Sea Glass (Glass #2)
Maria V. Snyder
Publication Date: August 18th 2009
Like the colorful pieces of sea glass washed up on shore, Opal has weathered rough waters and twisting currents. But instead of finding a tranquil eddy, Opal is caught in a riptide. Her unique glass messengers which allow instant communication over vast distances have become a vital part of Sitian society. Once used solely by the Councilors and magicians, other powerful factions are now vying for control. Control of the messengers equals control of Sitia. Unfortunately that also means control of Opal. If that isn’t enough of a problem, Opal’s determination to prove blood magic is still being used is met with strong resistance. The Council doubts her, her mentor doubts her, and even her family is concerned. When her world is turned upside down, she begins to doubt herself. In the end, Opal must decide who to believe, who to trust, and who has control—otherwise she will shatter into a million pieces and be swept out by the tide.
Now I read the first book in Maria V. Snyder's Glass series about six-nine months ago. I borrowed Sea Glass for my Kobo after enjoying the first book, read the first few paragraphs and was completely turned off. All the hard work that Opal had gone through in second half of the first book felt like it was for naught, that everything she had done would not be appreciated in the least and that made me incredibly unhappy, so….. I put the book down and only recently convinced myself to pick it up again.
The beginning felt slow, I had to remember who all the characters were in relation to Opal and there was a lot of set up. For me, what makes a Snyder book a Snyder book is the way her stories feel more like a bunch of links in a chain than one linear plotline. For me, however, the main theme of this book was Opal casting off her childishness and learning what it means to grow up. For me this struck a very familiar note. One of the reasons I have always liked Opal is that she is a lot like me personality wise. The childishness in the first book reminded me much of my younger years while this book was the last few years where I felt myself learning not to trust so many people unconditionally and then realizing not everyone is untrustworthy. I enjoyed watching Opal mature.
As always I love, love, love how love is treated in any Snyder book, it's not the focus, it's just natural. The first book is very romance centric, but for very good reasons as it's a part of Opal's growing pains.
Janco's constant appearance was a joy as well. I do feel he's gotten sillier and sillier with each book I read, but I love the way he has adopted Opal like he adopted Yelena so long ago as a little sister.
Speaking of comparing Yelena and Opal I adore how different they are. Where Yelena has an air of assurance around her, Opal is the opposite, she is through a stroke of random magic luck thrown in with all the important people in her country and she wades through of it not quite feeling like she belongs.
Oh and I cannot forget to mention how this world that Snyder has created just gets more and more interesting. With Opal we are continued to be introduced to more and more clans and how they work. World building can be such a trap while writing fantasy because you want to tell the readers everything about everything, but Snyder does no such thing. Information about the world is revealed as needed, not just to show how developed it is.
One of the most surprising things for me was just how satisfying the ending was. The thing that has truly been the bane of Opal's existence is her magic. Although her magic has done so much for Sitia and Ixia, it's done very little for her other than get her: bullied, kidnapped, attacked by blood mages, wanted by everyone as a pawn. For me the enchanted sea glass was one-hundred percent a metaphor for Opal herself. Not only had she become worn down as the book itself brings up as a metaphor, but everyone wants to snatch her up and have her. Now, however, it is gone, she is in fact the opposite. Snyder has created another Valek, but this one raised and grown with a completely different look on magic, and it makes me very excited to read Spy Glass as I want to see Opal's maturation completed as she settles into her new powers and new bravery.
I am also excited because I sense that the Bloodrose tribe is going to be very important to the next storyline, I don't see Snyder leaving a loose end like that and there is definitely something wrong there, very wrong. I was so disheartened when Opal dismissed the letters as no longer being a message as I felt it had to be a HELP ME SAVE ME type of message, but I guess I'll learn if I'm right or wrong in the final book.
I feel like for the next book, past villains are going to be less important as new villains that Opal will be able to help combat because of her new immunity. Where the Study Trilogy had Poison Study as more of a stand alone, my guess is that of the Glass Trilogy Spy Glass will be more of the stand-alone.
Get through the first half, get through Opal's growth! Some people find reading the growth of a character like Opal very tiring and get annoyed very easily, but she's human, not perfect at all and her flaws are what make her interesting to me, and her growth is very real. Expect to be continually frustrated by characters, but don't worry everything works out in the end. I recommend this to those who have fallen in love with Sitia and Snyder's fantasy series. The first book in the series is Storm Glass which I do recommend as well.