming they don’t want much to do with her.
Things change for her when she is called out to fix a problem with the Stormdance Clan on the coast: their glass orbs are breaking and killing some of the dancers while they are doing the dangerous task of taming storms. Opal, with all of her trust and confidence issues, is able to handle the problem, but that also opens up a Pandora’s box of issues, some of which are positive, but many just pick at the wounds Opal has been trying to heal.
Storm Glass is not as good a book as Snyder’s previous ones, but it’s not a bad book either. Opal has the potential, with all her (understandable) hesitation, to be completely and utterly annoying. However, Snyder pulls off the delicate balance between insecure and grating, giving Opal some interesting internal tension. The fact that Opal’s dealt with a lot, physically and psychologically, helps with that balance. As do her love interests. The romance in the book doesn’t have the chemistry that Valek and Yelena’s did in the Study series, but it has potential. Which is worth something in a book like this.
The thing that carries this book, however, is the world that Snyder has created. It’s a complex and intriguing place, and Snyder builds upon the foundation she laid in the Study books. It’s full of magic and wonder, politics, treachery and violence, yet it’s not an inaccessible or complicated mythology. However, I would probably go as far as to say that if you haven’t read the Study series, this one might not make much sense. Snyder does go into some back history, but newbies might get lost. Even so, it’s a world worth visiting, if only to venture into Snyder’s imagination.
Overall, it’s a fun, fluffy read. Nothing too deep, but certainly engaging.
Rated: Mild, for mild swearing and implied sex