Review: Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal

Glamour in Glass (Shades of Milk and Honey #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal
Reading Level Adult/ though it’s clean and would be appropriate for a young audience 
Hardcover, 336 pgs.
Published April 10th, 2012 by Tor
Source: Publisher

Please note this is the second in a series and the description as well as the review may have slight spoilers for the first book.

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.

Shades of Milk and Honey was one that totally blew me away.  I have a hard time reading Jane Austen because of the length and the many descriptions and I feel that the author has brought us a new version (it’s a new story and everything) that is nice and easy to read.  The comparisons to Jane Austen are that it’s in her style,  she uses the words that Jane Austen used and tries to avoid using any words that weren’t in existence at that time and the writing feels like Jane Austens as well as it’s the same type of story that she wrote.  But it’s much faster and easier to read. And Mary Robinette Kowal, the genius, has added magic to the picture!

Now don’t get any ideas that this is full of constant action or anything, but I felt like it moved at a good pace.  Yes, sometimes things went a bit slower as Jane and Vincent learned new glamural techniques, etc, but I never felt bored at all.   And in fact I am surprised that I comprehend so much of the magical stuff.  You see magic is pulled from the ether and is made into things that everyone can see.  People can glamour their sofa to look newer, they can glamour a painting to look better, they can create a fish tank with fish that appear to be swimming around.  They can even use glamour to appear invisible.  It’s quite a remarkable thing and the fact that I can imagine it and it seems like it could be real means that the author did a brilliant job in describing how it’s done without boring me!  HUGE props to her for that! 

This book takes place in Belgium rather then in England (other then the very beginning) and I appreciated the change in scenery.  Also the manners over there are quite different from those in England and you really see how stuffy those British could be at that time.  Most of the book is about Jane and Vincent learning some new techniques and then Jane discovering her own MAJOR discovery!  It’s not until the last quarter that the real  action happens.  Now the description tells you but for those who don’t want to know I’m not going to say what this action is, but it definitely added to the story quite a lot and made me love Jane even more!

This is a clean read and while it reads for adults being as the characters are adults, it would work as a crossover for young adults who may enjoy the classics like Jane Austen or are interested in historical fiction books.  I very highly recommend you pick this series up and give it a try!

4/5 stars

Disclosure:  I received this book for review purposes and all opinions expressed are my own, I was not paid or influenced in any way.

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  1. Oh Belgium. Interesting! I love books that are in other countries I find it often makes it really great since I haven’t traveled much. Great review chicka!!

  2. Wow. A JA adaption that follows some of the traditional values, yet finds its own footing. I don’t think I’ve ever read one that included magic and that makes me most excited to try this series. Sounds like she did a lot of effortlessly pull off this adaption without boring the readers. Thanks for letting me know about this series. I hadn’t heard about it before. Looks like I was missing out.

  3. Huh, Never heard of this series, but it looks great, I mean JA with a magical twist! Fun! I love the cover as well, so magical and glamourous. I will have to certainly look into this one!

  4. Gah…I have had Shades of Milk and Honey on my tbr AND Paperback Swap Wish List FOREVER!!! I need to just go ahead and buy it because I read such glowing reviews of it ALL THE TIME…

  5. I’m the same way! I always want to try and read classics because everyone seems to be familiar with them, but I could never manage to get into Jane Austen books either because of the writing and length. So if I have a chance to read a JA-like story that’s easier to get through and more fun (with magic!), then I definitely want to take the chance! 😉

    Awesome review, Canadace! :)

  6. I’m glad that you were able to enjoy this story as much as the first one. It does sound like a very interesting take on a classic. Sometimes classics are so difficult to read because the language takes time to learn and that slows the book down and makes it so people are not interested.

    I really need to try to read more classics in the future.

    Thanks for the great review!

  7. Ooh, a new place to visit! I’d pick it up just for the change of scenery (rather than just the US/England, which is where most of the books I read are set). It’d be so cool to be able to throw a glamour around yourself. Just imagine. Really, you’re in yoga pants and a t-shirt (and totally comfy) but you look like a million bucks. That’d rock.

  8. *so excited* I really enjoyed the first book and have been eagerly awaiting the second book in order to find out more about glamours and the talents of Jane and Vincent. Your review has made me so happy!

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