Spare but Not Dispensable

The Glass Spare (The Glass Spare, #1)The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m all copper and hinges, and you’re that indestructible glass. When we fall apart we know how to put ourselves back together. No one else will do it. —Gerdie

After reading this book for the second time, I’m finally motivated enough to review it (I’m sure I’m not the only blogger with a long RTC list). I decided to reread The Glass Spare since I wanted to prepare myself for the sequel, which I hope is similarly remarkable. In light of my massive TBR shelf, I rarely reread books. However, meaningful books like this are welcome exceptions to the status quo.

Objectively speaking, The Glass Spare has a somewhat overrated plot focusing on a fantastical world with kingdoms at the brink of war. The characters belong to the royal family, and their decisions more or less shape the destiny of everyone else. Also, since this is a work of YA fantasy, you can expect the protagonists to have diabolical fathers who care about nothing but the acquisition of power. Hahaha. Setting my jadedness aside, I highly recommend this novel because it can spark lots of warm feelings, especially if you have a close bond with your siblings. The brother-sister dynamic is so good that it eclipses the Stockholm-syndrome-ish romance between the two MCs.

Wil, Owen, and Gerdie were so loyal to each other, it felt like it was them against the world. Wil helped Gerdie overcome a deadly bout of fever, Owen nurtured Wil’s desire for global exploration, and Gerdie alchemized ingenious weapons for Owen’s protection. These siblings were each other’s weakness, and they had to be wary lest someone take advantage of their vulnerability. Interestingly, Baron, the middle child, was that someone. For some reason, he was out of place, and he did absolutely nothing to change the situation. Despite his dark and kinda insane demeanor, I think that Baron will have a significant role to play in the sequel. Perhaps he’d be able to encroach into his siblings’ “private club.”

As individual characters, Wil, Owen, and Gerdie were fascinating and very likable. Wil literally had a touch of gold; every living thing that she touched became rubies, emeralds, and more. I loved her tenacity in the face of adversity, as well as her desire to protect her loved ones. Contrary to her status as a royal spare, Wil’s inner strength made her indispensable.

Owen, the eldest, was the most sensitive brother. Wil couldn’t hide anything from him, particularly her unhealthy desire to prove herself to their despicable father. Considering his wise and gentle nature, Owen proved that sometimes, the apple could fall very far from the tree.

Among the siblings, Gerdie was my favorite. He was such a pragmatic nerd, listening to the logic of his mind instead of the beat of his heart. His intellect more than compensated for his physical frailty. Gerdie was also an exceptional alchemist, capable of creating weapons of mass destruction. Unfortunately, the king wanted to exploit his gift and use it to conquer other nations. Ideally, children should obey their parents. But in this case? Er.

Loom, Wil’s kidnapper/love interest, was the least remarkable character. He was very cliche: tattooed, handsome, and troubled by a mysterious past. The only surprising things about him was that he attempted to kill his father (who HAPPENED TO BE AN IRRATIONAL DICTATOR) and that he was “platonically married” to a feisty woman named Zay. Basically, Loom was essential to the plot, but I wasn’t invested enough in his development.

Looking at the author’s writing style, its most striking flaw is redundancy. To be specific, dialogue and word repetition. For example, the following statement was repeated (verbatim) in pages 217 and 290:

‘I was two when my mother died,’ he said. ‘That was fifteen years ago. I don’t remember her at all.’

In regards to the author’s word choice, I noticed that she loved using “cant” (tilt). So there were many scenes wherein the characters “canted their heads.” After seeing the latter description in almost every chapter, it eventually became irritating. As an editor, I wish that her word choice had more variety. I really didn’t expect to be so triggered by a single word.

Nonetheless, I genuinely enjoyed The Glass Spare, so much so that I had to read it twice and write a lengthy review. I particularly liked the book’s emphasis on brotherly/sister love since I look up to my own siblings. If I had enough inspiration to write a fantasy novel, I would probably incorporate the same theme. I guess it’s safe to give the sequel a high rating in advance.