[Review] The Glass Spare by Lauren Destefano


Title: The Glass Spare
Author: Lauren DeStefano 
Series: The Glass Spare #1 
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Release Date: October 24th 2017 

A banished princess.
A deadly curse.

A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion whatsoever nor was I compensated in any way.

It's been a while since I've read an outright fantasy novel, and The Glass Spare was so much fun.

The novel revolves around Wil -- the youngest and only daughter of the King of Arrod. He is greedy and is on the brink of war with the neighbouring kingdom. With the King finding it difficult to trust anybody, Wil, who looks the least like the king, is his spy. However, one night when she is attacked, she discovers that her touch can turn the living into gemstones. Her power leads to tragedy and she must find a cure for her curse.

The driving idea behind this curse that Wil has is based upon the story of King Midas, whose touch turned everything to gold, as a punishment for his greed. While Wil's powers are not necessarily a punishment as far as she knows, it is most definitely a curse. She has inadvertently killed people with her powers.

Wil is strong and a caregiver. She's grown up with the love of her brothers and also taking care of her genius alchemist brother who was sick growing up. As the last in the line of spares, she is passed over for her father's attention until he needs her to spy for him. She has learned how to exist and survive in the castle and as the last spare. And even while she realizes that her father is a difficult and greedy man, she also strives for his attention.

I really liked how the world was revealed to the reader as Wil journeys to find a cure for her curse. We learn some of her father's kingdom through Wil and her problems with dealing with her father. As she meets the cursed prince Loom of the Southern Isles, she sees more of the world that she's always wanted to see. There's definitely a deep undercurrent of politics that I enjoyed and I hope to see more of in the second book.

There seems to be a theme of subversive women in this novel. It's something I noticed, but I didn't manage to read closely enough to really analyze this too much. Wil pretends to be the perfect princess for her mother's sake, but she is sneaky and doesn't mind getting into a fight while obtaining ingredients for her brother. Espel, the princess of the Southern Isles and Loom's sister is sharp, vicious and dangerous. She is named after the deadliest poison and she lives up to that name with the various poisons and daggers she carries around.

The Glass Spare, while fun and fully formed, still felt very much like an introduction novel into the world and a larger conflict. There was a lot of introduction to the problems and the various parts of the world. The novel ends and wraps up the novel's conflict, but leaves a larger opening for the next novel and a conflict for it as well. I look forward to reading the next novel and seeing where this larger conflict goes and seeing how the world in the novel expands.

Happy Reading!
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  1. Nice review! Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Did have a hard time getting my mind to read the name Wil as girl.

    1. Thank you! I'm sure Wil is short for something else that I just can't recall at the moment. :)

  2. This was the Owlcrate book and I've been worried because I've seen some mixed reviews. However, it's been a while since I read a fun fantasy and I'd like to see those themes explored. Thanks for the review Ri!


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