The Glass Demon - Helen Grant

Genre: YA/Thriller
The first death: Seventeen-year-old Lin Fox finds a body in an orchard. As she backs away in horror, she steps on broken glass. The second death: Then blood appears on her doorstep - blood, and broken glass. The third death: Something terrible is found in the cemetery. Shards of broken glass lie by a grave. Who will be next? As the attacks become more sinister, Lin doesn't know who to trust. She's getting closer to the truth behind these chilling discoveries, but with each move the danger deepens. Because someone wants Lin gone - and won't give up until he's got rid of her and her family. Forever.


Review: I wanted to love this book. I so wanted to love it. It started out so wonderfully - the entire book is brilliantly written, but the start was aditionally intriguing and unusual. The German setting, the unusual character names, and the alarming circumstances in which the novel opens all immediately reeled me in and set my hopes high for the rest of the book. Some of these elements persisted throughout the rest of the story - the quality of the writing remained high, the level of creativity applied to the history and detail of the windows was fantastic, the terrifying events happening around Lin's family were eerie and disturbing. Alas, the most accurate term I can think of to describe this book is "disjointed".

My biggest issue with the book - and I'm sure this will not be an issue for a lot of readers - is that the book walks the line between mere thriller and supernatural horror for almost the entire story, finally swinging in a specific direction only near the very end. And I did not like the direction it swung in. To pull off an ending like that, you need to draw on intensely sad or tragic circumstances, something deeply relatable, something that will really pull at the heartstrings. And there was nothing. There was no credible, justifiable reason for pretty much everything that occured, and that (for me) undermined the whole rest of the novel.

My other issue with it was the characterization. For no apparent reason, there is an anorexic girl on the periphery of the story, serving zero purpose and ultimately having no real resolution. I don't think things like that should just be thrown into stories. Michel seems to have never encountered a girl before, and Lin seems used only to manipulating the men falling at her (apparently gorgeous) feet. Also, the sociopathic father seemingly without the capacity for emotion towards his children was utterly unrelatable. He teetered credibly on the edge, until the very end, at which point, like so much else about the book, he fell off the edge into senselessness. Ultimately, none of the characters were likeable.

Despite the fact that most of this review is relatively scathing, I'm still giving the book 3.5 for being so much fun to read up until the end. Grant definitely has several writing skills, it's just unfortunate that gelling her work together and good characterization are not among them.

Rating: 3/5

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