Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Fairytale, Romance Publication.Date February 11th 2014 Pages: 352 Published By: Delacorte Press Author McCormick Templeman The Glass Casket on Goodreads My review copy: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:
Death hasn't visited Rowan Rose since it took her mother when Rowan was only a little girl. But that changes one bleak morning, when five horses and their riders thunder into her village and through the forest, disappearing into the hills. Days later, the riders' bodies are found, and though no one can say for certain what happened in their final hours, their remains prove that whatever it was must have been brutal.
Rowan's village was once a tranquil place, but now things have changed. Something has followed the path those riders made and has come down from the hills, through the forest, and into the village. Beast or man, it has brought death to Rowan's door once again.
Only this time, its appetite is insatiable.
"You will stop interrupting me. A wolf mauled that man."
Jude clenched his jaw. "And I suppose a wolf simply encouraged these men here to remove their clothes and lie down nice and still in the snow like that. You're right," he said slinging his gun over his shoulder and walking into the woods. "That must have been it."
It wasn't until the next day that Tom saw Rowan's enchanting stranger, and when he did, something stirred within him. He was passing through the village square when she caught his eye. Extraordinarily beautiful, she moved with the grace of spritely fawn, and as she came to perch on the low stone wall that surrounded the village well, Tom felt certain he'd seen her somewhere before - as if she were a girl from a dream, or a story read to him long ago.
And he knew that no matter what happened, no matter what the truth of the situation might be, that a part of him would always be out there spinning on the ice with her. The moment itself seemed to fill his veins, and he knew that she would be inside him. Always and forever. After feeling like this, there was no going back.
Fantasy is a genre that doesn't always work for me. If the world-and-character-building aren't thorough enough - or, in some cases, if they're so detailed, they end up being overwhelming - I probably won't enjoy it. If the writing is too descriptive and too wordy - or if it's too plain and straightforward - I won't be able to get fully immersed in the story. Then there's also the pacing, the setting, the fantastic elements such as magic or supernatural creatures, and of course, the plot line itself. So many things that could go wrong! That being said, I am thrilled to report that The Glass Casket didn't miss a single mark! McCormick Templeman's latest novel is the perfect combination of a tragic love story and a gorgeously imagined, skilfully woven, often times completely shocking fantasy tale, sprinkled with elements of horror and macabre. I absolutely loved it and it's definitely one of my top five favorite books I've read this month.
"One bleak morning in the eye of winter, five horses and five riders thundered into the remote mountain village of Nag's End. Without ceremony or respect for local custom, they charged through the square and up the steep alpine trail that lay just beyond. Hazarding the rocky terrain, they wove their way between snow-shrouded pines, climbing ever until they reached the icy plateau of Beggar's Drift - a place, it was said, that the Goddess had forsaken."
With these words, starts the magical tale of love and sacrifice, family secrets and dark prophecies, deception and revenge.
The Glass Casket had me glued to its pages from the opening lines. I loved everything - or almost everything - about it, from the isolated and creepy snow-covered setting, wonderfully charismatic characters, to the completely absorbing and unpredictable plot line. This book has so much going for it! It's filled with unique and highly imaginative elements, such as different kinds of witches, magical and cultural rituals, local superstitions and folk tales, unstoppable evil. There's also mystery, family drama, passion and thoroughly bone-chilling, brutal murders. The thing I loved the most about it, though, is Templeman's writing style. The story reads more like a classic fairy tale than your typical fantasy novel. The dialogues are very sharp and full of sparkling chemistry (especially the interactions between Rowan and Tom, and Rowan and Jude), the descriptions - evocative and rich. Overall, though, the prose has a vibe of vagueness and fogginess that sort of requires you to suspend your disbelief, stop questioning every development and just take things at face value. And honestly, I thought that worked really well here, adding to the mysterious atmosphere and creepiness of the tale.
As far as the pacing is concerned, The Glass Casket is not a very fast-paced book and I'm afraid some readers will find it too slow for their taste. Personally, I didn't mind that at all. To be honest, I loved the fact that the author took time setting the atmosphere and slowly building the tension. And the build-up really is amazing! Once we reach the tipping point (which is about 1/3 of the way), things start happening fast, and they are sure to send a cold chill down your spine and make your toes curl! Templeman is not one to hold back. She is not afraid to kill-off characters - even the important ones - and she often does it in a beautifully cruel style. I loved that about this book - the fact that you could never predict what will happen next, who will be the next victim of the mysterious, blood-thirsty beast.
The mystery plays a great part in this story. From beginning to end, this book had me wrecking my brain for answers. I had no idea what was really going on, no clue as to who the evil culprit was and what their motivations were (even though, at one point, I was suspicious of literally every single character in the story - including the heroine herself!). Templeman did a fantastic job keeping me intrigued and guessing, and I am not ashamed to admit that I was completely clueless most of the time. The plot line was very well thought out - intricate and complex - and made for an entertaining guessing game.
All in all, McCormick Templeman's The Glass Casket is an amazingly imaginative book. Well-plotted, inventive, dramatic, and absolutely dazzling, it's a gorgeously dark fairy tale that will keep you enchanted and intrigued all the way through. If you're craving an engaging, atmospheric mystery set against a well-developed medieval-ish background and filled with different kinds of magic and otherwordly creatures, this should be your next pick.
Thanks to the wonderful folks at Random House, one lucky winner will get a finished copy of The Glass Casket!
Contest is open to: US addresses only
Ends: February 10th
Enter via Rafflecopter below!
Please note: Bookish is not responsible for items lost or damaged in mail.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Glass Casket Blog Tour
January 31st – Bookish
February 1st – Katie’s Book Blog
February 3rd – I’d so Rather be Reading
February 4th – Forever YA
February 5th – Wastepaper Prose
February 6th – Stories & Sweeties
February 7th – Peace Love Books
February 8th – The Hiding Spot
February 10th – Children’s Book Review
February 11th – The Midnight Garden
February 13th – Dear Teen Me
February 17th – The Midnight Garden