Author: Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Glamourist Histories #2
Publisher: Tor Books
Date: April 10, 2012
Source: For Review
Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey , a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass continues following the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon...to escaping it. Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison...and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.
Whereas Shades of Milk and Honey had a plot focused around societal pressures, family issues, and finding a husband, Glamour in Glass has themes of gender equality and political intrigue. While I wasn’t expecting such a dramatic shift, I have to say I really enjoyed it! It actually reminded me a bit of Sharon Cameron’s The Dark Unwinding (which I really enjoyed).
Now that Jane and Vincent are married, the two are under a bit of pressure to have a child. I’m sure other newly weds can relate to this! I’ve started telling people I’m not having children until I’m 50 so that they stop. asking. me. Sheesh! Jane’s sentiments toward children strike me as very modern, and therefore much more relatable than I would have expected. A pregnancy would mean she can’t practice glamour. She loves glamour so much that the idea of being cut off from it (and her work with Vincent) terrifies her. As much as I enjoyed this element of the story though, Jane’s inner dialogue did get a bit frustrating at times as she is still fairly insecure of Vincent’s feelings…even though they’re married.
There is a ton of political intrigue in this story since it takes place in Belgium just after Napoleon has abdicated his thrown. The setting actually helps Jane grow a lot as a character as she finds she prefers the way women are treated in Belgium a bit more than she does in Britain (after the culture shock wears off of course). There is a great deal of talk among the characters of whether or not Napoleon might return to power, and quite a few shocking events that stem from the Bonapartist movement in Belgium.
Glamour in Glass is a stunning sequel to Shades of Milk and Honey. It takes the characters from the first book and really expands upon them and lets them grow in new situations. While the characters have a special place in my heart, the plot was absolutely fantastic and well beyond what I was expecting. Mary Robinette Kowal has clearly grown a lot as an author after her first book and I am so excited to see how her writing, as well as Jane and Vincent, grow as the story continues.