Marvelous Middle Grade: The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

Posted 2 June, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | Review, Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Marvelous Middle Grade: The Glass Sentence by S.E. GroveThe Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove
Published by Penguin on June 12, 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Pirates, Young Adult
Pages: 512

She has only seen the world through maps. She had no idea they were so dangerous.

Boston, 1891. Sophia Tims comes from a family of explorers and cartologers who, for generations, have been traveling and mapping the New World—a world changed by the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were flung into different time periods. Eight years ago, her parents left her with her uncle Shadrack, the foremost cartologer in Boston, and went on an urgent mission. They never returned. Life with her brilliant, absent-minded, adored uncle has taught Sophia to take care of herself.

Then Shadrack is kidnapped. And Sophia, who has rarely been outside of Boston, is the only one who can search for him. Together with Theo, a refugee from the West, she travels over rough terrain and uncharted ocean, encounters pirates and traders, and relies on a combination of Shadrack’s maps, common sense, and her own slantwise powers of observation. But even as Sophia and Theo try to save Shadrack’s life, they are in danger of losing their own.

This book is being compared to Philip Pullman’s THE GOLDEN COMPASS…wow. What big shoes to fill. Many fantasies like this are merely pale imitations of that series or of Tolkien’s world but THE GLASS SENTENCE isn’t. With intricate and unusual worldbuilding, this story pulls the readers into a broken world made of different time periods. Explorers and mapmakers are among the most important people in the world, as they risk everything to bring back information about the shattered lands.

Sophia lives with her uncle Shadrack, the preeminent mapmaker of his time. But when he’s kidnapped by nefarious people from beyond the boundaries of their time period, Sophia must travel to the Baldlands to find the only family she has left. For only 13 years old, Sophia’s really got it together. She doesn’t panic (too much) when her uncle is kidnapped. She just gathers what she needs and heads out. It’s quite helpful that Theo, an odd boy from the Baldlands, is there to help guide her and to bounce ideas off of. But then, she accepts him pretty easily, too. Maybe it’s because she’s the daughter of explorers or because she’s a girl without an inner compass (something everyone but Sophia seems to have in this broken world) that she’s so adaptable and mature in many of her actions and decisions.

While the beginning is a tad slow, we get to meet Sophia and Shadrack and explore their world. This sets us up for the journey that the pair of baby teens take through their era and into the next. Along the way, they’re attacked by creepy, scarred dudes, jump off trains, and are rescued by a lady pirate and her brother. I love the use of maps and mapmaking throughout the entire story, how they’re key elements in finding her uncle and traversing the land safely. Already mature beyond her years, Sophia shows herself to be a sensible and intelligent person who is worth following on her adventures. This particular adventure ends with no cliffhanger–the plotline for this story is wrapped up nicely with a teaser for the next book in this series (but no cliffie. Woo-hoo.).

THE GLASS SENTENCE is a sparkling addition to any fantasy collection. 

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21 Responses to “Marvelous Middle Grade: The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove”

  1. No cliffhanger Mary? WHAT? I don’t even know what to do with that, it seems like I can’t even remember the last book I read that didn’t have one. Love the focus on maps and mapmaking in this one, that’s very cool. And Sophia sounds awesome:)

    Miss your face already!

  2. lool.. Baby Teens , love this! I’m not the biggest Middle Grade Fan unless it’s Harry Potter. I know I have high standards, but then.. when I read such blurbs I think I should reconsider! This sounds truly cute!

  3. The Golden Compass was such a good novel, and I am glad despite some slow parts that you enjoyed it, and love that it wrapped up with just as teaser.

  4. Oooh, this sounds like something I would love. Sophia sounds like a wonderful heroine, and I love the concept of mapmakers in it as well. Checking this out some more Mary, Thanks!

  5. I somehow hadn’t heard of this and it sounds FANTASTIC! I really think I’ll need to get a copy! I <3 maps too. 🙂

  6. I love the sound of “shattered lands”. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Philip Pullman books but I did love Tolkien but I like hearing that this book really paves it’s own way. Sophia sounds darling!

  7. i hadn’t actually heard of this one but i’m glad i did now since it seems like something i’ll probably go out an dbuy for my younger sister! Glad you enjoyed this one! 🙂

  8. I LOVE the Golden Compass. That alone had me. Then you mentioned the world building, and I know I need to read this book. I’m always on the lookout for a fantasy with great world building. I’m adding this to my TBR list. Great review, Mary!

  9. I definitely thought the cover of this was similar to the one for The Golden Compass and I’m glad to hear it’s such a comparable volume. Lovely review, Mary!

  10. “They’re attacked by creepy, scarred dudes, jump off trains, and are rescued by a lady pirate.” That has to be one of the best one-liner descriptions of a book I have ever read. Well done!

  11. Sounds like a thrilling adventure. These baby teens seem to handle this situation much better than I would! I don’t read much middle grade *read: any* but this is a great recommend for nieces and nephews! Somehow I don’t think my romances would suit them. Lol! Lovely review, Mary. 🙂

  12. I’M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK. It came it the mail the other day and I immediately fell in love with the cover and the synopsis. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the great review 🙂

  13. I really love the Golden Compass, and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this yet! It sounds awesome, definitely getting a copy when it comes out. Great review!

  14. Wooow, really? I got an unsolicited copy recently and didn’t pay much attention at first, but a youth librarian told me it was excellent. After seeing this review, I’m even more excited to try it now! Pullman comparisons are not to be taken lightly.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  15. My copy of this also has a blurb from Megan Whalen Turner who is one of my fantasy favorites, so it’s for sure on my radar. I love the concept of this world and the maps. But I’m so hesitant about new series that I was going to wait on this until future books. BUT the fact that it doesn’t have a cliffy is definitely intriguing. Maybe I’ll have to read it anyway. Thanks for reviewing this one!!