I've been sitting on my review for The Glass Sentence for months now, because I've been worried that I just can't do this amazing book justice.
However, I also think that this is the type of book that is perfect to be shared with loved ones and enthusiastic readers this time of year, so I'm hoping that my review will help persuade some of you to check this book out!
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published June 12th 2014 by Viking Juvenile
Grove's coming-of-age novel/adventure story about one courgeous girl who literally through the Ages to reunite with family, will inspire readers of all ages with its imaginative world-building and beautiful writing.
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.
The Glass Sentence plunges readers into a time and place they will not want to leave, and introduces them to a heroine and hero they will take to their hearts. It is a remarkable debut.
But for some reason, I ended up not writing down the title of the book. And no matter how hard I searched for months afterward, I just couldn't find the Publisher Weekly's announcement again. Every time I tried looking for the upcoming book about different timelines, Google would just redirect me to pages for The Edge of Tomorrow.
It wasn't until I saw The Glass Sentence on Edelweiss and was approved for the book, that I realized that this was the book that I had been looking for all along. And I'm so glad I finally found the book again, because this is an extraordinary book that absolutely needs to be on everyone's shelf.
Debut author S.E. Grove brings readers into an inventive, remarkable world, where an event called The Great Disruption has fractured the world. Instead of one singular timeline, the world now exists in a multitude of Ages or different time periods. Crossing a border into a different age, can put you in time periods that are thousands of years apart.
For thirteen-year-old Sophia Tims in Boston, the year is 1891. Sophia's been living with her uncle Shadrack in Boston, helping him with his cartology work. However, after her uncle is kidnapped, it's up to Sophia and a group of unexpected friends, to rescue him. Using maps, instinct and the help of those from different Ages, Sophia's thrown into an adventure that has her working to save the world and times itself.
There are so many things to praise about The Glass Sentence, but it's Grove's world-building that should be considered the standout, first and foremost. Grove's idea of a world fractured into different time periods is creative beyond belief, leading readers to imagine a multitude of worlds and possiblities as they travel along with Sophia in her desperate attempts to reunite with Shadrack.
As Sophia moves from Age to Age, Grove is careful to study the impact of borders on the development of a culture, along with the (unfortunately) natural xenophobia and discrimination that develops amongst people who are separated by cultural misundestandings. Educators and parents can take the opportunity to discuss how perceptions are altered by location, and what can be done to bridge that divide.
Sophia, like many of the young bookish heroines who've come before her, is a joy to read, as readers travel alongside her. She's often brash and impetuous, making decisions and jumping to emotional conclusions that make her journey to reunite with Shadrack and find out what ha happened to her parents, far more difficult than needs be. However, it's that brash behavior that makes her real, and readers won't be able to help but root for her, as she begins to work out the realities of her world.
Ultimately, while the book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, Grove has created a wonderous world that also stands well on its own. I'm excited to see where the story will develop in book two, and I'm confident you will too.
S.E. Grove has created a magnificient world that will challenge your understanding of fantasy and fiction. The idea of different Ages co-existing in a singular world is an intriguing one, and opens up endless possiblities on just who and what can exist or occur in this new world. It is, as Kirkus said in their review, "...Wholly original and marveous beyond compare," and if you pick up the book, you'll absolutely see why.
Readers will undoubtedly fall for protagonist Sophia's charms, as well. Like Lucy Penvensie and Lyra Belacqua before her, Sophia is a timeless heroine - quite literally, in some cases! - that will inspire readers for generations to come. Her intrepidness, fortitude and brilliance as she fights to get her uncle back, serve both as a good reminder of how one young girl can rock multiple Ages with her bravery, but also as a great reminder of how it's the youth in our lives that can challenge the status quo and change all of us for the better.
I personally can't wait to step back into Sophia's world in The Golden Specific, and only hope that you will check out The Glass Sentence before joining me for book two.
About the author:
S. E. Grove is a historian and dedicated traveler who has spent years studying the world of maps. Her parents are from the United States and Central Amerca, and she was raised in both places. Since then she has explored many corners of the globe, present and past. Right now, she lives in the Northeast with her family.