SPFBO Finalist Review: A Sea of Broken Glass by Sonya M. Black

42983504._sx318_Three more to go! I’m excited to see the results! 🙂

Secrets have a price.

After enduring weeks of torture and being convicted of witchery, Ris escapes, only to discover the Darkness and the Lady are hunting her. They need the magic that sings within her.

Creator of all, the imprisoned Lady needs Ris, her last vessel, to find the Heart of Creation. The Darkness seeks to corrupt the vessel and retain his hold on the Lady, and with it, the world.

Ris finds help from a pair of Paladins of Light who aid her in cleansing the evil taint from the lands. As her power grows, so do her questions. How can she restore balance to the world and free the Lady? Should the Lady be trusted or is she as much at fault for the evil in the world as the Darkness? With powerful demons War, Ruin, and Plague at her heels, Ris struggles to stay alive as she tries to unravel the secrets hidden within her before it’s too late.

Secrets that may cost Ris her soul even if she does succeed.

“Keep your jacket buttoned and put a cap on and you could almost pass as a boy.”

“I’m not sure I should thank you for that comment.” I touched the over-corset that helped support my figure.

He blinked. “I apologize mistress. I meant no offense. You are, uh, quite lovely, but if we can—”

“Disguise me as a boy?”

He cleared his throat. “Yes.”

This is the story of Ris and her guardians. The world they live in has Light (The Lady) and Darkness (The… uh… Darkness). Ris is the last vessel of the Lady, which means that she is not only gifted with a pretty great talent in magic, she is also wanted very badly by the Darkness, because she is pretty much the only person that can stop it from destroying the world.

Rin’s identity was secret, but somehow got out, and Rin is falsely accused of witchcraft and imprisoned and tortured for months until Bran, her Shield, freed her. Having seen a vision from The Lady, Ris takes her two other guardians, Aeron and Michel, into the haunted and demon-infested Bonelands (the titular Sea of Broken Glass) to find the Lady’s Heart, the only thing capable of stopping the Darkness.

I quite liked this one. I didn’t love Ris overmuch, but I liked Aeron and Bran quite a bit, and we do see things from several points of view here, Bran and Aeron included. Ris’ point of view chapters are in the first person, while everyone else’s are in the third person. I didn’t really have a problem with this, as each chapter, with the exception of one, was labelled with the name of who we were hearing about. But, this might rub some people the wrong way, all the same.

The world that this takes place in was an interesting one to me. It’s… not steampunk, and it’s not flintlock, but it’s sort of adjacent to both. There are trains in this world, and there are pistols, but a lot of the other technology seems to be magical in nature. I wish that it had just a tad more worldbuilding, because I would have liked to know more about the place.

The theme of Light versus Darkness comes up a lot here. Their religion revolves around the idea, but it is also very much real, as the Lady and the Darkness were once tangible beings who lived in this world in human form (this is, somewhat, the cause of the problems that have arisen). I thought that part was pretty well fleshed out.

The magic system was neat. It’s based in the elements, and each element controls a different kind of magic. When they use magic, it produces music, and each type produces a different kind. Fire magic, which Ris has, is healing magic, and produces brass tones like trumpets. Bran’s magic is Wind, and sounds like woodwinds. It’s used quite interestingly, especially when more than one type of magic is used at the same time, as it either harmonizes, or doesn’t, depending on what the magic is doing.

My one real complaint was the romance that was included. “But Kristen, you love romance!” you say, and you would be right. This one was rushed and it just didn’t take with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike instalove if it’s done well (to me, anyway), and there is a significant plot-related reason for it to happen as it happens. There very much is, in this case, but it still bounced right off me. I think that my problem was believing these two were suddenly super, super attracted to each other and yet didn’t actually do anything significant about it any point?

I would also have accepted making out, but I guess we don’t always get what we want.

All told, I had a pretty good time with A Sea of Broken Glass, but I do wish that it was a little more in depth about some of the aspects of the world. I think that I will absolutely read more into this series when I have time, as the ending left me wanting more (I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger, but it was dipping its toes into cliffhanger-like behavior). I’d say that I had 7/10 stars of fun with A Sea of Broken Glass.

Finalist Score:

Kristen: 7.0
Esme: 7.4

Average: 7.2

SPFBO Final Score: 7/10

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