Fantasy series ebook bundle by Mindy Klasky
My rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
This was a hard review to write. I thought about writing a paragraph about each book and then some overall notes. But the books are available separately, with quite a few reviews for each. What I concerned myself with was delineating why the series is great. This bundle is when you want/need all of it at once. It’d certainly be a good thing to pick up before a long relaxing holiday.
I had no idea what I was getting into when I requested an early review copy. I left it a little late, because these books are quite dense. Going by the titles, I thought this would be a cute YA series in the vein of things like the Midwife’s Apprentice or maybe something more complex and serious but still rather whimsical, like Fly by Night. Silly me.
The Glasswright books are not YA. The main character Rani begins at the age of thirteen, but time passes quickly from book to book, and the themes and events of the book are intense and incredibly dark. There are consequences throughout for deaths that occur in the first book. The second book has a child army, which I felt a bit dubious about at first, since it felt unsustainable and a bit ham-handed for drama, but it took a turn I didn’t actually expect. As a whole, this series is great at delivering surprises. I never knew what to expect, usually in a good way.
I would have liked more about glassmaking and the guild, which I think could be a common sentiment among readers. I wasn’t always into the romantic subplots, however, I got the feeling that they were an extension of other uncomfortable things in the books. They made me think. Just like a lot of Rani’s more despicable or harsh actions. She makes a lot of bad decisions. This could get frustrating, except when she got hit with the consequences for them.
There were many locations, and they all had their own cultures, with the unifying theme of different kinds of castes. I loved all of the faction and political intrigue, although I was confused whenever the good guys were characterised by their desire to keep the oppressive status quo, and the first book’s villainous organisation was characterised by the desire to break down the caste system and allow the people to live as equals. Perhaps it’s simply my culture showing, but that didn’t make any sense to me. The antagonists were threatening evil villains, but their goal was noble and not really diminished by any of their behaviour. Of course, things turned out to go deeper than that.
If I were to compare this series to anything, it would be classic fantasy of the 80s as well as more modern dark fantasy. The only weird thing is that there were previews for the next book after the last chapter/epilogue of each book. That worked out quite nicely for me though–I tended to finish a book in the wee hours of the morning, so I couldn’t get to the next one right away without losing more sleep than was technically healthy. How nice that I could force myself to stop at the end of the preview and pass out.
(I received an ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review.)