Happy Monday, Part 2!
We're also reviewing The Golden Specific today.
I'll be honest: I was a little nervous going into The Golden Specific, because I had loved The Glass Sentence so much, I wanted this book to be just as awesome.
Well, I'm happy to say: it IS. SE Grove has expanded upon her world, resulting in stronger characterizations, more mysteries, and more for readers to enjoy!
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published July 14th 2015 by Viking
Format read: ARC via publisher
It is the summer of 1892, one year since Sophia Tims and her friend Theo embarked upon the dangerous adventure that rewrote the map of the world. Since their return home to Boston, she has continued searching for clues to her parents’ disappearance, combing archives and libraries, grasping at even the most slender leads. Theo has apprenticed himself to an explorer in order to follow those leads across the country—but one after another proves to be a dead end.
Then Sophia discovers that a crucial piece of the puzzle exists in a foreign Age. At the same time, Theo discovers that his old life outside the law threatens to destroy the new one he has built with Sophia and her uncle Shadrack. What he and Sophia do not know is that their separate discoveries are intertwined, and that one remarkable person is part of both.
There is a city that holds all of the answers—but it cannot be found on any map. Surrounded by plague, it can only be reached by a journey through darkness and chaos, which is at the same time the plague’s cure: The Golden Specific.
I was so worried about getting my review for The Glass Sentence perfect, I literally sat on my review for close to six months before finally posting it. THAT was how much I loved the book. However, I vowed I wouldn't wait that long to help spread the word for The Golden Specific, because I wanted to make sure that people would pick up both books right away.
(Because seriously, perfect summer reading!)
S.E. Grove brings us back into Sophia's world, a year after the events of the first book. Sophia has continued to search for clues about her missing parents, eventually discovering that the answer may lie in a foreign Age. However, as she pursues the new lead, Sophia quickly starts on a journey that will bring her together with new and colorful characters...
What's remarkable about The Golden Specific, is the fact that Grove so effortlessly builds upon an already-complex and beautiful world. We begin the book already knowing what Sophia's primary objective for this book will be: searching for her parents - but Grove quickly interweaves this one event, into a world with Ages that are thriving with drama, mysticism and political intrigue - including a brilliant and alarming subplot involving Sophia's uncle Shadrack.
(A.k.a. my fictional boyfriend. Let's be honest, here.)
While Sophia's journey to find her parents takes her away from the familiar faces and places of the previous book, Grove introduces us to plenty of intriguing new ideas, including Errol Forsyth, a phantom hunter from the Closed Empire, and a mysterious figure named Goldenrod. They each have their own agendas, but Grove does a nice job of emphasizing the universality of their journeys.
All of these storylines are interwoven with journal entries from Sophia's mother. While I sometimes find journal entries cumbersome storytelling, Grove's voice for Sophia's mother is brave, intelligent, and also a great indicator of the emotional and intellectual legacy, that has resulted in Sophia.
Ultimately, this is one of those books where you can't give too much away, for fear of spoilers. But suffiice it to say, Grove has written a book that more than lives up to the first book, but also heightens the drama, life lessons and development of this extraordinary cast of characters.
Sophia is also a young heroine for the ages; she's fearless and brave, but also a loyal niece and a good friend to those around her. Her stubborness is both endearing and admirable, and puts her right in the same league as Lucy, and Lyra before her.
I highly, highly recommend The Golden Specific for readers, full stop.