Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Review: Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler

Storm Glass (Harbinger, Book #1)
by Jeff Wheeler
Release Date: June 19th 2018
2018 47North
Kindle Edition; 353 Pages
ISBN: 978-1503902329
ASIN: B077D62HN7
Genre: Fiction / Fantasy
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars


Cettie Pratt is a waif doomed to the world below, until an admiral attempts to adopt her. But in her new home in the clouds, not everyone treats her as one of the family.

Sera Fitzempress is a princess born into power. She yearns to meet the orphan girl she has heard so much about, but her father deems the girl unworthy of his daughter’s curiosity.

Neither girl feels that she belongs. Each seeks to break free of imposed rules. Now, as Cettie dreams of living above and as Sera is drawn to the world below, they will follow the paths of their own choosing.
But both girls will be needed for the coming storm that threatens to overturn both their worlds.

My Thoughts
Storm Glass is the first novel is the Harbinger series, a planned five book series, and I really enjoyed it. The author has mentioned in some of his posts that he tried to create a more Dickensian world in this novel, and I think he has succeeded quite well.  What you have are the incredibly wealthy living on these suspended cities using some type of magic called the 'mysteries', while the rest of the population live in "The Fells', cities felled by incredible pollution and disease whereby most children don't survive to adulthood.  The entire world-building was quite incredible and I enjoyed it tremendously.

I am very familiar with Jeff Wheeler's work and he is very fastidious when it comes to world-building, often leaving the development of his characters and story until later books.  That's not to say there isn't any development in the first books of his series, it just doesn't seem to be a priority and I am okay with that as the world development is so great.  What you get are bits and pieces at a time and it is up to you to put them all together and that is something that I really like.  I can't stand it when an author goes on and on about stuff as if you can't figure things out on your own.  That being said, having read the Covenant of Muirwood series helped as well as I was familiar with certain things that I think readers who have not read those books might struggle with a bit.

The story is told in alternating story lines, one from Sera's and one from Cettie's.  I liked both of these characters, for different reasons, but I really loved their independence and their spunk.  Even though oth of these girls had difficulties in their lives, they kept plugging on and kept fighting.  Sera, the heir to the throne, struggled against a jealous father who wanted to be the only heir to the throne and saw Sera as a threat, keeping her a prisoner.  Cettie, raised in 'The Fells' and brought to the sky to live with an admiral's family, lived in constant fear of being sent back through no fault of her own.  Although these girls do not actually meet in this story, you know they eventually will, and the how and why was its own anticipation.  

Even though the character development was not overly strong, there was enough there to get a good sense of them; there was a great variety and I liked all of them, even the quirky and odd ones.  You even met a few odd ones for a few minutes knowing they will probably play greater roles in future books and I can't wait to see how some of those secondary plot lines will unfold.  There was a lot of interesting subplots going on and you really had to pay attention to catch them all.

The author writes with a light, engaging manner that quickly draws you in; I pretty much read the whole book in one sitting.  I've learned as I've read his books not to discount any trivial detail as it usually means something later on so I pay close attention to everything now. 

Storm Glass is a great entry to a new series and I am so glad I had the chance to read this.  The world-building was very interesting and I am so glad there is a connection to previous series.  I enjoyed the characters and look forward to seeing how they develop and what they do.  Another intricately woven book, and highly recommended!