Reviewing The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove

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The Glass Sentence S E GroveThe Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove has a unique premise: Not long ago, the Earth was split into different Ages. Portions of countries ended up in different times, and travelers can move between what is to them the prehistoric past and the future. Everything was thrown into chaos with new kindoms appearing, or forming, based partly on chronological boundaries. Map-makers, cartologers, track the times and places. Sophie has spent most of her thirteen years living with her Uncle Shatrack, a noted cartolgist, ever since her parents disappeared while out exploring. She is learning the trade from him when he is kidnapped and she and a boy she barely knows, Theo, head out to the Badlands in search of him.

Maps of all kinds abound in the book. There are paper maps but also cloth maps, stone maps, glass maps, water maps, and vegetable maps with further kinds hinted at. Depending on the type of map, they may record location (as do the maps we are familiar with), the weather at a given time or place, the topography of a time and place, man-made objects, and more. One holds the glass sentence of the title, another may hold the entire world.

There are a couple of meetings that are just a little too convenient, and occasionally the book feels like it could be just a little bit shorter, but the unusual setting and world more than make up for these moments as does the strength of the heroine.

Sophie is a determined young woman who fights her way through the difficulties presented by unknown territories, changing times, and a mysterious enemy to find her uncle and to save those she cares about. She knows enough to make her travels believable in the context of the book, and she finds friends who help her with her travels. The chocolatier who sculpts entire banquets, including the dishes, is an especially enjoyable character. There are also pirates, cartologists, and a villain who moves between the horrific and the sympathetic.

In addition, the book, at least the hardcover, is a beautiful book-as-object. It has a translucent vellum cover with a map and compass on it making the figures behind show as faint shadows. It also had rough-cut edges to the pages giving it an old-fashioned, hand-cut look. It’s also easy to hold, something not every hardcover manages. Just after the table of contents there is a pen and ink map of what, in our world, would be the United States, showing the numerous Ages now covering the continent. Those who wish can follow the broad outline of Sophie’s travels on this.

The Glass Sentence is the first book in a trilogy, but it works as a complete book in its own right. Recommended for people who like unusual new worlds and concepts, determined heroines, and the barest edges of beginning romance.

To order The Glass Sentence on Amazon, click here. The book’s website, theglasssentence.comhas a selection of artwork, maps, and the chapter notes which give some history of the Great Disruption and the changes it made.

Publication information:
Published June 12th 2014
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
ISBN 0670785024 (ISBN13: 9780670785025)

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