Friday, July 29, 2011
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
This new series begins smartly with 16-year-old Dana, tired of coping with her alcoholic single mother, running away to find her father in Avalon, which, in this arch and insightful version, is situated between twenty-first-century London and the world of faerie. Black handles the mash-up of genres and cultures deftly, giving Dana a credibility that keeps readers cheering her on through such dismal adventures as being dogged by a bodyguard while trying to spend her new found father’s euros and getting attacked by would-be assassins, as well as those of a more delicious variety, like discovering that bad-boy hunk Ethan may not be all that bad after all.
Note: #3 for YA Series Challenge (Faeriewalker Series)
I was originally going to rate this book lower, but by the ending it had won me back over. My initial issue was Ethan, the inevitable love interest for Dana and how not only did he have no reason to have a crush on Dana, as she didn't know him and repeatedly describes herself as boring looking while describing him as a beautiful playboy. Ethan was, for lack of a better term, annoying to me. About half way through the book he sort of disappeared, leaving room for characters that didn't annoy me as much. Also, an issue I'd been having with Dana disappeared too. It had been made clear that Dana was having to act like an adult for most of her life because of her mother's alcoholism, but once she gets to Avalon she doesn't seem very proactive. Eventually she stops being toted around by one kidnapper after another and starts acting like a normal teenager.
The book redeems itself on the strength of Dana having some real problems with no real answers. Her mother is an alcoholic and that is an on going issue. She obviously loves her mother, but her mother is still in denial by the end of the novel and not much closer to being sober. Dana's father isn't an easy option out either. Dana thinks running to him will solve her problems, but it doesn't. Her heritage puts her in danger from his enemies and while he does seem to love her, he's also a ruthless politician and a bigot. There is no "good" parent here. Dana has to learn to deal with both of them. And Dana isn't the only one with family issues. Her new friends Kimber and Ethan have father issues, with Kimber being the ignored child and Ethan being arrogant from the pressure their father puts on him. There's also Keane, a minor character who has issues with his own father and authority figures in general. This is one of the best "fairy" books I've read that was able to blend real family issues with the fantasy, bumping the rating back up as things went on. Hopefully later books in the series will improve.