The opening line: “The day New Occident closed it borders, the hottest day of the year, was also the day Sophia Tims changed her life forever by losing track of time.”
It is always gratifying when one of my students feels comfortable coming back to tell me that a book I had recommended was “way too confusing”. What he is really telling me is that I am not tuned into his tastes, and I am the one who needs to “interview” him more thoroughly regarding a reading recommendation.So, after we had our conversation and he left with a new title in hand, I checked out The Glass Sentence to myself, again. I love it despite the fact that I am not a fan of science fiction or fantasy. The setting is Boston in 1891, yet it is not Boston in 1891. Time is fractured – worlds have shattered. At the very start, a reader can lose a sense of balance every time a page is turned. What is familiar, is unfamiliar; what is comfortable, is disorienting. Our heroine, Sophia, is a reluctant heroine as she embarks upon finding her missing uncle, a cartologer who has been kidnapped from his hidden library. You must embark on this journey with her by suspending all you know – the meaning of words, places, and time, itself. Book One in “The Mapmakers” trilogy offers an intriguing beginning into this new series.
Comparisons are drawn to Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass – another Steampunk story. There are certainly overlaying themes, yet where Pullman’s trilogy drifted far into total fantasy, leaving behind the familiar, my hope is that Grove’s novel will keep this anchor with the subsequent titles. It is back home on our shelf, wating for just the right student to come along and snatch it! Moreover, I learned somthing too – to be a better librarian.
Grove, S.E. The Glass Sentence. New York: Viking Press, 2014.Print.